Archive for January, 2008

Some Insight Into My Home State…

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Here is a neat little video I found on YouTube that puts together some great pics of my home state of West Virginia, with our most famous song of all time–John Denver’s “Country Roads”. Enjoy!

Rantings of the Uninformed…

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

You know what? I am tired of the uninformed spouting off about things that they know nothing about. As a case in point, take a look at this article from the Independent, a New Jersey newspaper. In this article, the author rants against the prospect of a portion of her beloved park being closed to her skiing for the purpose of allowing an archery hunt. The ignorance of the author is expressed simply by the subtitle given to the article: Hunting closes parkland to recreational use. This indicates that hunting is not a justifiable recreational use of the land. My guess is that the state of New Jersey infringes on the rights of the hunters to use this land for their recreational purposes a whole lot more than this disenfranchised cross country skier. This mentality does reflect the agenda of most of the anti-hunting activists of our day: ban hunting as a “recreational activity”. Think about it. What happens if these anti-hunters are able to designate that hunting is not a justifiable recreational activity on other state and federal lands? No more hunting in State Forests? No more hunting in National Forests? No more hunting on State Managed Game Lands? Folks, this is a real challenge to our hunting freedoms and rights. We cannot simply give up one kind of land, thinking that these people will stop here! We have the obligation to defend our rights to hunt on public lands. Our recreational activity is just as protected as someone else’s! In fact, most of the land designated as state and national parks were done so to preserve the sporting life of hunting and fishing!

Continuing through the article reveals the absurdity of this author. First, the author makes this statement: When pressed for actual damage done by deer that justifies allowing hunting in the parks, Walsh could only cite damage to vegetation. This indicates that the damage done to the vegetation is insignificant, and should not even be under consideration. How irresponsible is that? Obviously this person does not understand the “food chain” at all. If the native vegetation is irreparably harmed, and replaced by foreign vegetation, that will not only destroy the deer population, but the populations of many other animals that rely upon the native vegetation. The Park Ecologists cited stated that the browse line was at about 4 feet. That in and of itself indicates that the deer population is way too high…the land simply cannot bear it. If the deer were not hunted to thin the herd down a bit, many more deer would die of lack of food (that is, starvation, a slow, very painful death) by the end of the winter. Which do you think is more humane? Kill a few deer now, or allow 2-3 times more deer die of starvation over the winter?

Next, this author complains about the number of “hunting violations” that that occurred during the season, and caused her to be disturbed. There were 742 permits issued for the hunting season last year, and 56 hunting offenses. That is a 7.5% offense rate (if I have done my math correctly). That certainly seems too high…until you begin to look at the offenses that are cited. There were 3 hunting permits revoked. The first was for repeated failure to show a hunting permit. The second was for possession of alcohol. The third was for having a loaded gun in a safety zone and hunting from the ground. The first offense should have never happened, but doesn’t seem to have produced any danger. The second and third were far more serious, and did produce a dangerous situation. That is 2 out of 742. Again, if my math is correct, that means a .2% offense rate. Don’t get me wrong, that is still too much, but not an exorbitant amount! I wonder what the offense rate is for all the people who possess driver’s license in the state of New Jersey? Probably higher than 7.5%, and certainly higher than .2%. Maybe we should start protesting the right of people to drive? After all, they are limiting my ability to go for a hike on the interstate! By the way, most of the other offenses were very minor indeed. For example, one was for not putting a tag on a treestand properly, and another was for not carrying a treestand out soon enough after the season had ended. There are some real potential hazards to the general populace!

Finally, this author suggests that there are other options besides hunting to stop the 40% herd increase of the deer. As so many of these type of people do, she suggests some sort of deer contraceptive. Anyone who has looked at these options understands that they are completely infeasible. As one quote from this article suggests, the mortality rate of trial runs of this plan have resulted in 50%. That means that one out of every two deer caught died from the stress, or some other related aspect of the procedure. Do you think the hunters are killing 50% of the deer in this park? I don’t think so, since last year only 303 deer were taken!

When will common sense return to our society? This type of article shows just how far some people will go to stop hunting. But, hunting will not be stopped, because it is too valuable of a tool to the conservation of game animals. I find it ironic that just last year, I wrote a post about the New Jersey Audubon Society wanting hunting to reduce the number of animals because of the damage they were doing. Perhaps, we will eventually have that common sense after all. But, don’t hold your breath for it!

by: Kris Brewer

Teen Killed in Hunting Accident

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

A 14 year old boy was killed in a hunting accident in St. Joseph County, Michigan yesterday morning. This young boy was hunting geese with his uncle, and was accidentally shot at about 8:45 am. He later died at a local hospital. Details of the shooting have not yet been released. The information that is available can be found at the Kalamazoo Gazette Website.

As an outdoorsman and hunter,  I often encourage others to take young people hunting and fishing with them.  I have taken my own 4 year old son out hunting both squirrel and deer on numerous occasions.  This story reminds us just how careful we need to be.  I know that the details of this particular shooting have not been released, but anytime there is a shooting accident, someone was not being safe enough!  There is a need to be on guard at all times, especially when children are present.  Children need to learn that hunting can be a dangerous sport.  We can certainly teach them to enjoy their time hunting, but still learn the need for safety.

We cannot spend too much time trying to teach our children the importance of safety while hunting.  It is imperative that they understand that they cannot, even for a moment, forget about how to handle their firearms safely.  It is in that one forgetful moment that far too many accidents take place.

This kind of a story is sad to read about.  I cannot imagine how the family and friends of this young hunter feel.  I cannot imagine how the shooter in this accident feels.  I don’t ever want to know.  So, when you are out hunting, remember stories like this so you won’t make the kind of mistake that leads to this kind of accident.  I’ll do the same, and then maybe we won’t have to worry about these things happening.

Hunt safe!

Buckmaster’s Tip: Don’t Despair After the Rut!

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

We all want to hunt bucks around the rut. It’s just plain… fun! The bucks are on the move; they respond to scents, calls and rattles; and you’re likely to see deer you never even knew existed on the property.

As exciting as the rut is, though, the late season has some big advantages over the rut, at least in terms of patterning bucks. About the same time deer are getting over their mating urges, they’re beginning to prepare for the colder temperatures and lean food times of winter.

They tend to group up again and frequent sheltered draws near winter food sources — places that offer a buffer against the wind but also easy access to food.

When the next deer seasons roll around and you start thinking about vacation days, save one or two for a late-season hunt. Also, consider taking advantage of your state’s late-season primitive hunts, if available.

You can get these tips by email by signing up at the Buckmaster’s Website.

Did You Ever Have One of Those Days?

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Well, now the 2007 hunting season is officially over for me.  I know, I got to hunt about 7 days into 2008 on that 2007 season…gotta love Alabama’s long season!  I was able to hit the woods for a couple of evenings, and a couple of mornings while in Alabama.  I finally figured out where the deer were coming out into a field where I had permission to hunt.  One morning, I was able to tag one small doe.  She had been shot through the front knee earlier in the season, and while she would have made it through the winter, she looked pretty miserable limping across the field.  I put her out of her misery with one shot at about 150 yards.

Later in the week, I went out in the evening in the same field.  Just as it was about dark, 4 does stepped out in the corner of the field.  I thought it was a sure thing…I chose one big doe, placed the crosshairs right behind the shoulder, and pulled the trigger.  All 4 deer whirled, and ran back into the woods, on the same trail they had entered the field on.   I still don’t know what I did to miss that deer.   My best guess is that I simply jumped the trigger, and missed her by jerking off of her.  I can tell you, I was plenty aggravated!  The worst thing is that now I have to live with a miss through the long “off season” until next deer season!

This trip was interesting because of the swift change of the weather.  The morning I shot the first deer was a mere 8*, which is extremely cold for north Alabama.  Two days later, it was nearly 70*.  That makes for some difficult hunting!  You can never tell when the deer will be up and moving, and which fields they might hit.   I guess that is one reason I enjoy hunting so much–you can never know what’s coming, and there is no such thing as a “sure thing”.

I hope you all had good hunting seasons.  We have about 10 months here until bow season comes back around.  I guess it is time to start getting ready for that!