It’s time to do what you signed up for | News, Sports, Jobs
Several moons ago, I took my hunting safety course, which allowed me to go deer hunting with a shotgun. During this private lesson, I was able to discover this sport which was to become a passion for life. I still remember where the course was given and many of its strengths, including the emphasis on governing ourselves while we are in the field and managing the wild game.
I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a chapter in the book we studied regarding wild game management, but the old grizzly hunter who taught the course made the point so deep and so strong that he stays with me to this day.
As the 2021 big game season dawns, it’s time for us to take all feelings and ego out of the equation and take a look at the science of managing wild game. This time, more specifically, the management of deer. Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit an old friend – well, she’s not really old – but I’ve known her for several years. When we first met, the idea of hunting was something quite new to her. While she had hunted in the past, it never really entered her soul. Then she met a guy, yes a guy who had a passion for hunting anything that walked or flew. Over time, she became more passionate about the hunt than the guy, who has since taken a different path, so to speak.
During a certain season, she fell in love with archery and archery hunting more than anything. So far, so good. We shared stories and even hunted together, but there was one thing I couldn’t get out of my head: All she wanted to hunt was a lot of money. I tried to explain that making a lot of money takes time and maybe she should reconsider, but she wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He was taught that it must be a lot of money or nothing.
Well, here we are years later, and she has yet to fill out an archery tag. Last weekend, she told me that she was going to start as a hunter, not a marksman. See, hunters are environmentalists and shooters are just looking for the next thing to put on the wall. As hunters, it is our responsibility to manage the herd and be an advocate for the environment. It means take no. The idea of shooting males is old school and is not healthy for any herd.
While many of my opinions are based on feelings and years of experience, this particular point of view is based on science – the science of deer management, so to speak. Another thing that’s no secret is that deer over the past few years have made their way into people’s backyards which is quite nice if you’re not used to seeing them. in the wild, but not so nice if you spent your hard-making money keeping your garden and invested in flowers and bushes, only to see them get eaten by deer.
There are several rules of thought that deer can find their way into people’s backyards, but there are only a few that make sense. Deer find food easy to obtain and are pretty much left to fend for themselves in the city, as many local municipalities have laws prohibiting hunting and unloading a firearm in their area. “city” limits. Although this is a good law, which protects people from many things, it does not help solve the problem of “City deer”. Another reason deer move to cities is that they lack space in their natural habitat.
The city of Jamestown has such a problem. Just ask the many well-meaning people who are trying to fix the problem. Meetings have taken place, decisions have been taken and a “few qualified hunters” were chosen to participate in this hunt. Personally, I have some issues as to who the person chooses these “qualified hunters” and what the hell are these people doing “qualified.” I guess the people who selected the “qualified hunters” reminded the “skillful hunter” that they are responsible for the deer after the shoot. Few archery hunters can drop a deer in their tracks. Often, deer run a little before they expire.
I’m sure the “few qualified hunters” figure it all out and place the perfect shot, because we all know that “qualified hunters” never take a shot that is not perfect. Okay, I digress. From what I understand, the only deer that need to be slaughtered are does. This is based on science and the fact that the best way to manage a deer herd is to take does.
Quality Deer Management believes that we should let the young males go so that they are protected from the harvest, combined with an adequate harvest of female deer to produce healthy deer herds in balance with the conditions of the existing habitat. It is a long held belief that if the habitat can accommodate 20 deer per square mile, then limit it to 20 deer. If a habitat can support 30 deer per square mile, put 30 deer per square mile in it, but don’t put 30 deer on a habitat that can only support 20.
QDM is also improving age structures by allowing males to reach all age groups, not just 1 ¢ and 2 ¢ years old. QDM achieves this by not shooting the majority of yearlings every year. There is nothing more that will spark heated discussion among deer hunters than to discuss deer-sex ratios. Other than deer density, few topics spark controversy as quickly as a discussion of the number of does per buck in a given patch of wood. Let’s put it this way: a good, healthy / quality deer has a male to female ratio of 6-1, six does for a buck. These are adult deer that we are talking about, of reproductive age. I understand that this number might sound a bit wrong, but let’s look at it this way. If we look at the age group that can breed, that reduces the traditional number of 10-1. Remember we are talking about reproductive / carrying capacity, not just carrying capacity. Given the amount of time – a short window – when breeding takes place, this number makes more sense. Also, keep in mind that traditionally an adult doe will drop a pair of fawns every year, so it doesn’t take long before a herd gets out of hand, so to speak.
Let’s use it “hypothetical” situation where a piece of property holds 20 deer – seven does and the rest are fawns. That’s not counting the dollars. There are at least two 2 ¢ dollars and a peak 1 ¢ dollar that you know. The exact number of mature males over 3.5 years old is not known, but at least it suffices to say that there are at least two. This piece of property is about 100 acres, and not all deer stay on that 100 acres, but spend the majority of their time there.
In this “hypothetical,” if your just looking to kill a big deer just wait for the 4.5 year old buck but the idea here is to manage the property. Remember, we are all called sportsmen, and one of the keys to being an athlete is to be an environmentalist, which in turn means helping to manage the natural resources that we are blessed with.
Of course, this is the perfect situation and not all of us live in this world. Personally in New York state on the property I hunt / manage I try to fill one of my archery tags with a doe and one, maybe two, with a DMAP tag during the pistol and / or at the end of the season. Also, for me, I wouldn’t shoot a buck unless he’s 3½ years old or older or bigger than anything I already have on the wall.
It works for me, but there are many who will challenge this system. Taking a mature male only is where I am in my life as a hunter. If he had a headgear I would take it, but now I’m in a different place. The management of deer and does is the responsibility of the hunter and we must take it seriously. Without the help we are providing today to manage the population, our children’s children may not have the same opportunities that we all have today.
New York State hunters this season will be required to wear an orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest when hunting deer with a firearm this season. In addition, deer and bear hunters will be allowed to extend hunting hours up to 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.