Coming Soon

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A time of year we dread around here is fast approaching.  Deer hunting season.

We don’t dislike it because there’s hunting involved.  I always try to take a few deer for our household and it’s important, in my opinion, that we humans continue to perform our natural role as predators to help keep natural populations in balance.  We have a severe overpopulation of deer here primarily because, in my opinion, nearly all humans have now abandoned that responsibility in favor of getting all their meat from supermarkets and restaurants (primarily fast food restaurants that destroy our health and our environment while enabling animal abuse on a massive scale–but that’s a different rant).  So it’s not the fact of hunting that I object to, but rather the invasive and dangerously irresponsible way it is often done in our part of the world.

For some reason that I’ve never figured out, it is legal in our half of the county to hunt deer with dogs.  It is not legal in the western half of the county, but whatever rationale was applied to outlaw it there must not have been deemed sufficient to outlaw it here.  Likely our half of the county just don’t have the political weight of the other half.  In any event we’ll soon be invaded by an army of pickup trucks and hunting dogs.

I’ll spare y’all my rant about their so-called hunting.  The bottom line is that it creates conflict and confrontation every year and makes it dangerous for us to hunt properly or even to go for a walk on our own farms.  And because a dozen or more of these guys will be riding around waiting for a chance to shoot at some panicked deer when it runs across the road, instead of sitting in a dozen or more tree stands hunting, far fewer deer are taken every year than should be.

Sigh.  Maybe things will be better this year.  But I doubt it.

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29 comments on “Coming Soon

  1. bobraxton says:

    In Mathews County, VA, I see signs “Posted” which I believe prohibits hunting on that particular private property. Is there a downside to putting up “Posted”? is it unenforceable in your half-county?

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  2. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, deer hunting season is upon us here too. I’m not sure if dogs are allowed but I’ve never heard of anyone hunting deer with dogs. All that hunt here have tree stands. Pheasant, dove, duck, and goose hunting is done with dogs. You are so right about over population of deer. It was so bad here some years ago that they started getting black tongue disease. The fix was to allow more deer to be harvested by hunters to keep the population down. I’ve never been a proponent of killing for sport. All the hunters that I know never kill more than they can eat or give away to friends. Tags are required for deer in Nebraska. Two per hunter I believe is the rifle quota. More can be taken but it must be with a bow or black power gun. Those seasons are at different times than the rifle season. Because there are no natural predators of deer in Nebraska, the population can get out of hand real fast if not managed well. The number of deer/car accidents is a real threat here as well, if deer are not managed with hunting. I myself am not a hunter but instead a fisherman. To be a good hunter requires concentration and alertness of which I’m not good at either. To fish all that needs to be done is bait up the line, throw it in the water, kick back and nap until the clicker starts buzzing.

    Have a great safe deer hunting season day.

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    • Bill says:

      Only a few states still allow deer hunting with dogs but unfortunately Virginia is one of them. In some of the other states that allow it, it is only permitted on very large tracts of land.

      The deer population here has skyrocketed. They do cause a lot of accidents. A boy was killed recently when the vehicle he was riding it struck a deer and it came through the windshield and hit him in the passenger seat. Terrible tragedy. I read recently that more Americans are killed by deer than by any other wild animal–all due to deer collisions with cars.

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  3. Every year i sit in my kitchen in the early morning hours and cringe, if not cry, with every shot I hear. I can appreciate hunting for your food and wanting it to be as “organic” as possible, but every year I hope and pray it won’t be my deer, this year a doe and two fawns who eat the crab apples outside my window.

    Hunters can be very respectful and then there are those who have no respect for land boundaries … I hope this year is trouble -free for you.

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  4. As I write this, a beautiful doe and her two fawns are standing in my back yard, maybe 20 feet away. There is no doe season here, presently, so they are safe. Dogs aren’t allowed in hunting here and most hunters are respectful of private property. Herds do need to be thinned to remain healthy. And since we have killed off most of their natural predators, the hunting is left up to people. We presently have many more deer in America than we did in 1900. My property backs up to a million acres of national forest, so there is plenty of room for hunters to roam. –Curt

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    • Bill says:

      When I left for college in 1978 it was very rare to see deer here. I have a history of our county written in the early 1900s that says something like, “As recently as 100 years ago there were deer in (our county).” She may as well have said buffalo.

      But nowadays we are overrun with them. I can’t go a day without seeing several. We’ve allowed a very unhealthy imbalance to occur.

      It must be great to have your property back up to a national forest. You never have to worry about what the neighbors might build on their property. We once seriously considered buying property that was bordered by the Everglades National Park for that reason.

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  5. I’ve heard of other farmers across the US who feel endangered by this season too…it’s not an issue where I live – we’re far too close to urban areas for hunting to be permitted (though the deer are a huge problem). I’ve never heard of hunting deer with dogs either. I have a brother in law in New Brunswick who is an avid hunter, and has hunting dogs, but they’re for ducks.

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    • Bill says:

      Deer hunting with dogs is only allowed in a few states these days. Unfortunately we’re one of them. Your brother probably uses the dogs to retrieve the ducks after he shoots them. The dog hunters here release a pack of half-starved beagles to find, flush and chase a deer so they don’t have to go to the trouble of actually going into the woods and sitting still and quietly. This way they can sit in their trucks. It’s maddening.

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  6. avwalters says:

    We’re about to invest in orange vests. We won’t be hunting, but we’ll be walking on our property. There are plenty of deer–and that attracts hunters. Hunters often drink–it’s almost a tradition in the North, the hunter with a flask in his back pocket, a little something to keep warm. Call me crazy, but I don’t trust any activity that mixes guns and alcohol. It won’t keep me out of the back forty–but I’ll do my best to be visible.

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    • bobraxton says:

      any period of time for (cross) bow hunters? no gun

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      • avwalters says:

        We have such an option–and I’ve had a couple of respectuf requests to “hunt the bow season” and we are considering it. It has the advantage of being quiet. (Unfortunately, the early season had passed before we knew.)

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    • Bill says:

      It’s a real problem here too, especially with the hunters who hunt from the cab of their pickup truck. It’s a dang shame we have to wear blaze orange to go outside on our own posted property that time of year, but if you don’t sadly you’re risking your life. I’d recommend the vests and a hat too. And if I were you I’d post the property.

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  7. valbjerke says:

    I haven’t gone hunting in years – easier to raise my own food. Hunting season around here is a good time to stay out of the bush. I stood in our little country store a couple of years ago and waited while a half dozen out of country men bought up a tag for anything and everything that had a pulse that they could shoot – along with many dozen cases of beer and more dozens of bottles of hard stuff. Lets see – alcohol, guns and hunting – this is why my firewood is on my property before the season opens.
    I’ve nothing against putting food on ones table in that fashion – if you’re actually going to eat it. Every fall on at least two or three occasions, I come home from work to find boxes of last years game sitting at the end of my driveway – people cleaning out their freezers to make room for this years haul. I’ve large dogs that I feed it to – so I’m fine to take it. Last year I arrived home to find a good half a fresh moist carcass – apparently all the parts they didn’t want to eat – entire racks of ribs and all. Poor dogs had been sitting on the other side of the fence drooling all day and watching the cats get their fill first. The waste. That’s what ticks me off about hunting.

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    • Bill says:

      Both of those things are big problems here too. Most of these guys aren’t hunting to feed their families. Many of them don’t even eat venison–they just enjoy killing deer. Some will slice off the tenderloin and leave the rest of the deer. Infuriates me.

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  8. Jeff says:

    Here’s an idea to consider: give the hunting rights on your property to a hunter or hunters you respect and who will do the right thing. Hunters are fiercely protective of their hunting rights and will drop a dime on anyone who infringes on their rights. I’ve leased my property to a hunter and he goes after violators with a vengeance – he’s been in court a number of times testifying against people he has caught. He has no problem at all calling the game warden for help. None at all. It’s one thing for a “hunter” to say that his dogs can’t read to an unarmed owner and quite a different thing to say that to an armed hunter.

    Fight fire with fire, I say.

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    • Bill says:

      The hunting rights on this farm belong to me. I’ve never allowed anyone else to hunt here. We do have some other property I’ll allow trusted friends to hunt on, but no one has hunting rights here except for me. I don’t think any other person would be any more protective of this farm than I am.

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  9. associatedluke says:

    We have very similar views on hunting. Never heard of the dog method, sounds like a bad idea: loud dogs, guns, and panicked deer sounds like an awful combo.

    My sister is the hunter in the family. She and her husband are bow hunters. They only shoot when the perfect shot presents itself. Lots of patience required. They want to bring the deer down in one shot, as clean and painless as possible.

    I remember once talking to a friend after he got his first deer with a 12 gauge. We were maybe 12 years old. He said, “I unloaded into the deer!”
    “All six slugs?”
    “Yeah man!”
    “Thanks not something to brag about. That tells me you’re a horrible shot and like to waste food.”

    Since then, he’s become a lot more patient and has gone mostly bow hunting. He credits that conversation.

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    • Bill says:

      Bow hunting has become quite popular here, along with hunting with muzzleloaders. I think a lot of the popularity has to do with the fact that they have their own seasons so they don’t have to worry about the reckless dog hunters. I’ve never hunted with a bow and I think I’m too old to start doing it now. It seems to me that there is a lot of risk of wounding a deer and being unable to find it afterwards. I’m sure skilled bowhunters are careful to make sure that doesn’t happen, but I’m not confident I’d be good enough.

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      • associatedluke says:

        I admire my sister and brother-in-law and their friends for bow hunting. This group seems to be doing it right. It is my hope that they are representative of all bow hunters….the odds as to whether that is true… well, it’s probably the same odds as to whether your farm is representative of all farms.

        If it’s not, it should be! I long for the day where it is. Keep up the great work!

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  10. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Hunting deer requires patience and skill – neither of which involve canines. “Doggers” yes, but only the two-footed kind; )
    Not to mention that running any animal before its slaughtered produces tough meat; so, how dumb is it to even be talking about running dogs then, eh?!

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    • Bill says:

      You are so right. Anyone who is serious about hunting for food would never want the deer to be all pumped full of adrenalin like that. They’re not really hunting for food.

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  11. […] Coming Soon.  Anticipating/dreading the beginning of deer hunting season.  While tense at times, this year […]

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  12. I am afraid I would be hated by those kind of hunters. You hate to hurt the dogs because it isn’t their fault but their owners. I might have to have some bigger dogs of my own that I would use to chase the beagles off the property.

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    • Bill says:

      I warned some of the dog-hunters that if their beagles got into the pasture with our Great Pyr guardian livestock dog, their life would be in danger. They didn’t seem too troubled by that. This year a neighbor set coyote traps during hunting season and put large signs along the road announcing that. I think that may have helped.

      Some take their frustration out on the dogs, but I wouldn’t do that. Even though lost starving beagles have killed chickens here twice, giving me the legal right to kill the dogs. Beagles are friendly dogs and happy to have human attention. When I find them on our farm (as I often do) I like to give them something to eat. The hunters keep them extremely hungry to make them hunt better I suppose. I have little patience with them, but it really isn’t the dogs’ fault.

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