Well, hard to believe another deer season has come and gone. Now we can all get down to our post-season "Monday morning quarterback" commentaries, so here's mine.
First, good job to the state Division of Natural Resources for the new Deer Operating Plan and implementing the "earn your second buck" rule, effective in several counties. Hopefully, next season they will implement the "earn your first buck" rule in those counties - i.e., no buck taken without first taking a doe. And expand the "earn your second buck" rule to other counties allowing antlerless.
Nice letter in the current hunting regs booklet, Mr. Jezioro, explaining the plan. And good photo on the cover of the youngster showing off the healthy looking doe he just took, probably his first deer. Speaking of, nice printable "first deer" (shows a buck or doe) certificate on the DNR hunting website.
So here's my plea for next year: Now that folks are more aware of the need and/or requirement to take antlerless deer, can we please now dispense once and for all with referring to opening day of gun season as "bucks only?" That not only gives an incorrect impression, but a mixed message about doe hunting and it's just confusing as heck.
You hear people ask "how could you kill a doe opening day of bucks only season?" Then spend the next few minutes explaining oh, it doesn't really mean you can only shoot a buck So, can we just lay that term to rest? I submit that from here on it's just called opening week of deer season. As in "deer rifle season starts tomorrow, I can't wait."
OK, one more plea for the next deer season: can we please just dispense with the No Sunday Hunt, once and for all? It is also very confusing. As in "Are we in a county allowing Sunday hunt, oh, let's get on the web and look it up (not in the hunting regs pamphlet and difficult to look up on website), oh, I don't have my laptop, or Internet service"
Plus, many of our working folks struggling to get by have to work on Saturday. So for instance, in the CWD areas where we want antlerless hunts, a lot of folks can't get out for that special hunt.
The no-Sunday-hunt counties are penalizing people who have to work on Saturday, and that's just not fair. And a lot of people have obligations on Saturday like for coaching, errands, "honeydews," etc. Supposedly Sunday is a day for R and R.
What can be more regenerative (and spiritual too) than getting out in the fall woods Sunday morning enjoying a gorgeous West Virginia sunrise while looking to get your deer? Then maybe go to your local church service after hanging up your deer then catching the Sunday football game in the afternoon, or going back out with your son or daughter, etc. in the woods later in the afternoon if no luck in the morning. Ah, the makings of a great November (or October or December) day!
P.S. Kudos to The Inter-Mountain for the editorial last spring (May 7) "Deer population causing problems." How about starting an urban deer hunt in Elkins? (Not that I don't mind seeing a half-dozen deer in my yard, but they sure are hard on the flowers and shrubs.) Many West Virginia cities have hunts and it has been a successful program - talk to your county commission and/or mayor.
P.S. Also we really need to fund our DNR out of general revenue and not hunting license revenue - this is a great time as the West Virginia budget is in good shape.