The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

November 19, 2013

Responsibilities and Safety During Deer Hunting Season

By Doug Domedion
Medina Journal-Register


Hunters don’t need to be told that the gun deer season opened last Saturday, Nov. 16. I mention this to remind non-hunters that there will be a lot of hunters in the fields and woods over the next few weekends, so they don’t get upset as to what is going on.


I would like to remind hunters that it not only gets more important each year to act ethically toward other hunters, but also toward landowners.


As more folks distance themselves from nature, the less they understand about it. Thus, they fail to understand what hunting means to many outdoorsmen, and that it is our main wildlife management tool.


Can you imagine what it would be like with no one keeping the deer population under control? It would be like the Town of Amherst all over the state, which would lead to extensive crop and habitat damage, not to mention the massive increase of deer and vehicle collisions.


Of course this condition would not last forever, because diseases and malnutrition would cause the deer herd population to crash. Then all those that don’t understand nature and its management would cry, “Where have all our deer gone?” They just don’t seem to understand that it is much better to manage deer through hunting and keep them within the bounties of the habitat capacity. Isn’t it better to have fewer deer that are healthy and not destroying the habitat that also affects other wildlife, as compared to having weak and diseased deer slowly dying?


So us hunters need to be careful of our actions while out enjoying our sport, because there are folks out there watching that really think hunters are the bad guys.
Trespassing can be a problem during deer season because the deer move around a great deal, and hunters sometimes don’t realize how they are hurting our sport by chasing on property they don’t have permission to hunt.


As more land gets tied up in human expansion, there become few places to hunt, so it is really stupid to upset landowners by trespassing. Take the time, before hunting season, to ask permission and let the landowners see that you are a conscientious and responsible person. If they still say no, well, no means no, and sneaking on only makes it worse in the future. They may hunt themselves and want to reserve the hunting for themselves and their family, or they may be leasing the hunting rights to someone, or they may just not want someone on their property. That’s their right.


Safety is also another issue during deer season. In the past few years there has been a very much-improved hunting safety record. I feel that the efforts by Hunter Education Instructors have been responsible for a large part of this record. However, it is up to each of us to make an effort to have a safe season. Some of the old basic rules like making sure of your target and what is in the background behind the target are still the golden rules. Don’t let yourself get so excited at the sight of a deer or some movement that you make a deadly mistake.


Other important gun rules, such as keeping a gun pointed in a safe direction and treating every gun as if it were loaded, are very important. Don’t climb into a tree stand with a loaded gun, or lean a loaded gun against a car or tree where it may fall over and discharge.


Have a great beginning of deer season, and be safe and responsible. Maybe that landowner that allowed you to hunt on his property this year would like a few deer steaks or some other form of appreciation for allowing you to enjoy the Great Outdoors on his place.