Always an excuse
After reading the headline “Number of Hunters Is on The Decline” in The Morgan Messenger on March 3, I had to laugh to myself. How did DNR officials come up with the idea that bad weather and a decline in the number of hunters has led to the low deer kill in Morgan County?
I was always told by my grandfather and father that you shouldn’t shoot does because they usually have one or two fawns each year, and one or both could be a buck. If you kill off all of the does, the deer herd will eventually disappear, and that is exactly what is happening. My father and grandfather didn’t have any schooling in game management. It was just common sense.
When you go hunting and you don’t see any deer, I would say that would be the actual reason for the decline in hunters. The reason for not seeing any deer, in my opinion, is that the deer are disappearing because of five weeks of doe season. This has been going on for the past 10 years, and doesn’t count the large number of deer that are killed by poachers riding the roads year-round. It is open season all year for them.
I have been deer hunting in Morgan County since I was six years old — some 56 years now. We have always hunted in a “gang,” which has always been the traditional way to hunt for us. We have rules, and one of the rules is that we don’t shoot does.
We have 15 to 20 gang members on any given day, and we hunt in the Great Cacapon and Sleepy Creek Hunting Area. Ten years ago, you could see 40 deer in a 100-acre drive and kill 15 to 20 bucks in the two-week buck season. Now you are lucky to see five deer in the same drive and kill five or six bucks in the two-week buck season.
Every hunter knows that the deer are just not there except in areas where they are protected from hunters and poachers. Hunters who care about the future of deer hunting in Morgan County should attend the wildlife meeting at James Rumsey on Monday, March 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to express their concerns.