In case you hadn’t heard or might not yet believe it, an antlerless gun deer season will be held much earlier this year!
And that’s as in three days this very week: October 25, 26 and 27.
So don’t miss out, especially if you’re not too fond of the frigid December weather of the former kickoffs. But be advised that the Class N antlerless deer licenses are required per usual and that this first split is for private lands only, precisely where hunters are needed the most.
You’ll in effect be making some modern day hunting history, so why not go out and do just that.
For what’s commonly called “doe season” by hunters, the private lands in all or parts of 48 of the Mountain State’s 55 counties will afford the option.
Hunters should carefully review the hunting regulations for additional details, especially on the handful of “parts thereof” counties that are mapped out nicely there. Rather than list the open counties, it’s much simpler to list the remaining seven counties that are closed altogether: Boone, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Raleigh and Wyoming.
The former one week of antlerless season that followed the two-week gun buck season like clockwork for decades has been scrapped in favor of two separate splits of Thursday through Saturday hunts.
This is the first one, albeit almost two months earlier than the past.
The second split will now follow the December muzzle-loading season, which in turn has been moved up a week into the former antlerless season slot.
So don’t literally be left out to hunt in the cold for a crack at some fresh venison.
This could particularly hold true this year when many folks lost their freezer stores during prolonged and widespread power outages associated with the derecho storm of the century.
In any case, it’s a great opportunity to lock up some “camp meat” for the gun buck Big Daddy opener just around the corner. Hunters can then kick back a bit while being more selective in waiting for that buck of a lifetime.
There are some compliance reminders that come with this new turf. Blaze orange is required for safety where this gun option is available with particular reference to concurrent archery hunting.
On another note, the fall turkey season has been closed during this week.
So don’t be ticketed for taking a turkey out of season due to ignorance of the law.
As to the whys and wherefores of the earlier doe season, there is the obvious advantage of the warmer hunting weather. Modern deer managers mainly contend however, that if an antlerless cull is to occur, why not sooner than later?
The answer here relates to the overall energy budget of the deer herd.
Fall food stores translate into fat stores for the deer that make it through the hunting season that must then survive winter.
The earlier the cull the fewer acorns and other victuals consumed by that culled segment, the more for the survivors. In addition to that for antlered deer, there is likewise less energy (and fat) expended in the tempestuous breeding cycle that will soon follow per fewer does to breed.
This may not represent the last tradition or tool out of the deer management tool box, but it certainly seems one that’s worth a try!
See you out there.