Deer Season Changes Life in the Woods . . .

The count down to Minnesota’s deer hunting season has begun. Locally, people are preparing for visitors, building deer stands and cooking. For many locals, the opening of deer season is the most important holiday gathering of the year with many friends and family visiting. It is also a financial burst for area businesses and community organizations. Many people are very excited to get out into their deer stands and get that big buck. However, there are others (like me) who are dreading the invasion of thousands of “foreigners” with guns to our peaceful northwoods area.

The flood of orange clad invaders will be in full force by friday. Up until now, we only caught glimpses of them as they made brief stops arranging for the big event (buying licenses, finding a place to stay and hunt, putting up stands and sighting in their guns). Needless to say, with hunting starting early saturday morning they are currently busy packing up the food (and beer), buying new blaze orange jackets and heading up here to my woodsy paradise in droves. Most spouting about how this is all about filling up the freezer with good meat (personally, I don’t like it) … when in reality, the time they spend here in the woods has very little to do about feeding their families.

Deer hunting haters are helpless to do anything to change this annual tradition. Our State needs the hunt to take place because this holiday centers around numerous traditions, provides economic benefits and is a solution to wildlife management concerns. Businesses in this area count on this invasion of city folk dressed in orange, they are a huge source of income for most of them. There are hunter suppers put on by every little church and township as fundraisers. And, without a hunting season to help keep the deer population manageable, I would probably have a lot more head on crashes with the critters and my car would be in for repair much more often. Honestly, I see the need for it … but, I don’t like it.

Starting on Friday night, life changes here … Blaze orange clothing will have to be worn to go outside and extra orange clothing kept in the car just in case of car trouble. The woods are no longer quiet and peaceful … hunters are parked in every little place they can fit their pickup trucks, they drive up and down the roads slowly, 4 wheelers run up and down the roads and wood trails all hours of the day and night, and there are deafening gunshots that make my heart skip a beat. Some still hunt in a way that you would recognize as hunting … walking in the woods and sitting in deer stands all day. But, more and more hunters think that hunting is driving up and down the back roads or driving around on their 4 wheelers through the woods. There are always problems with trespassing. It only takes a few careless and disrespectful hunters to ruin it … and they ruined it for me years ago.

I also hate the effect swarms of hunters have on how the animals live and behave for these seemingly endless three weeks. The animals who make this their home will be lost for a safe place to go on friday because there will be people camping where people are never seen the rest of the year. The animals constant running and hiding will commence at sunrise with the first gun shots. It is not just the deer upset by this invasion, it is every animal.

This year, a doe and her two fawns have been visiting me almost daily since they were born in April (baby picture above) … I have watched them grow and they have watched me, they’ve eaten my flowers and tossed my bird feeders around the yard (they are squirrel proof, not deer proof). But, I don’t care about all that.

Look into these dark brown eyes .. how could anyone get mad when they see that face? This fawn has recently taken up the habit of camping out next to the maple tree in my front yard (about 10 feet from the house) and looks at the lake … Isn’t she pretty? She keeps a close eye on the house as you can tell, but has been comfortable enough to come and nap in the same spot each morning and evening this past weekend.

If she is smart and stays in my yard, she could survive deer season … but, it is very unlikely she will stay here with all the people, traffic, shooting and noise. Instead, all the animals will be extremely jumpy and running about .. and who can blame them, this is about survival. It is sad to think that this may be the last glimpse (and photo) I ever get of this fawn that I have gotten used to see lounging in my yard.

“Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they’re in the game.” ~ Paul Rodriguez

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~ by bearyweather on November 3, 2010.

One Response to “Deer Season Changes Life in the Woods . . .”

  1. We wake up to gunshots here, too. A few weeks before hunting season target shooting starts. So far we’ve had no trespassers (that I know of) but it won’t surprise me if it happens some year.

    Like you, I have mixed feelings about hunting. I see the necessity for it, but I also think it’s gotten out of hand somewhat. As you pointed out, a lot of the people hunting are not doing it to feed their families. Plus, if we’d left the predators alone and didn’t take up all the space needed for wildlife, the need to hunt deer wouldn’t be there.

    I should also be upfront about my own involvement in hunting and trapping. We have a trapper come by and remove the muskrats from our pond during trapping season. Only once so far. About two years ago minks showed up and one of their favorite foods is muskrat so things were taken care of that way. The reason we have to get rid of them is because they dig into the dam and that could cause it to collapse.

    I hope your deer stay safe.

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