(Originally published in the Merritt News– Othmar Vohringer The Outdoorsman)
© By Othmar Vohringer
Where has the time gone so quickly? It seems I just purchased my hunting license and species tags last week and now the 2010 hunting season is already part of history.
This year I didn't get to hunt nearly as much as I had hoped for, but I did fill the freezer with healthy organic game meat. Despite the fact that I didn't go out much I regard it as a successful season. I do not define success by the number of deer I shoot but by the people I meet and the experiences I have. This year I was able to help a young hunter from Wisconsin to get his first whitetail deer buck. Closer to home I was able to assist a novice hunter with advice to get his first black bear and whitetail deer doe.
According to government resources, hunter numbers are still decreasing but looking around the area you wouldn't know. It seems there were more hunters out than in previous years, which is good for our local economy but not so good for the local hunters. At times when I went out it almost seemed like there was more traffic on the logging roads than on the Coquihalla Highway. The introduction of the whitetail deer doe hunting season and abolishing of whitetail deer buck antler restrictions may have contributed to an upward trend of hunters visiting our valley. In addition, much to local hunters' dismay, more hunters came here to region 3 when in region 8 the general hunting season closed earlier than in previous years, while ours was still open. In future, our local biologists and government advisors will have to look into aligning the hunting season closures to match or we risk the same scenario in the future. Besides adding too much pressure to wildlife, it's also not fair to the local hunters who have to compete with out-of-town hunters.
The new whitetail deer regulation changes have not resulted in the "slaughter" of the species, as some had first feared. Going by the information of local hunters and game meat processors, the harvest numbers are not much higher than in previous years.
Yes, deer learn quickly when to avoid danger. Their very life depends on learning fast in a hostile environment where a good day for them means to be alive in the evening.
I am looking forward to spring now. Turkey and bear hunting is on the agenda and so is visiting hunting trade shows, giving seminars and mingling with other outdoor enthusiasts from all over North America.
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