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Hooks and Antlers outdoor clumn

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More than any other activity on the sporting calendar, deer season significantly impacts the lives of area sportsmen and women. What motivates individuals to commit so much time, money, and energy in their deer hunting pursuits?

Among the commonly acknowledged allures of deer hunting are venison, recreation, spirituality, challenge, excitement, fellowship, camp life, exercise, solitude, rejuvenation, and tranquility. The primary attraction of deer hunting, though, is the hunter’s opportunity to totally immerse him or herself in nature.

Modern society has eliminated much of humankind’s contact with the natural world, but hunting allows people to venture into that world where they are greeted with magnificent scenery such as sunrises, sunsets, cloud formations, hardwood ridges, autumn-colored forests, stands of soft woods, valleys, mountains, streams, ponds, and more. Hunters also spend a lot of time viewing wildlife in its natural setting. Sightings might include squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, hawks, owls, coyotes, fox, black bear, geese, turkeys, grouse, woodpeckers, fishers, otters, beavers, and, of course, white-tailed deer.

In essence, the white-tailed deer fascinates hunters. The whitetail is one of nature’s most awesome creatures, and hunters are drawn to observing deer in their natural habitat, to learning about their seasonal behaviors, and to witnessing their incredible senses and athleticism.

When engaged in the act of hunting, an individual becomes more than an observer of nature. Instead, that person becomes an active participant in the natural world where he or she fulfills a predatory nature. Created with eyes in the front and incisor teeth, humans are predators with hunting instincts. Like hawks, coyotes, and other predators, hunters fulfill their basic nature when pursing white-tailed deer.

Northern Zone Deer Season

The 44-day Regular Deer Season in the Northern Zone opens on Saturday, October 20 and extends through Sunday, December 2. Hunting hours extend from sunrise to sunset, and hunters will find a sunrise-sunset table on page 80 of the current regulations guide.

When discharging a firearm, it is illegal to do so if the load passes over any part of a public highway. It is also illegal to discharge a firearm within 500 feet of any school, playground, or an occupied factory or church. Too, a firearm may not be discharged within 500 feet of a dwelling, farm building, or structure in occupation or use unless the shooter owns the building, leases it, is an immediate member of the family, an employee, or has the owner’s consent.

Once a hunter kills a deer, regulations require that he or she completely fill in the front of the carcass tag, cut out or mark the month and date on the back of the tag, and sign the tag. The tag does not have to be attached to the carcass while it is being dragged or physically carried from the place of kill to a camp or point where transportation is available.

Once at camp or vehicle, the carcass tag should be immediately attached and remain attached until the deer is cut up and prepared for consumption.

Even though regulations require that successful hunters report their harvest within seven days of the kill, some individuals fail to do so, but “Hooks and Antlers” encourages all hunters to faithfully report their takes as the data helps DEC in making future, deer management decisions. A harvest can be reported by phone (1-866-426-3778) or through the web ( All the information needed when reporting a harvest is located on the carcass tag or on a properly completed report panel.

Deer Hunting Quotes

“Deer hunting, at least the way I do it, is physically taxing, but at the same time, it is restful for the mind, restful for the spirit, and restful for the soul.”—Dr. Philip Bishop, University of Alabama

“We hunt because it gives us hours of uninterrupted think time, which we can only find this time of year.”—Deer and Deer Hunting Magazine

Outdoors Calendar

Friday—Fall Turkey Season Closes in Northern Zone.

Saturday—Regular Deer Season Opens in Northern Zone.

Saturday-Sunday—Trapper Education Course in Winthrop (Pre-register at 210-6255).

October 26-27—Hunter Education Course in Colton (Pre-register at 379-9814).

October 27—Second Portion of Waterfowl Season Opens in Northeast Zone.

October 27—Regular Canada Goose Season Opens in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

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