A Healthy Pastime:
In the present times when young and elderly people are increasingly remaining indoors, busy watching TV and playing video games (if not experimenting with drugs and pornography), hunting is a healthy pastime and a great hobby. Nature is a great teacher. One learns about other animals, plants and trees around. Some even get interested in bird watching, apart from deer hunting. The hunting expedition gives a good exercise to the mind and body.
The thrill involved in this exercise has made deer hunting a popular game for hundreds and thousands of years. Hunting was once considered a gentleman’s game because it tested and promoted sense of exploration, camaraderie, discipline, patience and concentration.
It is an adventure to locate the best hunting places in the wilderness. The entire process of preparing for a hunt requires imagination, discipline and patience. And as one gets ready for an encounter with the deer, one requires deep concentration. Any hasty step or distraction would result in the prey disappearing from the scene.
Hunting is an ideal hobby for those who love nature and the great outdoors. Unlike fishing where one sits patiently for hours to hook a prey, the deer hunt involves exploration of a wider terrain, the exciting chase, and targeting of a fast moving animal. This makes deer hunting one of the most challenging games.
Good Source of Food:
Apart from the outdoor adventure, deer hunting helps provide meat that is free from antibiotics and hormones. Environmentalists argue that hunting has a light environmental footprint on earth: No antibiotics, artificial hormones, pesticides, herbicides, or unnatural feeds are used in raising this meat. It is also said that a wild animal doesn’t contribute to soil erosion, water pollution, or the displacement of native plants. Since no land is tilled to feed a wild animal, no additional carbon is released into the atmosphere.
Although a lot of information on deer hunting is available from the books and the internet, a beginner would gain much more if s/he seeks the practical guidance from one’s family members, friends or acquaintances to learn the basic techniques. Of course, there is no better way of learning hunting than one’s own experience; and the confidence gained over a period of time learning the basics in the field. Books and other hunters might provide good tips, but ultimately one has to rely on oneself to become a good and professional hunter.
One of the foremost requirements to pursue this game is one’s skill in handling a weapon, such as bows, crossbows, rifles, shotguns, handguns, and muzzle loaders. Hunters generally prefer rifles, shotguns, and pistols for deer hunting. However, a beginner could take a course in shooting, and initially get a paid guide if there is no family member or acquaintance to initiate a person into deer hunting. It is important to remember that most states/regions place limits on the minimum caliber or gauge to be used.
An important requirement for hunters is to have the complete knowledge about the rules and regulations that govern hunting. These might vary from country to country, and even within the country. In Australia, for example, deer hunting is completely legal in the states of Queensland and South Australia; and no licence is required as deer are classified as a pest species. Similarly, in New Zealand, the deer were considered as pest due to their negative effect on native vegetation. From the 1950s the government employed professional hunters to cull the deer population. It is now a popular recreational activity. The New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association organizes and advocates deer hunting at the national level.
However, in the United States and North America, the deer hunting seasons vary. Some seasons in Florida and Kentucky start in September and last until February, as in Texas. Hunters must consult the notifications issued by the the government agencies, such as the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), that regulate the duration of these hunting seasons. The agencies decide on the length of the hunting season. This is often based on the health and population of the deer herd, and also keeping in mind the number of hunters expected to be participating in the deer hunt.
There are legitimate concerns raised by certain NGOs and citizens about the cruelty and pain caused to the animals in hunting. They argue that during hunting, the deer are left injured or maimed. While the hunters counter the argument that the meat industry uses much crueler methods in killing farm animals. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 3 million members and supporters, believes that since hunting happens on private property, laws are harder to enforce or are inapplicable. According to PETA, “canned hunts” are legal as long as the hunter pays money to hunt on reserves or ranches. These animals can be indigenous to the location, raised in another place and brought to the area, or can be bought from circuses or zoos that didn’t want the animals, argues PETA.
Seasoned hunters insist on responsible hunting, game management and wildlife conservation which they consider an important aspect of any wild game hunting. Hunting during the animal’s breeding season has always been discouraged, if not banned. Those who go out hunting are encouraged to develop a code of conduct by the hunters’ fraternity. In any walk of life, one comes across those who abide by the law. And then there are others who just don’t care. It is all about being a good and responsible citizen. This applies to hunters too. It is said that game laws, including deer hunting, can be complicated and tempting to bend or break. However, good hunters know that the laws have a vital purpose and must be followed to the letter and spirit.