November 3, 2012
G. Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Writer
Up on the ridge
And down in the hollow,
The trail of the white-tailed deer
We shall follow.
Some old-time readers will remember when Fowler’s ran a camera shop on Chillicothe Street in downtown Portsmouth. It was at this shop, in the 1960s, when I was first getting the bug to try my hand at photo journalism, that I went in debt for a Nikon single lens reflex that cost about $500.
I had done a story for Fur-Fish-Game magazine in Columbus on bow hunting for deer and I needed a photo of a hunter taking aim from a tree stand. The film we used then was color slides, which we posted to the publisher by regular mail. Newspaper photos were all on black and white film and were printed in 8x10 format.
Deciding to serve as my own model, I found a huge elm with a slanting trunk that was easy to climb. It sported a big limb that ran parallel to the forest floor, just about four feet from ground level.
I set the camera on a tripod, set the shutter to go off after a 10-second delay, focused in on the portion of the limb where I would be taking aim with the bow, pushed the button, picked up the bow and arrow, ran up the tree trunk and out the limb. Just when I started to draw the bow back my foot slipped and I wound up straddling the limb as….
I set up the camera again, ran up the trunk and out the limb, notched the arrow and drew back the bow. But I leaned too far forward, fell, and was in midair when…
I decided, before I put a razor-sharp arrow head in my body, to end my photo session until I could find someone willing to serve as a model. For a reasonable fee of, say, zero.
KENTUCKY GUN SEASON
Kentucky’s most popular of all hunting seasons opens at daybreak Nov. 10 as hunters get set to enjoy the exhilaration that hunting big game brings and families break out the venison recipe book in anticipation of fresh meat for the table.
The gun season for deer runs through Nov. 25 – 16 straight days – in Zones 1 and 2 but only through Nov. 19 in Zones 3 and 4.
The statewide deer population is estimated to be about 60,000 animals under its peak of about 800,000 it stood at a couple of years ago.
In the more populous counties the emphasis continues on killing does as a means of keeping the deer population in manageable numbers.
Zone 1 includes the northern Kentucky counties west from Mason through Jefferson and more than a dozen counties in the far western part of the state.
Hunters in that zone may take an unlimited number of anterless deer. Two may be taken using the statewide deer permit and an unlimited number of antlerless deer may be taken by using additional deer permits.
Zone 2 includes the northeastern corner counties of Mason, Fleming, Lewis, Greenup, Carter, Boyd and Lawrence.
There, hunters may take no more than four deer total – two with the regular statewide permit and two by using one additional permit.
Zone 3 includes Bath, Rowan, Elliott, Morgan and Johnson counties in a swath of counties going through the central part of the state.
In Zone 3 a hunter may take four deer but only two of them with a firearm. The other two can be taken by buying an additional permit and using a bow or a crossbow.
Zone 4 includes Martin, Magoffin, Floyd, Pike and another 20 or so counties to the southwest.
Zone 4 regulations specify that only two deer may be taken – one of them with a modern firearm and the other with a muzzleloader.
CHECK THE REGS
Get a copy of “Kentucky Hunting & Trapping Guide July 2012-February 2013” where licenses are sold. Everything the hunter needs to know to be legal is in there.
Everyone should know the safety regulations. Make sure of your background before shooting at a deer. Take your time and make a killing shot so that the animal doesn’t run off and suffer a lingering death.
Don’t waste good venison. If you have more than that needed to satisfy your own needs, there are programs to help you share it with families that can use it. Such information is listed in the publication mentioned above.
Ohio’s gun season for deer is set to open Nov. 26 and will run through Dec. 2. A special season for youth is set for Nov. 17-18. It’s for hunters age 17 and under at the time they purchase their youth hunting license and youth deer permit. They must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.
Everything you need to know, including the program of farmers and hunters feeding the hungry, is listed in the publication, “Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2012-2013.”
WALKING WITH DEER
One of the best ways to learn about the habits of white-tailed deer is to follow them around through the woods – see where they go, what they do, how they scrape the velvet off those growing antlers, how the interact with each other, what they eat.
Veteran photojournalist and book author Richard P. Smith of Marquette, Mich., has done just that. He’s been walking with whitetails in a section of home woods for years, and now he and his wife, Lucy, have produced a 90-minute DVD, titled “Walking With Whitetails,” which you can buy and study and learn from at your leisure.
I watched it at home last night and found it not only interesting but also a valuable learning tool for the deer hunter.
It has action, too, including fights between bucks and the noise produced by their clashing horns, a sound the hunter can duplicate to attract bucks to the stand.
The main story line is about the life and times of one particular doe and her offspring that Smith has been able to walk with for more than eight years.
The whitetails DVD can be purchased for $24 postpaid by sending check or money order to Smith Publications, 814 Clark Street, Marquette, MI 49855. You can also find them on his website at www.RichardPSmith.com.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@aol.com.