OUTDOOR Adventures Hunting Season is Here This past weekend was the archery and small game hunting opener in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I noted several social media posts this weekend that illustrated …
Hunting Season is Here
This past weekend was the archery and small game hunting opener in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I noted several social media posts this weekend that illustrated various levels of success, especially for those who got out in their stand and bagged an early season Whitetail. Early season can be tricky for both small game and deer hunting as the weather does not always cooperate. While weather is always a factor, in the early season, game preservation is a concern of many hunters, and in specific, if the meat is safe to consume should the downed animal not be found until the next morning.
For those who are not hunters at all and especially those who believe that hunters are just ruthless, blood thirsty killers who have no respect for the animals they are hunting, it may come as a surprise that the men and women who take to the woods would even care about this. Most hunters that I have come to know over the past 54 years are not “trophy” hunters and have a huge amount of respect for the animals they hunt. They are also members of various organizations that provide funding to maintain the habitat and environment where those animals live. The money they pay for their hunting licenses also goes towards conservation efforts including clean water, making sure there is land that will not be gobbled up by urban sprawl and many other things to preserve the future of wildlife. Not all hunters are out for the trophy.
For most hunters, the trophy is the game in the freezer. The most sought-after game animal in our neck of the woods is the Whitetail Deer. Sure, there are folks who love the taste of pheasant, duck, squirrel, rabbit, and other game, but when it comes to freezer space, venison is king (or queen, if you filled your tag with a doe). Does that mean that if a huge buck were to saunter pass their stand, they would let it go? I am going to go with “probably not” and why would you? That would be like telling your boss that you are not going to take the bonus the company just offered. That would not make any sense now, would it?
Most archery hunters practice to make sure that if they get the opportunity to draw back on a deer, their shot will be accurate as, another aspect of hunting that most hunters share is that the game they are harvesting have little to no suffering. It is that whole respect of the animal thing that most hunters share. Like many things in life, no matter how much you prepare, sometimes things just do not go as planned. A small branch can make an arrow glance away from its target and hit in a non-vital area. Miscalculations on distance or angle for those who practice shooting from the ground and have a stand that is 20-feet in the air can also lead to an off-target shot. When this type of shot happens, the decision of letting the deer “go until later” is one that many hunters dread having to make. If the hunt was later in the afternoon or early evening, later could be the next morning. In the early fall, temperatures might not drop enough to keep the animal cool, increasing the possibility for the meat to be destroyed. It can be a tough call and not one that is taken lightly. If you are a hunter, may you never have to make it. It only happened to me once, and it was quite honestly one of the worst feelings ever.
I recently read an article in one of those magazines that I get as a member of an organization where my dues go towards conservation efforts to maintain the environment that had a couple tips to maintain the integrity of the meat for all of us hunting types, small to big game. Tip number one is kind of a no-brainer if you ask me, but even if you didn’t, here it is. Bring a spare cooler with ice on your hunts. Big game equals big cooler. Small game… you get it. The thought is, when the beverages are gone from your normal cooler, you have that space PLUS the extra to keep your game cool. By beverages, I mean pop (soda for Wisconsin readers) and water. Not to judge but guns and alcohol in the same sentence could lead to bad results. The other tip was directly aimed at archery hunters. Practice your shots from your actual stand as the slightest change in angle can throw off your aim. Happy hunting to all. Get Out and Enjoy the Great Outdoors.