If you’re a young hunter, or if you know a young hunter, maybe you can share this with them. These are basic thoughts on deer hunting law, methods, safety, and ethics. Hopefully, you have completed the O.D.N.R. Hunter safety course and are hunting with an experienced hunter. If you have bypassed either, these thoughts should prove to be beneficial.
Yes, the second amendment says that you, as a citizen, can possess a gun, but that’s just where it starts. In the past, young people in this country grew up with guns, hunting, farms, and dad supervised your learning. In today’s world, dad is more likely to have bought you a hunting video game, than to have helped you learn to hunt safely. I would encourage you to pursue hunting in a safe, legal, and supervised manner. The state laws mandate that you obtain the O.D.N.R hunter safety course, a license, deer tag, written landowner permission, and hunt safely. It is your responsibility to know the laws, and they will be covered in the course and the handbook you get with your license.
The hunter safety course is obviously about safety, but so much more, also. It is meant to ingrain certain values into your hunting logic, pertaining to ethics, and respect, too. You will learn respect for the wildlife, other hunters, and landowners. Other hunters want you to enjoy and learn the sport in a safe and courteous way. Landowners want the same things, and they also want you to treat their property with respect. If you have never owned and maintained land, or shot and field dressed a deer, how can you possibly appreciate and understand their feelings? This is where experienced supervision can be a big help to you. The more you hunt, the more you appreciate the wildlife, other hunters, the law, and landowners. It is very difficult for a young person see the big picture, the first day on the job. Hunters who are unsafe, leave their trash, make ruts on the land, or seem ungrateful, probably won’t stay with the same hunting buddies or landowners very long. This sport is about choices some are wise, and some are deadly.
We all start out thinking about a big buck. Some will be successful at that, but most won’t. The realities of the sport are about opportunity, possibilities, percentages, practices, and luck. Some odds to consider might be that 1 in 4 hunters get a deer, and most bucks don’t reach 4 years old. This should enlighten you as to your odds on getting a deer, buck, or big buck, as you first start hunting. These odds improve for you as you live and learn. This is where I would say to you that patience is a virtue. It’s not just about the destination-enjoy the journey. I realize that’s not what’s on your mind, when you’re sitting there freezing or getting soaked, and you hear shooting 2 hills over, but that’s deer hunting. Maybe it’s just luck, or maybe it’s about the choices we spoke of earlier. Maybe you should have dressed warmer or used rain gear. Maybe the same deer that got shot 2 hills over, saw, heard, or smelled you. You will learn about these choices, and your odds will improve. Those who haven’t experienced these lessons haven’t hunted much. Through patience, work, learning, and good habits, you will achieve your goals.
In the mean time, while you’re hunting, take time to enjoy. Relax a little, and take in the natural wonders around you. Observe the trees in different seasons, sunlight, or drainage. Study the birds and other animals, while you’re there. It will make the time pass more quickly. You can see all this, and see deer, too. You’re young and time is on your side. When you’re in the deer woods, you’re on their turf. The more you’re in tune with that environment, the more you’re learning their habits and needs, and that’s all progress. This is part of pattern and predicting deer movement. Enjoy and relax.