This weekend, and for the next three weeks, it won’t be unusual to see folks in camouflage and orange who are toting shotguns and rifles walking down back roads.
Regular big game season begins Saturday and ends Dec. 9. In that time, hunters will be scattered throughout our region’s woods and fields in search of a trophy buck or a large doe to provide plenty of meat for the year.
And the state Department of Environmental Conservation is expecting that hunters will see plenty of deer this year.
“With an exceptionally mild winter throughout the state and a slight increase in Deer Management Permits (‘doe tags’), hunters should have good prospects to see and hopefully take a few more deer this year,” the DEC stated on its website.
The benefits of hunting are many.
Without hunting, the deer population would be out of control. It is not unusual to see deer crossing at a stop light or a doe and her fawns having a mid-morning snack of residents’ shrubs where hunting is restricted. The fewer deer in the fields mean fewer deer crossing the roads, lessening the chance of being hit by motorists.
Out-of-town hunters also benefit us all, by spending money on rooms, foods, gas and hunting gear locally.
And the venison harvested from the hunt often feeds local families all year. For those who have excess meat, there is a great resource where the meat won’t go to waste. For more than a decade, the Venison Donation Program of Delaware and Otsego Counties has donated harvested meat and purchased beef to local food pantries.
And with the recent addition of an early hunting season for youth hunters, we hope the tradition of hunting grows locally.
Most of all, our hunters need to be safe.