Monday, December 1, 2008

Deer Gun

Deer gun season opens today in Ohio. For one week thousands of people (mostly men) think that they are God's gift to the hunting world. They come out of the woodwork, yielding their rifles or shotguns, or whatever it is they use.

Heck, even a local McDonald's is opening up at 4 am to serve those "mighty men" a good cup of coffee and an egg mcmuffin or two, before they head out to the wild to get the elusive....DEER.

Now for some stats for those of you who are really into numbers:
  • there will be an estimated 400,000 sportsmen out there hunting for deer
  • 121,183 deer were checked last year during deer gun season alone
  • 232,854 deer were checked last year with bow, shotgun, blackpowder rifle, and handgun
  • approximately 40,000 young hunters participated in last weekend's youth hunt (under age 18) and checked 9,852 deer
  • our county was the top county in Ohio for youth hunt last weekend with 454
  • 4,266 deer were checked from OUR COUNTY alone last year, making it tops in the state

Basically, our rural county is usually the number one county for deer, out of all 88 counties in Ohio. That's not surprising, since almost every driver you talk to has either hit a deer or knows someone who has.

Ted has hit two deer, one before we got married, and one before we had children. I'm really pushing my luck here by even stating this, but I've not hit one....yet. I'm sure it will happen though, at some point in time. I'm on a divided four lane highway for about four miles to get to school. Last week I passed three dead deer. They can do terrible damage to your car.

A little piece of advice if you ever travel Ohio's roads...when you see one deer, be on the lookout for the second. They are usually running in pairs. Also, November/December and May seem to be the worst months for deer/car accidents.

This coming week on my way home from school I'll see all kinds of pick-up trucks with deer hanging out the back. Most of the trucks will have out-of-county license plates. You can just tell by looking at the vehicles and the passengers in them that many of these hunters are once a year participants who have probably borrowed a gun from a relative. Few true hunters actually go out this week. They hunt for the sport of hunting and many will hunt during deer/bow (bow and arrow only) or primitive weapon seasons. If they do decide to go during deer/gun season, they stay on their own property, because these once a year hunters tend to not always be the best shots...and there have been a fair amount of injuries and even deaths over the years due to their ineptitude.

To give credit where credit is due, many deer hunters provide venison (which I hear is very good, but I am just not interested) to various organizations that feed the less fortunate. That's a good thing.

Times, of course, have changed over the years. My grandmother's family settled in western Pennsylvania when they first arrived from Italy. Way back then, they hunted to provide food for the family. My grandma gave me a box of photographs in the late 1980s, when she began to downsize her belongings. Those pictures have given me SO much pleasure. I just LOVE looking at them, trying to imagine what it was like to live decades ago. I came across a couple of photos that go perfectly with this post.

On the left is my Grandma's brother. On the right is my Grandma's mother (my Great Grandma), affectionately known as Nona.

These hunters include my Grandma's brother and other relatives/friends. They obviously had a successful day.

Ted, Joey, and Alex are not into hunting. That's fine with me. If they were, I might have to actually COOK some of their kill. NO THANK YOU!

If you ARE into deer hunting and happen to be in Ohio this week, just please be careful!


Jen said...

I'm always surprised at how many people like hunting. I don't have anything against it though.

Mandy said...

That would be my hubby- he is one of those dressed in orange this week. I can't stand it personally but it's his thing. I stay inside and scrap! LOL

The Arthur Clan said...

My husband is an avid hunter...but only on our property. He usually only participates in bow season, but actually went out during gun season this year. Again, he only went out on our property though ~ it's way too dangerous out there where the "once-a-year-hunters" are.

I really don't care for venison myself, but my kids love the summer sausage that you can have made with it.

PERBS said...

I learned to shoot a rifle as a child with the NRA lessons but never went deer hunting. My Dad and brothers did. I never cared for deer meet.