I have an unscientific observation for
What’s new, right?
There are a lot of
signs that there are a
lot of deer. Among these
signs are the 304,137
trail cameras put up by
hunters in Almost
Maryland and in Almost
Heaven. These cameras
are getting plenty of
deer photos and images
of some impressive
bucks are among them.
A hunting companion
and I were speaking just a few days ago
about trail cameras. We agreed that if it
were not for the images of antlered deer
we had obtained we would swear there
were no bucks on the property and that,
by gosh, the (name state here) DNR better
do something about it.
What are some other indications that
there are a lot of deer?
Well, at Stoney Creek Store in Largent,
W.Va., owner Joe Decker, a former Cumberlander,
keeps a scorecard so that all
his customers can see what deer he has
Bowhunters in that locale are chalking
up a fair number of branch-antlered
bucks thus far. I figure Joe will be busy
tomorrow when the Mountain State’s
firearms season begins. In fact, I hope
I’m one of the hunters checking in a deer.
In case I don’t get one in that part of
the Mountain State and you do, tell Joe I
said hello when you check in.
We are old high school buddies and
Kingston Trio fans.
Look at all the young hunters saying,
“What’s a Kingston Trio?”
The W.Va. DNR is letting hunters kill
two deer in one day this year as long as
no more than one is a buck. In addition,
hunters don’t have to run out of the
woods to check in the first deer before
killing a second, though I can’t imagine
dragging two deer at the same time.
The intent of this regulation, of course,
is to make more does go belly up and
keep the deer herd under control. I’m
thinking it will work.
I know everybody has their own opinions
of the DNR and deer management.
My opinion is that the biologists would
not recommend the taking of two deer in
a day if the antlerless deer herd was not
in good shape.
We already know that the deer kill
through October has increased in Allegany
County this year. A week ago on the
Outdoors page we gave you those numbers.
Also a week ago we talked about potential
antler point restrictions in Garrett
County. I thought about that some more
as I sat in a ground blind several days
this past week.
You know how it goes. Shooting takes
an instant. Sitting takes hours.
I think antler point restrictions are
pretty much already in place, at least on
private lands in Maryland. I don’t know of
any hunting club that has not placed
some restriction on the killing of bucks.
Usually, it is a rule that a buck must have
at least three points on one side.
I am thinking that this tendency to
shoot older bucks is a lot like catch-andrelease
Catching and releasing trout a decade
or three ago was a regulation put on certain
portions of streams, but it caught on
among anglers of all sorts, whether they
flip a royal Wulff or a Mepps Aglia and
even, to some extent, among those who
drift garden worms and cheese-flavored
After all, there is a no-kill rule for trout
fishing in the North Branch of the
Potomac River for a ways upstream of
Pinto, but anglers can still use any lure
or bait they choose.
I know of hunting groups who restrict
their members to bucks with four points
on one side.
Another insists that antlers have a
spread of at least 18 inches.
What I’m saying is that antler point
restrictions are slipping into the consciousness
of hunters the way catch and
release subtly became the common practice
among many trout anglers. Know
what I’m saying?
I’m cool with that.
Whether you are getting after them in
West By God tomorrow or hitting the
Maryland mountains on Saturday or
Penn’s Woods on Dec. 2, all the best in
luck and skill to each of you. We have
arrived at the main course of deer hunting.
Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at
I have an unscientific observation for
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