It is a holiday in West Virginia.
Okay, not really, but it may as well be. Today is the first day of the two-week-long buck firearms season.
If your spouse eagerly jumped out of bed before dawn, if the schools are closed, if half of your co-workers are absent and if the sound of gunfire is echoing through the woods behind your house this morning, then you know it is deer season.
An estimated 200,000 resident and non-resident hunters have cleaned their rifles, donned their blaze orange, staked out their favorite spots, washed thoroughly with scent control, and headed out into the hills and hollows of the Mountain State.
By the time the season is over, hunters will have killed more than 40,000 deer, field dressed the carcasses, hauled them back home, butchered the deer and put the meat in a freezer. The meat is low in fat and high in protein–good eating in burgers, stew, gravy, steaks and roasts.
Plus, putting venison on the table adds to the dinner conversation. Fishermen are known for embellishing about the “one that got away,” but hunters tend to recount their kills with great specificity.
The firearm season in West Virginia is an annual testament to the proper and safe use of guns. If every hunter fires at least one shot, that’s 200,000 bullets flying through the woods, yet thankfully deer hunters rarely shoot each other or somebody else. More hunters will hurt themselves trying to drag the deer out of the woods or falling out of a tree stand.
I am not a hunter. I have no objection to hunting or guns or eating deer or any of it. I grew up on a farm and back then the forests were hunted out. I never even saw a deer. Also, my father didn’t hunt so, I suspect as a result, neither did I.
The only “hunting” story I have from those days is when I killed a rabbit. However, I could never find the wound, leading to the conclusion that the poor old fella died of a heart attack when the sound of a gunshot pierced those super-sensitive ears.
My wife and I have unintentionally created a “safe zone” for deer. Our neighborhood was built in their habitat and the deer have remained. Our supposed “deer resistant” plants and flowers are perfect for their grazing pleasure.
So, hunting is not for me, but I understand how devoted outdoorsmen and women have a special bond with the experience. I know the goal is to get a deer, but many talk about just enjoying the experience of going hunting, especially if it is with a family member or a good friend.
So, enjoy your time in the woods and be safe. If you like, share some of your favorite hunting stories in the comment section.