March 20, 2014

Slower deer harvest isn't worrisome

John Newcom
Outdoors Columnist

---- — It seems as if spring has decided it should try and show up this year. I guess it has decided winter has overrun its time and the warmer weather is trying to break back into our days. I hope spring finds a good foothold as I think we all deserve better weather.

It is time again when the deer harvest numbers come out from the 2013 hunting season. As everyone is saying it is not a surprise that deer harvest numbers are down from the previous record setting season. The problems faced by the deer population included a bout with EHD (epizootic hemorrhagic disease) and new hunting rules that have been put in place to lower the size of the deer population. A previous record setting antlerless deer harvest helped lower the amount of deer available for this past season. Shooting does means no fawns, so fewer deer next season. It is a sound reasonable solution for controlling the deer population.

The weather that we all faced during the 2013 hunting season may have had an affect on the harvest numbers too. I think we saw everything from very warm weather with tornados to subfreezing temperatures with snow and ice. I have to say the weather was all over the place the entire late fall and winter season. I think this weather had an affect on a lot of hunters and that is OK. I believe that if the weather is unsafe then you should not be out in it. Hunting is a sport that we all love but it is good to know when you should just stay home. It is not cool to risk your safety or the safety of friends and family over killing a deer. There are lots of days for hunting, so if it is bad, wait for a better day. I think many outdoorsmen did just that and in doing that some failed to harvest a deer or a second deer this past season.

The season still was in the top 10 highest deer harvested. It was a good year and you just have to take a look in the fields as you drive in the country to see that there are still plenty of deer. I have seen many groups of deer in fields finding food to eat and probably getting into the sun when it is out too. I think everyone has been pleased with days of sunshine even if the temperatures have been below average. You can tell by how warm the sunshine feels that better weather is close at hand. I am sure that man and animal alike are ready for nicer weather.

The nice thing to think about is that in a month or so you should be starting to find mushrooms. I hope we are finding them then and I have heard that lots of snow makes for a better mushroom season. I guess we will have tons of mushrooms this spring if that is correct. Stay warm and be safe outdoors!

John Newcom is an outdoors columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached through the sports department at 574-732-5180 or