The Sun rise reflecting against Sam's Knob, Pisgah Game Lands, Pisgah National Forest, Haywood County NC.
If I was to go into detail of my Deer Season, I’d put you to sleep. Other than running into that one Skunk, it was pretty uneventful. I did not see one Deer. Hold on, I did catch a glimpse of one Saturday morning in the head lights.
I was to meet my partner, Ray, at the Pisgah Fish Hatchery at 0500…I was a few minutes late…He changed his mind once I got there, he wanted to head up to the Grave Yard Fields* and Shining Rock Country. That is the highest of the Balsam Range. Like about any part of the country here, it was once logged over and trees grew back, but, back sometimes in the 40’s or 50’s it fell to a wild fire. The result was a higher altitude savanna
. Some areas were “bald” already, but it opened it up. Hunting there is long range shooting. We got there about 10 years too late. It was once covered in Deer, now they are very scarce. We did not see one Deer, where you can see hundreds of yards.
The last day of season is “Doe day”, the one day you can shoot a doe. But it has gotten so scarce of deer here I decided not to shoot a Doe if I seen one. It’s illegal to shoot one in the Shining Rock area anymore. Traditionally, Doe day is a bad day, it’s pouring rain, howling wind, driving sleet…It was down right warm this year. It was 45 degrees at 0630 at the Grave Yard Fields. The wind was fierce. We sent a few hours “glassing” Sixteen Canyon and moved on. We did see a black Coyote above Balsam Grove.
I was unable to hunt last Saturday because I found myself in Columbia SC for the day. It was to be my last Drill there. Long story. But, it never fails, I lose a Saturday of Deer season to the Army Reserves. Being that I returned from Iraq, I did not get vacation to use for Hunting. I’m doomed to Saturdays, unless I want to take a day without pay, and that would be irresponsible.
Sadly at one time about any where you went on the Government Land, you stood a reasonable chance of seeing a Deer. The deer population has been in steady decline for some years. Henderson County was hit by “black tongue” this year. I do know someone that manage to kill four in Mills River.
There is much speculation as to why this has been occurring. It has been blamed on the migration of Coyotes, but, I reject that. I know of places, Alabama for instance, where there are way many more Deer and Coyotes together. There is not that strong of a coyote population here anyway. Macon county has more Deer and Coyotes, you hear Coyotes pack there, but, extremely rarely here in Transylvania. There is the argument of food source, in the Shining Rock Country (Haywood County), food sources have remained pretty constant**, you very rarely see a Deer there. Word is, that that Country had a great deal of Bear in it this year. Anymore it’s smothered in hikers. That doesn’t affect it either, other than sometimes being uncooperative to Hunters.
Why this is so, I can’t exactly say. Other than to make guesses at it, what is needed is real hard data. Of course, more food sources could help, but there appears to more to the picture.
Nature follows cycles…
Season is always better when it opens on the fourth week o November. It opened on the third week this year. I see more sign of rutting Deer after deer season than I do during. Sometimes around the first of the year, a time when the rutt is getting in swing in Alabama.
My partners had more events than me, mostly with other people. Ray ran into some Mexicans doing “drives” and drinking beer. Twister had someone try to tell him to go hunt some where else…On Public Land. Funny enough, they were blocking a Forest Service gate and after he reminded them that they can’t block a gate, they changed their tune. He also saw a Dog running a Deer. Dogging deer is illegal in this part of NC. It is legal…and a method, Down East.
Monday reopens Bear Season. It gets harder in the second season. The smart and mean Bears are the ones left.***. It wasn’t a good year, just have to accept that….and work on the next.
I keep my dog food in an outbuilding, where I have a radio. I turn the radio on while I feed the dogs. Friday night The dandy Warhol's "Bohemian Like You" was playing..the part where he says whoo hoo hoo, Bell howled. It was really cool..I danced...Uhm, you had to be there. I was feeling pretty bohemian, the dogs were feeling pretty bohemian...It was cool. Feeding the dogs, "just a casual casual easy thing". I really like the uncensored video to that song, but that would get me in MilBlogger jail. You can find it on YouTube.
* Called so because the burned tree trunks had bleached white and it looked like a Grave Yard.
**To remain a savanna it could stand to be burned. The Balds are getting grown up and could burn.
***Bears can have very large ranges, unlike deer, they do not stay in one general area. Bears being killed, dieing, opens territory to Bears, that are constantly looking for food.
OK, your turn...