|BY Bobby Cole on Apr. 01, 2017
t’s late winter, only 25 days until spring as I sit down to write this. It’s cold outside and our deer/duck seasons have expired, leaving my dog lying at my feet sighing. Which I can only assume means he would rather be hunting right now. I know how he feels. Gamekeepers love hunting season. It’s our chance to reap the rewards of all the hard work we’ve done to make our properties more attractive to wildlife.
I want to point out that your voice and actions matter. Social media revealed that giant bucks fell in record proportions. It also revealed arguments by hunters trying to decide how many does to harvest and wishing for antler restrictions. No one ever seems to agree. One thing is for sure; each state or region is different and has its own unique challenges when it comes to managing deer. Your local state agency is managing an entire state with their policies, but you can manage your individual property within their guidelines. Learn as much as you can. Be educated and try to see the big picture. Deer hunting is a huge industry and I believe the state agencies want their product to be around for future generations. The Quality Deer Management Association has always been a fantastic source of good information and I would recommend you look to them for good biological information specific to whitetails.
The leadership in Alabama’s Game and Fish Department listened and responded to the requests of hunters to lengthen the deer season into February. Parts of Alabama have an extremely late rut and hunters there often had to quit before the peak of the rut. It took time and research, but the state reacted and the buck you see in the photo above is a product of a February hunt.
Turkey season is fast approaching and many of us didn’t hear as many birds gobbling as we expected. I know many hunters that last year stopped hunting or simply refused to kill the only bird they heard in hopes that they could help rebuild their flocks. These guys are “gamekeepers” in the truest sense of the word. The state says you can kill X, but they know their property can’t support that and they self regulated themselves. I think this is a good thing. The NWTF is working hand in hand with state agencies to understand what’s happening in these isolated pockets. I have confidence that hunters and gamekeepers will lend a hand and we’ll do whatever we need to help protect the wildlife we all love so much.
PS: Be sure you check out the all new "Gamekeepers" television
show. It airs on the Pursuit Network on Wednesday nights, at
9:00 PM EST (8:00 PM CST). It's had a total remake and we'd
love to hear what you think.