Hunting season

Bang, bang and sometimes bang again, at the crack of dawn, quite often is the first thing I hear up here in cattle country.

At the time of this writing the deer hunting season is wide open and it is obvious that many are out there with full intentions of filling their freezers. I really don’t have objections to this, as the deer population is overly thick in our area.

During past months, my daughter-in-law, my grandson and my son, in that order, have each had their vehicles almost or actually totalled by one or more deer crashing into them. It must be driving the insurance companies insane.

Seldom does a week go by that we do not hear of another and another, usually a neighbour going to work or coming home during darkness of short season days.

I myself, fancy scope or no scope, could not draw a bead on these beautiful creatures because, as a child, they would let me pet their newborn wobbly-legged, dappled fawns as they wandered among our look-alike young jersey cattle in the barbed wire fenced pasture at the back of our farm.

Nevertheless, I hesitate not a moment in dispatching a predator that hangs around marauding helpless livestock. In the farming communities, you do what you have to do.

In the past two or three years, I could sit on our porch and watch sometimes as many as eight deer trot leisurely tandem along their chosen trail among random-grown wild apple trees that crossed the back of our property.

A doe, buck and fawn could be seen often lying down neath the shade of one or two of the hedgerow apple trees which had escaped the rage of the three-years-ago tornado that wiped out both tree line and fences. Their tracks too, could be seen at the water’s edge where they drink at the now revamped pond.

But this year it is different. There are no apples. During the last weeks of March, the extended very early warm spell, coupled with a half dozen heavy late frosts in April, sent the sweet-smelling pink apple blossom petals tumbling to the ground long before the weather warmed sufficient for the bees to properly pollinate. And the honey crop from the 40-hive bee yard we host so indicated. They actually had to be given supplement food at this time.

During the dry spring and summer, the bees once again got shortchanged. Seldom was the third supper filled with honey. Then, on top of that, the long-continued rains in the fall once again played havoc with the collection of nectar. Cold and wet does not a happy bee make. On days such as these, it was best to stay clear of the bee yard. And once again supplement feeding was necessary.

A select few hunters are allowed to wander our property, and they are requested to leave their vehicle parked near our buildings so we know they are there. If another comes along, they know as well as we do that the tree stand and area is already occupied.

We do not allow widespread multiple hunters to noisily drive deer out of the woodlot. Deer meat is cheap meat, but fair is fair, and that just doesn’t sit well with our consciences.

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins