As the deer hunting is already become a hobby for the wide range of people, it is also important that the deer need to be under the conservation. What are the hunters need to know to make this conservation success but they can also enjoying their hunting trip?
The present-day deer hunting conditions are the result of the conservation efforts of those who have been interested in the sport in the past. It has been a constant struggle to maintain and improve conditions so that we, and those who follow us, may continue to enjoy the sport. It is the duty of those of us who enjoy this hunting to do all that we can to insure the future of the sport so that the conservation efforts will not be wasted.
It is inevitable that hunting conditions should change with the constantly increasing industrialization of the nation. We cannot fight the inevitable, but we should attempt to preserve our hunting rights in areas which remain suitable to the deer herds. We must watch any and all legislative proposals which affect the sport, and we should support those which are beneficial and oppose those which are detrimental to hunting as we know it today.
Different groups are continually trying to curtail the ownership and use of various types of guns. These groups are not necessarily opposed to hunting; however, their efforts, if not opposed, would certainly hurt the sport. Some states regulate the caliber of guns which may be used, with the idea of preventing the wounding of deer that would not be recovered. This is supposed to be in the interest of conservation. It may, or may not, be justified. In an effort to prevent shooting accidents, Massachusetts prohibits the use of rifles. This state is not considered as a deer hunting state, being largely an industrial area, so this is a sensible restriction. On the other hand, this prohibition should not be permitted to spread to other states where conditions are different.
Whenever any of these proposed gun-restricting laws come before any legislature, all interested hunters should make their views known to their representatives in that body. If we do not take an interest in these proposed laws, we have only ourselves to blame if we find that legislative action has reduced the pleasure of hunting. There has always been a conflict between the stock-raisers of the west and the hunting fraternity. This also exists to a lesser extent between the hunters and the agriculturists. We hunters must compromise in these cases, because agriculture is a serious business and hunting is only a sport which provides an important means of relaxation. In many cases, these men are right when they claim that there are too many deer in their sections of the country.
At the present time, some of the deer ranges have a serious problem of overpopulation. Game-management officials are finding that there is such a thing as too much conservation. The deer herds are limited by the amount of available food. In most places there is a time of year when the deer must live on a diet which is re- stricted to a few shrubs and plants and unless there is a sufficient supply of this food during this critical period, the deer will starve. This is especially true in some of the northern areas where deep snow confines the deer to “yards” during the winter.
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan are considering the problem of overpopulation. Here in Maine, the game-management officials are aware of the possible danger, but refuse to admit that it is critical until they have time to make a complete survey of the situation. Some of us are hoping that this survey will not in effect be a post mortem for the major part of our herd. In the past, we have had a very plain example of what this overpopulation problem can do to the deer herd. In the northern part of the state, there were very few deer in the days of the virgin timber. When the land was logged, the appearance of a second growth of seedlings and brush made conditions nearly ideal for the deer. There was very little hunting in the area at that time and the deer multiplied until they overran the country. This was an area of deep snow and the deer were forced to live in the cedar swamps during a large part of the winter. These swamps were not large enough to support the deer indefinitely. One year they failed and thousands of deer died of starvation. It has been some thirty years since that time and the deer have not fully recovered from that setback. It has taken that long for the cedar to produce a new supply of food for the deer and their increase has been limited by this growth.
It is inevitable that hunting conditions should change with the constantly increasing industrialization of the nation. We cannot fight the inevitable, but we should attempt to preserve our hunting rights in areas that remain suitable to the deer herds. We must watch any and all legislative proposals that affect the sport, and we should support those that are beneficial and oppose those which are detrimental to hunting as we know it today.