by Leon Archer
Tuesday morning found me in Redfield and it really looked like hunting season. The leaves are 70 percent gone from the trees and with the exception of some trees like the beech and oak, trees will be pretty much bare very soon.
Hunters have no problem with being able to see deer as some have been proving. My nephew, Jason Yerdon, downed a very nice buck during black powder season with his father’s old muzzleloader. His deer weighed 196 pounds on a hanging scales and sported a wide 24.5-inch spread, eight-point rack.
I’ve hunted for 55 years and never killed a buck that large. Last year, I took the best buck I’ve ever shot and it was about 40 pounds lighter than Jason’s. I have never hunted with black powder even though I have shot them at targets and I have always been impressed by their accuracy.
During early bow and the muzzleloader seasons, I am more into small game. I used to hunt with a bow, but I don’t climb trees very well now, so I’ve given it up. I’ll leave all of that to younger fellows like my nephews.
Bigger deer are becoming more common each year as more deer survive the gunning season. A huge number of deer are killed on our highways and when we have a long hard winter (how long has it been since that happened?) many younger deer perish, but in spite of all factors the overall number continues to grow. More bucks are reaching the age of two and a half years and many well beyond that, giving them a chance to gain some impressive body mass and substantial antlers.
Last year, hunters took 228,350 deer and 46 percent of the bucks were at least two and a half years of age or more. Back in 2000, that figure was only 30 percent and in the early 1990s, it seldom reached 28 percent.
The trend is easy to see; more deer are living longer and getting bigger. The herd cannot continue to expand forever, but right now deer hunting is the best it has ever been — and that’s great news for the deer hunters.
I guess the big news in the Redfield area is the black bears that have been showing up there. This past summer quite a few people reported seeing one or more. I heard that one was hit and killed by a car a short time ago on Route 17 near the Harvester Mills Road. Two were seen together a couple weeks ago near the cemetery in North Redfield. It is hard to judge just how many of the critters there are, because they move around a lot and it’s difficult to identify individual bears, but there is no doubt that there are several of them roaming the Redfield woods.