The deadline to send for antlerless deer licenses is less than a month away. It always takes some hunters by surprise because who is thinking much about doe hunting in the middle of July? Well, since regulations have changed a bit this year, it may be time to do some planning. Several Wildlife Management Units in our region will now have a split antlered and antlerless season during the first week of the regular deer season. So for those who hunt in those WMUs and are by now used to harvesting antlerless deer during any day of the first week of season, things have changed.
This is not a commentary about whether or not I agree with the change or the thinking about it. It is simply to remind you about the change that goes into effect this season.
For those hunters to whom it is important to harvest an antlerless deer, some rearrangement in planning to hunt for them may be required. If you are accustomed to taking vacation for the first week of deer season, then remember that you will be able to hunt for a doe only on Saturday of the first week. You might want to consider taking a split season for deer hunting this year. Everyone wants to be out on opening day so take the first three days for buck hunting only. Then take the first three days of the second week off so you can get your doe. That would give you several days to hunt does and a buck too, of course.
It is simply something that those hunters who have limited deer hunting time should think about now. It seems that every year the regulations get more detailed and complicated; a hunter would be wise to cultivate a lawyer as a hunting buddy.
The antlerless license allocations have been reduced for almost all WMUs this year. In fact, antlerless license allocations have been reduced statewide by a little over 54,000. In WMU 4D, only 30,052 doe licenses will be available this year. I got a kick out of the precise number, and that's down from 40,000 that were allocated in 2009.
That means unsold licenses will be in short supply this year as well. The first day for applications to be accepted is July 12 for residents and July 26 for nonresidents.
The applications for unsold antlerless licenses will be accepted August 2. Again this year antlerless deer licenses must be mailed directly to a county treasurer. Do not mail them to the Game Commission. In fact, you can send your application to any county treasurer's office in the state, not just to the WMU you want. Any county treasurer can issue a license for any WMU, as long as it still has unsold licenses.
The regulations and requirements for applying for antlerless licenses are carefully outlined in the digest you receive with your new hunting license, and I would strongly advise you to read them carefully, especially page 47.
My concern here is that already I have talked to folks who simply had no idea that more WMUs has been added to the list of those with the split season. So in the few weeks remaining until the applications have to be mailed in, each hunter needs to think about how these changes will personally affect him.
Will you need to make some changes in applying for days off from work so that you can hunt when you can bag an antlerless deer as well as a buck? Also, make sure your hunting buddies know about these changes too.
I'm going to try hunting deer from my one-man chair blind this season. I had such good luck with it in spring gobbler season, having deer and a bear come very close to the blind and seeming not to see it at all. Sitting in the chair puts me at about the same height as if I was standing against a tree somewhere. So it's a lot easier on the feet and legs. The blind will protect me from the wind and that is a biggie for me. I might have to anchor it down if there is a raging wind but protection from the wind, rain, snow is a big plus for a senior citizen so I'll see this season how well it works.
One of these one-man chair blinds might be a terrific Christmas gift too. It's the best piece of hunting gear I have gotten in probably the last 10 years.