I have been an avid hunter of whitetail deer during the big game rifle season in the northern tier of New York State for more than 50 years. It has always been a passion, and I have enthusiastically looked forward to the third week of October. Being a purist ‘rifle hunter’, possibly because of the traditions of my ancestral lines and my passion for the sport, my enthusiasm has waned over past few years.
Because of earth’s changing climates, nature’s customs have possibly been affected as well. I believe that the ‘rutting season’, or the state of sexual excitement in the male whitetail deer, is cycling at a much later time during the season. There appear to be far less rubs, scrapes, and paw markings, during October and early November. And, there appear to be more of these territorial mating signs at the very end of the season, or, at the beginning of December. I am not sure how many hunters have observed this trend, or believe that it is happening, but, all of the hunters that I associate with, and the several family members who are also avid hunters, seem to agree with my findings. I am wondering if the DEC has noticed this trend, or, if they have heard from other hunters regarding this phenomenon?
If this trend is occurring, possibly the DEC would consider an alternative. I have a proposal. Keep all hunting seasons, bow, black powder, etc. at their usual beginning and ending times, but move the opening of the northern tier big game season to the beginning of November, and end the season during the third week of December. The movement of the dates would allow the big game rifle season to be in conjunction with the whitetail mating season, or back to its originally intended time period.
Arnold W DeMarsh