Birdshot and backlashes

by Bob Cary

It is getting into the serious time of year. All fall, hunters have been involved with various sporting activities such as grouse hunting, waterfowl shooting and similar recreational pursuits. However, Saturday, Nov. 6, initiates the serious side of hunting. Deer Season.<BR><BR>At one half hour before sunrise, some 300,000 or so Minnesota deer hunters will be hunkered down in the brush, edging their way through balsam thickets, stump sitting on a cutover or perched high in a tree stand, all with the thought in mind of putting a hunk of lead into a whitetail buck.<BR><BR>Over most of the state, antlerless deer are also legal targets, but hunters who sit and dream, conjure up a vision of some massive stag sporting a rack of 10 points or more and weighing about the same as a Viking defensive tackle. Of course, a somewhat smaller specimen is seldom overlooked, but the ideal is a buck of massive proportions, even though smaller deer and antlerless deer are much better eating.<BR><BR>And some giant trophies will be taken in the 16-day season which in Zone 1A, extends from Pine City north to International Falls and from Lake Superior westward to Walker. Within Zone 1A lies 25 Permit Areas with varying license regulations, some more generous than others. <BR><BR>For instance, Zone 115, which includes Ely and territory west to Orr and south to Babbitt, hunters can take either a buck or doe without drawing for a permit and are not confined to a quota. East of Ely, however, out the Fernberg Road clear past Gunflint, is Zone 116 with only100 doe permits, all of which had to have been applied for early and the lucky hunters selected through a drawing.<BR><BR>The regular firearms deer license is $26. Young hunters, ages 12 to 17 can hunt on a $13 license. There is also an All Season Deer License for $78 which allows the hunter a buck and a doe. <BR><BR>What this means, other than more revenue for the DNR, is difficult to determine. One would think that out of fairness, the poor hunter whose family can use the meat would be allowed two deer on the regular license, but who knows? It could be argued that the guy who is poor and could use the meat ought to get a weekend job and buy his groceries instead of pounding around the woods looking for venison.<BR><BR>The Minnesota DNR has a handy little booklet entitled 2004 Minnesota Hunting and Trapping Regulations which is available at all license issuing centers which takes in about every sporting goods store in the state. And most of the resorts and outfitters. <BR><BR>The booklet not only is a compendium of the laws for all huntable species, but contains a lot of information on what to wear, how to wear it, what shells to shoot, use of off road vehicles and other matters which must be adhered to or invite the ire of the game warden.<BR><BR>The little booklet also carries advertising for a variety of outdoor products which is kind of controversial in itself. The advertising money helps pay for the booklet. But the ads also tend to give a stamp of approval from the DNR for the products therein. What it really indicates is that the advertisers have sufficient funds to buy the ad and nothing more. <BR><BR>Carry this concept a little farther and you can see the state automobile driver’s handbook featuring Chevrolet or Ford and the State Dept. of Agriculture vehicles featuring an endorsement for Pfister’s Seed Corn painted on the side. Uh huh.<BR><BR>I must be getting old, but there is just a lot of stuff going on these days that I don’t understand. But then, there was a lot I didn’t understand when I was young except that I enjoyed fishing and hunting. That hasn’t diminished, thank goodness.