Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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The distinctive character of archery season

Early archery season is drawing to a close this week for most of Pennsylvania, the exception being areas of the southeastern and far western portions of the state, which remain open till the Friday after Thanksgiving.

I’m certain many archery hunters feel a bit of sadness as the season ends. For one, the woods are changing. Cold days and nights are becoming more of the norm, transforming bright colored stands of forest that bow hunters experienced, into woods that will soon become a wintry grayish wrap in every direction.

Also lost will be the moving of deer in varying avenues as the times of pre-rut and full rut are spiraling downward, the woods becoming a much more silent place now compared to just a week or so ago.

But those are perhaps, some of the most pleasing and exciting features that make archery hunting so much of an enjoyable undertaking.

]There are many who do not like archery hunting seasons for various reasons, and I grant them their right to feel so. Yet, many have a misconception of what archery hunting is really like.

As an older man, I still pack a climbing stand on my back and hike to hunting spots each and every time I go to the woods. It is hard work, but I find it worth the effort because I sit in a world of color and passing deer when I do choose a tree to climb.

And make no mistake, even though I sit in all this natural beauty, it remains a huge challenge to get a deer close enough to place an arrow in the best spot to assure filling a tag.

Possibly, due to the hunting shows that frequent TV now, many non archery hunters believe that all it takes is to be above ground, bow in hand, and plenty of huge bucks and plentiful does will pass your stand in a matter of minutes.

The reality is that is far from the truth. All archery hunters I know spend many more hours hunting without seeing a deer than those minutes when they do.

It is important to understand that deer at this time of year are moving of their own free will, to feed and breed, not forced to move about by an army of hunters entering woods, the blasts of guns ringing out across the forests and fields.

And that may be the most significant reason that hunters hunt deer in archery season, taking a deer on the deer’s terms, the animals making their choice to move on their own, and the hunters knowledge and patience all coming into play to choose the right spot to intercept this movement.

I do not belittle the gun seasons for whitetails, for I, too, hunt deer with guns. It can be challenging and certainly enjoyable, and amply rewarding. But this is the character of archery hunting, and I pity those who choose not to experience this wonderful opportunity that is open to all.

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