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Louisiana Sportsman

Doe days just donít make sense

March 01, 2013 at 7:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

When I began deer hunting hard back in the early 1990s, I faced one major problem every season ó my Nov. 25 wedding anniversary. Yep, thatís right: I missed the four days of either-sex hunting around Thanksgiving every single year while I celebrated joining lives with a woman who should have been far out of my reach.

And this was back when I still hadnít pulled the hammer on a single deer. It just grated on my nerves.

Not that it would have mattered much if I were sitting a stand on those days ó I rarely saw as much as a flash of a deer on so-called "doe days." Cason Creek Hunting Club (like pretty much all other camps in the state) bursted at the seams with hunters on those 20 or so days each season, and dozens of ATVs tore through the woods just before daylight.

Didnít take a particularly bright deer to figure out that it would be best to sit tight for a while.

Yes, I killed a number of does through the late í90s and early 2000s, but most of them came from DMAP clubs to which I was fortunate enough to be invited. Frankly, I didnít want to hunt non-DMAP land for the simple reason that it was almost certain my time would end without seeing anything.

So I was overjoyed in 2006 when it was announced that doe days were ending. Finally, I could decide when to shoot a doe.

Finally, there was no need for every hunter in the state to hit the woods at the same time. Instead, hunting pressure was minimized simply because folks didnít have a few prescribed days during which does could be killed.

But I was shocked last month when the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries announced they were proposing the reimposition of doe days, pointing to a couple of poor years of overall hunter success and degradation of habitat across the state to back up the need to turn back the clock.

In short, they said they want to limit the number of deer being killed by 18 to 30 percent, depending on the specific area.

I know many of the biologists at the agency, and I think the world of them. Theyíre hunters themselves, and I know there is no huge conspiracy to prevent me from killing deer.

However, I think going back to doe days is a step in the wrong direction. After all, if habitat canít support as many deer (which is their contention), we should be killing more deer instead of fewer deer. Thatís just simple logic.

And former Deer Study Leader Dave Moreland agrees. See page 20 to read his thoughts on the matter.

Look, Iíve killed plenty of deer at this point. So I can stand the pain of doe days. But what about new hunters? Success breeds excitement, while sitting in a stand watching birds flick around leads to frustration.

LDWF officials make much of their desire to increase hunting opportunities to attract new blood into the sport. But this move would do just the opposite, leading to more kids giving up and staying home.

Thatís something we can ill afford.

View other articles written Andy Crawford