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Posts Tagged ‘deer hunting’

Deer hunting is conducted from early September to late February in many of the county-run parks where I take photographs. Our area is over-populated with White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and hunting is one element of a comprehensive deer management program. I am personally not a hunter, but I understand the need to try to keep the population in check to limit the likelihood of collisions with cars or of deer dying from starvation during the winter months.

No areas of these parks are closed during this hunting season, which might sound dangerous, but there are strict requirements that the hunters must follow. Most notably they have to be trained and certified archers and must shoot from tree stands. Most people never see the tree stands because they are in remote areas of the parks, but those are precisely the areas that I like to visit.

During recent trips to Occoquan Regional Park, I spotted the tree stand shown in the first photo below. No archers were sitting in the stand, though in the past I have spotted occupied tree stands a couple of times. The second image shows one of several trail cameras that I have seen at this park this year. The cameras that I have spotted in the past were more primitive—they recorded to a memory card that had to be retrieved and reviewed. The markings on the camera shown indicated that it could transmit on a cell phone signal. The manufacturer’s website notes that images can be sent in real-time or transmitted in a batch at periodic intervals during the day.

How does all of this affect me? I am not deterred from visiting these locations, but I am extra alert and cautious when I know there are tree stands nearby. I also make sure that I smile whenever I spot a trail camera—I never know when someone is watching me.

tree stand

trail camera

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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“You better watch out…”

Kids are warned to be good “for goodness sake,” because Santa is coming to town. Well, Santa has come and gone, but it is prudent to remain good and cautious at Huntley Meadows Park, where I saw this camouflaged archer in a tree yesterday morning.

Each year I have seen the posted signs indicating that deer hunting will be taking place during the fall and winter. I have seen a few empty tree stands, but until yesterday, I had never seen an archer. Fortunately I was behind him when I spotted him and it is obvious from the photo that he had spotted me too and even gave me a little wave of the hand.  I passed by as quickly and quietly as I could.

Within a few minutes of spotting the hunter, I came upon two unoccupied tree stands. I guess that I am walking around in a favorite area for the deer hunters.

That  means I need to be a bit more diligent in wearing my brightly colored stocking hats and remaining alert. I better watch out.

archer

Unoccupied tree stand

Unoccupied tree stand #1

 

Unoccupied tree stand #2

Unoccupied tree stand #2

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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The water levels at my favorite local marshland park (Huntley Meadows Park) are perilously low and I worry about the survival of some of its inhabitants. Some shore birds, however, have shown up that I don’t see regularly there, like this Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus).

The Latin name for this species seems to have been chosen well—these little birds are really loud as they fly by and announce their arrival. I find the bird’s English name to be a little creepy, although it has nothing to do with the four-legged animal, and instead was prompted by the bird’s shrill call that someone thought sounded like “kill-deer,” according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Killdeer

In an ironic twist, the same day that I took this photo, I noticed that signs have now been placed in the park that indicate that deer killing is taking place. I understand the need to manage the deer population, which can quickly get out of hand because of the lack of predators, but I always feel a slight sense of unease when I see these signs, given that I have a tendency to wander off of the “established” trails.

deer kill

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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