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Open Season

October marks the opening of deer season with archery season first on the slate. After months of scouting, planting, researching, and planning, it’s now time to reap the rewards! Time to grab your bow and arrows along with a thermacell, if you’re hunting in the south, and hit the woods.  Deer hunting has many advantages regarding benefits to species, habitat protection, and field to table food. 

Whitetail deer hunting is the most popular big-game species to hunt in North America. It is a great pastime and makes for one of the largest conservation funding inflows. The Pittman- Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, which was achieved with the support of sportsmen, levied a ten percent tax on ammunition and firearms and archery equipment. This funding then goes into state conservation programs, with direct benefits to species. As a result of the BILLIONS that sportsmen and women have contributed, the whitetail population has risen from 500,000 in the 1900s to over 32,000,000 today. Sportsmen contribute nearly $8 million every day, adding more than $2.9 billion every year for conservation. These funds go a long way in supporting restoration and management of wildlife species. Deer hunters, as the largest proportion of the hunting public, generate a large portion of these funds. 

Due to a lack of predators for deer, the population can easily increase to unsustainable levels, with the biggest hazard being starvation. A large deer population plays a big factor in sufficient food supply within a habitat. It also effects tree growth and increases pressure on the forest floor plants. Deer can overpopulate in any given area within a period of five or less years if not managed properly. More than half of all farmers in the US report damages to their crops due to deer feeding on them each year. The controlled hunting of deer in most areas is the best way to keep the overall population under control while benefiting both the deer population and the habitat in which they reside. This is true conservation, as it benefits hunted and non-hunted species, habitat, and humans.

Hunting is often looked at as just a hobby to the outside world. However, it provides a priceless benefit of field-to-table food.  Meat from hunting does not go through the same processing of grocery-store domestic meats. Hunting and eating wild game provide a lean, protein product that is free range, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Furthermore, for those who hunt, fresh meat obtained through hunting offers a “do-it-yourself” pride and satisfaction. Nothing beats getting out in the woods and fields! 

Safari Club International is always First For Hunters. Under the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, hunters have been the engine behind the conservation, management, and research of white-tailed deer.

Recipe Requests: We hunt for many reasons: hobbies, conservation efforts, comradery with friends and family, but most hunters can agree we hunt for food. Open season on the best backstrap and tenderloin available is finally here and Safari Club International wants to know who has the best venison recipes!  Give us the scoop on your special family traditions, stories, and photos to be featured on the SCI website and social media! Contact twagner@scifirstforhunters.org to submit.

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