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The Truth May Hurt

November 28, 2016 - Larry Claypool
Have you heard this before? “If you do things the same way each time, you can expect the same results.” This applies to a lot of things, including hunting. Over the years — many times — hunters from Pennsylvania would ask me, “where can I hunt in Ohio, there’s no place to hunt in Pennsylvania? Writer Grey D. Berrier II covers that question well in this issue with his article, “Alternative Ways to Get to Your Deer” on Page 24 in the Winter Issue of Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine.

When I first read Berrier’s article I thought of the many, many Pennsylvania hunters who would visit our vendor booth at any of the sportsman’s shows we attended, whether it was in Ohio, Pennsylvania or neighboring West Virginia. Since we’re based in Ohio hunters would always want to know “where can we hunt in Ohio?”.

There are many public and private lands in the Buckeye State that prove to be “good” hunting areas. But just like anything else, you have to do YOUR homework to find a suitable place to hunt for YOU! This is where Berrier’s article hits home with the issue of “there’s no place to hunt in PA”.

Berrier sites a Penn State University study that said about 40% of Pennsylvania “never gets hunted”. What? And that “there are potentially deer in parts of PA which may never be hunted in their lifetimes.” (The same can be extrapolated regarding black bears and turkeys.)

And what might be the reason for that? Lazy hunters. There I said it. The truth may hurt.

Now there are obviously other reasons we can not get to deer because of rough terrain or land that is private property and permission to hunt is restricted. But there’s a lot of land in our region that is huntable. It takes a little work.

To break away from Berrier’s article for a moment, (and this relates) I found it amazing that hunter Stephen McHugh (Ralph Scherder’s story on Page 14) worked so diligently — on various fronts — to harvest his buck of a lifetime. It took a little extra work.

The second part of Berrier’s article examined how far hunters (in the study) thought they had travelled afield to hunt whitetail deer. Hunters said they’d “walked about a mile” to get to their stand, but when they actually were recorded, on average, had walked about one-third of a mile. And when questioned about how much they’d walked during the course of one hunting day, they said they’d walked about 7-8 miles. They actually walked (on average) only 1.75 miles. Hmmmm!

And one of Berrier’s final notations about the hunting study (and this relates): “whitetails as a species are not stupid.”

Berrier, who is an accomplished hunter, put it this way, “Deer, especially mature deer, have learned to pattern where hunters go. They have come to know the roads, trails, and routes most hunters travel and over time, they become familiar with many of the spots where hunters typically take a stand.

“This is how a major percentage of our deer population survives from year to year, in spite of all the hunting pressure they receive over the course of all the deer hunting seasons (archery, firearms, and muzzleloader). Deer avoid the places where hunters are likely to be found and find those places,” said Berrier.

Places that hunters need to work harder to find. Good luck!

This column originally ran in the 2016 Winter Issue of Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine.


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Just like anything else, you have to do YOUR homework to find a suitable place to hunt for YOU!