It was almost 10 o'clock that evening
Such was the pucker factor.
It wouldn't have been so bad if I had seen him several feet instead of after my foot passed within a single foot of his head.
4'9" 6 rattles
No, he didn't rattle
I'm a small game hunter
I made a decision not to attend the first meeting in Montgomery on 1 March 2014, nor any others. There was really no reason to. Everybody knows that the CAB (Alabama Conservation Advisory Board) will extend deer season into February for the southern half of Alabama and eventually to the entire state.
While I was still planning on attending, I thought long and hard about what I would say opposing the extension of deer season into February.
Then I realized that there nothing I could say that would make the slightest difference.
It would end most small game hunting in Alabama? You already know this and it will make no difference whatsoever to you.
You don't know the full impact on the deer herd? The only thing I have seen is a study to see where and when it would benefit tree sitters the most to move the season into February.
The preliminary study you provided raised all manner of possible problems including the detrimental impact on large bucks. These are problems that I have yet to have seen addressed beyond the desires of the deer hunters.
The letter presented to the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board meeting 12 March 2011, "Potential consequences of extending deer season into February" by Stephen S. Ditchkoff, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University is here The letter says that an extension of deer season into February will have a negative impact on the deer herd in terms of quality. That alone should have ended the debate
“Impact on small game hunters” This is self obvious in that small game hunting would pretty much end in the state of Alabama. Most land is private and the small game hunters can't compete with the high prices that deer hunters are willing to pay.
Some say that the reason is that what the deer hunters want, they get from the CAB and Goat Hill.
And that is partially true.
Some on this board have ties to high wire operations, businesses connected to deer hunting and hunting plantations.
In a effort to be fair to the dog hunters, the proposal is to give back the days lost at the end of January. I used to hunt rabbits on some of these dog hunter's property. That gave me roughly 45 days to hunt rabbits each year. By giving back to the dog hunters, you eliminate those extra days.
Even the days that OutDoors Alabama is touting as closed in December to make up for the days extended into February, is a lie. As soon as it was announced, the decision was made to allow deer hunting with compound bows and inline black powder. None exactly primitive weapons. And not exactly closed.
Another example is baiting. Each year deer hunters put out tons of corn. It's sold in most stores in handy camouflaged bags. I've seen the Florida tags at a local feed and seed filling 55 gallon drums on trailers with their ATVs. But the only response from this board is not to crack down, but to legalize baiting. Some hunters I know tell me that they are glad that baiting with certain restrictions will be legalized, but they'll continue to hunt over corn.
Deer hunting is not about fair chase anymore. Being able to penetrate those keen eyes, nose, hearing and instinct. Instead it is about giving the hunter every advantage over their quarry; cameras, low light scopes, scent blockers, bait, technological advance weapons (cross bows, compound bows, inline black powder, shooting houses over green fields, ect). And coming soon “drones”. It is about killing horns the easiest way possible, like shooting a cow in a feed lot. But I don't really believe that this is about giving the deer hunters what they want. Although it is, partially.
Some would say that it is a matter of politics.
And I agree somewhat with that. I know that there are politicians on Goat Hill that would use their position and power to influence matters that should be beyond political influence for their own personal benefit. There is no doubt in my mind that some would attempt to influence where the line is drawn so that their or their families lease was included. My disdain for politicians knows no limits. But I don't really believe that this is about giving politicians what they want. Although it is, partially.
There is a old saying “follow the money”. And I suspect that drives the move into February more than any other since it is the deer hunters money that ultimately has the most influence.
When I'm forced out by the CAB and the deer hunters, My vet loses roughly a $1000 a year. The local gas stations lose the multi tanks of gas I burn each year hunting different areas in Alabama. The hunting supplies I consume each year, chaps, briar britches, boots, shirts, vests, ammunition, dog food, dog collars, pine shavings, hats, snacks, on and on will be lost to the state of Alabama and its merchants. If I decide to hunt in nearby Georgia, I'll make sure I buy from the area where I am appreciated as a small game hunter.
I read a quote by N. Gunter Guy Jr., Alabama's Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
“The thing is our deer season ends after everybody else’s, and we should take advantage of that to bring in money from out of state. I think we do some of that already, but we really need to let these deer hunters know that when their season ends, ours is open the whole month of January. And we have nice, liberal limits because we have a lot of deer.”
Our Alabama hunters need to think about what Commissioner Guy said, though most of them can't look past the thought that they can hunt in February and eventually get rid of the “sort of” shut down in December.
The last thing “we” (all Alabama hunters) need is a marketing tool for the state to bring in even more hunters from out of state to increase the revenue for the state and the landowners.
Remember that wildlife is the property of Alabamians, not the landowner, not the lease holder and not the State. The State is merely the custodian for the people
Ultimately, hunting will only be for the privileged and the connected. The move of deer hunting into February will speed up the process. Governor Governor Robert Bentley, his political appointees and this Board will share a large portion of the blame.
The Ridge Grove BBQ
Directions to the Ridge Grove Volunteer Fire Department in Chambers County, Alabama. are here
It's pretty much a done deal
And then they will gradually extend it throughout the state, eventually ending the 11 day shut down.
When they write the history of hunting in Alabama, let it be known that the following names dealt the final blows to small game hunting in Alabama, Governor Robert J. Bentley, his political appointee, N. Gunter Guy, Jr., Commissioner, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Chairman of the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board Dan Moultrie of Moultrie deer Feeders.
Oh, they will tout the long small game season and the generous bag limits, but they mean nothing without opportunity.
They'll talk about how they didn't give the deer hunters more days, but when they did take away the corresponding days, they still allowed blackpowder and compound bows. I wonder if that was at the behest of the CAB members who have or their family has ties to deer shooting plantations?
Me? I'm moving my vet to Columbus, Georgia. I'll buy all my gear either online or in Georgia. I see no reason to support the people who are driving the small game hunters out.
And the odds are The Rabbit Journal and the East Alabama Rabbit Hunters & Souse Eaters Social Club are not long for this internet world
The Rabbit Journal
High Cotton: To be wealthy.
The last hunt of rabbit season is always bitter sweet. It seems like the month of February speeds away with me hoping that it never ends and when the last day arrives, I'm so glad it's finally over. We just try to cram to much into the short window that the Alabama Conservation Board and the tree sitters allow us. And soon it will probably be even shorter. But that will be another post.
About the time I turned 60, I noticed that I had graduated to the Mr. “first name” stage. This happens when people are familiar with you, but want to show some respect for your advancing age.
Rain rain go away
Eric tried to change it from Wednesday to Thursday. I countered with Friday. Thursday was out for me since I was, unbeknownst to me, to be a Road Warrior
Eric had more mundane problems such as work.
I made sure I loaded a complete change of clothes in the truck to join my regular “fall in the creek” bag and the wet weather bag I carry for the fishing boat, the 2+3 I keep in Apalachicola
Chuck “I'm warm blooded. Cold doesn't effect me like others” Plunker was a tad late this morning and I had to wait a few minutes on him. I asked him if he had everything when he finally came to the truck. “Why yes, I've got a extra shirt to change into when this one gets wet”
No jacket, no change of pants, just a long sleeve shirt to wear under his vest. It was then he made the fateful announcement of “I'm warm blooded. Cold doesn't effect me like others”.
These words would come back to bite him later in the day though he remarked when I brought the subject up that he was so numb from the cold that it could chew on him all day and he wouldn't feel it.
After the morning hunt, Plunker rummaged through the back of the truck looking for something warm to put on. Plunker is a lot larger than I but he told me he didn't care whether it fit or not, a knife would take care of that.
The morning hunt was productive if wet. Eric the bird hunter killed the first two rabbits. Eric's friend, Michael told me later that he had a lot of fun despite not killing a rabbit though he did have a shot. And “Those things aren't hard to kill, but they are easy to miss.”
True words, those. I should know
Sorry about the lack of pictures. To help me remember to take the camera, I looped it's carry handle through my coffee thermos and in the process of filling the thermos with hot water prior to the coffee, I dropped the brand spanking new camera into the sink full of water.
A Paucity and Dearth of Rabbits
That pretty well sums up my last two rabbit hunts though maybe “dearth” would suffice as well.
dearth: the state or condition of not having enough of something
But then again, I don't ever recall having a un-dearth or a un-paucity of rabbits.
To little; yes
to many; no
Redemption: more or less
This rabbit would make up for the easy shot that I had missed on this same rabbit on the first of his four trips through the area.
And it's a small rabbit hunting world. He knew Pookie and ate at the annual Ridge Grove bbq because he likes the Stew. Which, by the way, is cooked by Plunker in huge syrup pots in the back of the Fire Station. And as long as we are talking about the annual bbq at Ridge Grove Volunteer Fire Department, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that it will be held the third Saturday in March this year.
The Saga continues
My problem is that when Charles is around, my dogs won't run, period. Not trash, not rabbits not even each other. Then when we hunt without him, the Pack turns in a stellar performance
On Monday, I thought I would have a chance to show off a little and cherry picked from The Rabbit Journal Pack. After all they had been running well enough to please me..overall.
Yes, I Know
I was at Lowes in Opelika Friday and a young clerk said to me "You don't know who I am, do you?"
Not a clue. I'm horrible with names and faces to begin with and getting older don't help.
"I'm Jordan. You took my brother and I rabbit hunting several years ago by way of "One Dog"
That rang a bell. It was also good to hear that helped put a fire in his belly about rabbit hunting as he told me of some recent hunts.
Take a kid rabbit hunting. One day you might need him to return the favor
Fireman Pants and other thoughts
"We" got 10 as I noted below. Looking at the woods we hunted though we could see that soon those double digit days would be a thing of the past.
Rabbit hunting isn't like deer hunting. You can't get a 50 acre lease of mature pines and put out bait to lure rabbits in like the deer hunters. You have to have cover to hide from predators. Hawks, coyotes and, well, most everything likes to eat rabbits
The planted pines canopy is closing up and the briars below will soon die out from a lack of sun. The rabbit numbers will dwindle. So, we get them while we can.