Every once in a while there’s a proposal that gets to that point but still doesn’t meet approval. Not this time. The board voted to approve everything proposed. Most of the proposals focused on deer, which makes sense as whitetails are the most carefully managed game species in the state, with a wide array of locality-specific rules and regs.
Either-sex hunting days are being reduced in a number of counties, primarily on public land. The move reflects the trend with public land deer herds, which seem to be shrinking due in large part to habitat. Mature hardwood forests, like those found on a vast majority of public land acreage these days, just don’t offer great year-round deer habitat.
The “easy” answer is to say the U.S. Forest Service needs to get back to allowing intensive timber cutting, which produces early successional vegetation growth. But it’s not that easy. It’s a basic supply and demand issue. The demand for timber simply isn’t there.
The bright side is that most hunters these days pursue whitetails on private land, and private land herds are still quite robust. There was a little throttling back on doe hunting on private land, but not much.
Of particular personal interest to me was increasing the daily deer bag limit from one to two in Roanoke County. This should encourage hunters to keep the pressure on does — which need pressure in much of the county – because they won’t have to quit hunting after they drop an antlerless deer. At least that’s the effect it will have on me. When I’m hunting during the rut I’ll be much more likely to shoot the first mature doe I see instead of waiting in hopes a buck is behind her. I’ll shoot the doe and then still wait for the buck!
Another interesting new rule will allow holders of an apprentice hunting license to participate in special youth hunts, which will now be called “Youth and apprentice hunter” days. I think that’s a good move that can help with hunter recruitment.
What do you all think about the changes? Anything jump out?