Herd management: Though oftentimes a thankless job, somebody has to do it. No, I am not referring to the LSU Tigers removing the Arkansas Razorbacks from the list of contenders as they thin the ranks of the Southeastern Conference, but to the equally difficult and enjoyable task of harvesting antlerless deer.
My “Black Friday” was, like many of you, more of a Camo Friday. After sleeping in and catching up with Mom over coffee, followed by Thanksgiving leftovers that were off the charts at Granny’s, I visited a piece of whitetail utopia on the Mighty Mississippi River while bowhunting with my dad.
While heading to the stand we bumped several deer, including a couple nice-racked bucks. After getting settled in, things were quiet … except for the hum of a tug boat pushing a barge up the river and a few Canada geese on a nearby sandbar. I must admit, something could have slipped past as my eyes were constantly scanning my iPhone for updates on the LSU/Arkansas battle for “The Boot.”
Eventually, a rustle in the sycamore leaves brought me to my feet as I prepared for a shot at a mature doe and yearling that were easing my way. While gauging the size of the smaller deer and pondering its ability to survive on its own, another doe appeared out of nowhere at half the distance. Her sagging profile and pot belly indicated she was past her prime. Obliged to take part in thinning the herd, I carefully drew two different times, only to have her stop each time behind limbs in the canopy. As she hastened her march to parts unknown, a loud bleat stopped her in her tracks, presenting a clear 23-yard shot quartering slightly away. It was “Goodnight, Irene.” The little G5 Tekan expandable broadhead put her down within 60 yards.
Upon recovery, we discovered a dry doe with molars worn down to the gum line—a dinosaur if there ever was one. Additional text messages revealed that there would also be one less hog at the trough. It was a good day, indeed! As I’ve often said before, ”There ain’t nothing safe when there’s a Tiger around.”
Let me encourage you to fill an antlerless tag next time you have the opportunity. Antlers are great, but you can’t eat them. And harvesting a doe from your deer herd means one less mouth for your habitat to support this winter.
As always, God bless and good hunting,
1 Theselonians 5:16-18