Let me shoot my arrow in October
I applaud Michel Charon and his five friends for their sustainable deer hunting practices, whereby they choose to limit themselves to just a couple deer harvested a year (“Regions restrict deer hunting to save young bucks,” Oct. 26 edition). The MRC's effort to protect young bucks is also on point (pun intended), but it's certainly not because bow hunters have extra days that our white tail population is suffering.
Let's get some facts straight: the open season is not three months long in Quebec. While many provinces boast longer seasons (including the hunting zone just across the river in Ontario), for us, we are limited to a total of just 35 days: Oct. 1-14, Oct. 15-19 and Nov. 5 to 20 adds up to just barely over a month.
The short, five-day period mid-October is open to rifle hunters and bow hunters alike. For those interested, the investment requires a gunpowder rifle, which boasts an impressive shooting range and is a very effective firearm.
The bow and crossbow hunters indeed have the right to an additional two weeks in early October — well before the temperatures drop and the rut begins in November. While Charon seems to see this as an unfair advantage, I would dare inform the uninitiated that the range on a bow or crossbow is limited to roughly 40 yards, compared to that of a rifle that (in skilled hands) can easily shoot 100-500 yards or more. Speaking from experience, it's not only difficult to get within close range of a deer, it's quite hard to guarantee a safe, clear shot because, for an arrow to actually make contact with the designated target, even the smallest blade of grass can present an obstacle.
Furthermore, no matter the chosen firearm, all hunters in Quebec (with the exception of a few select hunting zones) are all faced with the same bag limit — an allowance of just one antlered deer per year. (In B.C., by contrast, the aggregate bag limit is three deer/year!) That means, if I'm so lucky as to get a deer in October, there are just as many deer left for Charon as there would have been had I waited till November.
I wholeheartedly believe in sustainable hunting practices and personally chose to hunt as a lifestyle choice for sustenance not sport.
Between myself and my hunting partner (and husband), we are able to take advantage of all of the available seasons, but I sincerely doubt the deer population is impacted by anything but the few gun-toting yahoos that tend to flock to the woods for two weeks a year, shooting anything that moves for “fun” not for sport or for food. Hunting pressure increases dramatically in November and gunshots abound, stressing deer left and right. Let me take my shot in October, Charon, and I'll gladly get the hell out of your way come November.
Aleks Simard lives in Chelsea and is sincerely happy to be hunting a la Katniss Everdeen.