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Deer hunters provide economic boost

It’s been decades (several of them) since the last time I stood quietly in the great outdoors, a loaded shotgun in my hand and listening to the sounds of a dog hot on the trail of a deer.

Yep, back in the days of my youth, I was a hunter. Deer hunting then and now remains a popular sport, even though you will not find me among those involved in this annual way of life.

Hunting is an ages-old tradition across the Roanoke-Chowan area, as it is in most rural areas of the world. The harvesting of wild game – deer, rabbit, squirrel, and all sorts of winged creatures – isn’t associated with a madman toting a gun. Rather, the majority of those who hunt and kill such animals do so in an effort to put food on the table.

I remember dating a girl in high school from Conway whose now late mother was a master in the kitchen when it came to preparing deer meat. I’ve consumed deer in nearly every imaginable way….but her recipe for “country-style” – one covered in a thick, rich gravy – was my favorite.

And, yes there are those hunters who target only the big bucks; mounting their heads and huge racks on a wall inside their home. Yet the meat never goes to waste. If a hunter only wants the head for display, the meat is either given to another hunter or a charitable organization that will prepare it for donation to needy families.

Hunting, especially that of deer, is big business in the Roanoke-Chowan area. I do not know the exact number of hunting guide outfits locally, but there are a few in Northampton, Bertie and Hertford counties. Most cater to out-of-state hunters….those making a trip to our little corner of the world for a chance to bag one of our big bucks.

Those local guides house and feed and hunters. That means they purchase food from our local grocery stores, and fill up their vehicle gas tanks to take them out in the woods. Thusly, some of the profits made by these guide services turns over in the local area.

The same can be said for our local deer hunting clubs, which are numerous in the R-C area. They purchase meals and gas for themselves, as well as pay for the food fed to their deer dogs.

What would happen if that economic shot in the arm was lessened? A proposal now under consideration by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) has me and others worried.

The NCWRC is proposing changes to the length of the deer hunting season as well as to the bag limits (two bucks and four does for the entire season).

These changes have local deer hunters up in arms. At their meeting in December, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners witnessed a room full of deer hunters. Using a single spokesman, that group urged the Bertie leaders to oppose the NCWRC’s proposed changes. The Bertie Commissioners agreed to do so by adopting a resolution in an effort to derail the proposal before it reaches the North Carolina General Assembly for an “up-or-down” vote.

The commissioners in both Hertford and Northampton counties are following Bertie’s lead. Those leaders are discussing the adoption of resolutions of opposition.

How can the “average Joe” take a stand?

If you would like to keep things the way they are today as far as the gun season for deer hunting, make plans to attend a public hearing hosted by the NCWRC at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at J.A. Holmes High School Auditorium in Edenton or at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Nash Community College Auditorium in Rocky Mount.

Comments can also be submitted by mail (please include your name and address) to: Rule-making Coordinator, 1701 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1701.

Let’s do all we can to protect this way of life we’ve come to enjoy across the Roanoke-Chowan area and in an effort to assist those local businesses that cater to deer hunters.

 

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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