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Whitetailed Deer

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Whitetail Hunt

Whitetail deer are said to be the most commonly hunted animal in North America. Throughout history, people that have lived in America have always wanted this animal for its meat and skin. With the large increase of hunters, our government has made rules and regulations to maintain the population of the famed whitetail deer.

Whitetail deer are major game for hunters today and have been a staple resource as far back as the first Indians in America, being their prominent source of meat (known as venison). Native Americans used the entire deer for survival in wilderness. Because deerskin had so many uses, it was highly sought after at that time. The Native Americans would mainly use it for clothing in the colder weather. These simple uses of the animal kept these people alive in the harsh conditions of the wilderness. During this period of time, deer were not killed for fun or for sport.

There are many different ways in which these hunters killed the whitetail deer in the past and still use some of these objects and methods today. Blunt objects, clubs, spears, knives, axes, harpoons, bow and arrow, traps, snares and guns are some of the objects used for hunting. The Native Americans' main way of killing deer was bow and arrow. Native American's methods of hunting were used for centuries. The arrival of the Europeans vastly altered the hunting process. The Native Americans understood hunting, and that is what they did best. Native Americans only hunted what they needed. The entire carcass was used and the other resources were not wasted. From the web site Le Moyne Pictures, a French explorer describes the Native Americans, "The Indians, when hunting deer, used ingenuity such as we had never seen before..." (Le Moyne Index 1994). A clever invention of these Indians was to modify the carcasses of the deer into disguises (1994). This innovation allowed the Indians to get very close to the deer. The disguises made killing them a lot easier with bows and arrows. According to the article, "How the Indians Hunt Deer," the Native Americans were described as being skillful, "they were able to remove the deer skin and prepare it without any metal knife, just shells, with such skill that I doubt there was anyone in the whole of Europe who could do it better" (1994). The Europeans had many new ideas and with these ideas were guns. The powerful weapon was a threat to the Indians.

Initially Europeans wanted this animal for the same reasons as Indians: to survive. Deer hunting became a game for the English men. They were becoming much better hunters than the Indians. The new introduction of a gun to this land brought a great deal of unnecessary bloodshed. The Englishmen prominently used their guns to hunt deer. As many years past, hunting became known as a sport. Long after the government was established, rules and regulations were put into effect.

The tools used to kill these animals are referred to as weapons today. The gun became the main weapon of hunters in this century. A weapon of high power is the shotgun. This gun can be loaded quickly and fire within a matter of seconds, making it a weapon of choice among many hunters. The muzzleloader can also be seen in the woods to kill deer. This weapon is also high powered. From a distance there is not a difference in the sound between the shotgun and the muzzleloader. The result of the rounds that they fire however is greatly different. Without the booming sound of an explosion, the bow and arrow is a preferred weapon used to kill deer. A bow and arrow can be very deadly if used correctly. Of all the weapons used to hunt deer, these three weapons are most commonly used. The hunters choose these weapons over others mainly due to their availability in hunting stores.

Thousands of deer were killed in the years after the Europeans' arrival. The number of deer has never been the same since. Today's rules and regulations are far more restrictive than any that were imposed on hunters many years ago. These rules and regulations are necessary because people today would kill off animals and make them extinct. A long time ago, Indians understood this natural balance and killed only animals that they needed. Within the past few centuries many developments in rules and regulations have occurred. According to the article "Hunting License Information" a writer describes the government, "the federal government and all state governments have passed laws to conserve the supply, or correct an oversupply, of game animals" (Encyclopedia Britannica Online 2003). Many laws and regulations have been put in place to protect and conserve deer species. Hunting has become a growing sport; because of this, states are required to make laws and regulations for all animals excluding birds (2003). The deer is a highly hunted animal; therefore, many laws have been placed on it to conserve the population of animals. If these restrictions were not applied, hunters could make this animal extinct.

There are many rules and restrictions made from state to state, but there are subtle differences in these laws. Every state issues a law saying that hunters must be of a minimum age to hunt. Potential hunters must take a test to receive their hunting license. The license, often referred to as a permit, is required to hunt in that specific state, and is not to be used in any other state. Another law hunters must abide by is the specific seasons that the hunters are allowed to hunt in. Boundaries set by the state government restrict a hunter from killing certain animals and keep hunters off of private property. A hunter should have a solid understanding of these regulations before they go out into the field. In more specific detail, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut all have the license, seasons, and boundary laws enforced. These states allow deer hunting along with many other forms of hunting. Deer can be classified as large game. The other classification, small game is a name for smaller rodents, birds, and foxes.

Obtaining a license is required by all states before any person is allowed to hunt. Most state governments believe that hunters in their state know that they need to obtain a license before hunting. Although, some people are not aware of these laws and do not get one before they hunt. A violator could be fined differing amounts depending on the state and the violation committed. Licenses and permits for New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut do not allow any youths under the age of 12 to hunt. These younger age hunters are encouraged to learn as much as they possibly can about the sport before they turn the age of 12. This age restriction applies to every hunting sport small game and large game alike, (Connecticut DOEP 2003). New York has set a deadline by which a hunter must



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