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It’s been a tough start to this year’s deer hunt in The Keystone State. From “A coroner says two hunters died of heart-related problems in southwestern Pennsylvania on the first day of deer rifle season.” A 71-year-old kicked it setting up his tree stand. Another, 66, was up from Florida and decided he’d try to bring a trophy back home. You’ve heard those warnings on the Viagra commercials: ask your doctor if you’re healthy enough for sexual activity. Maybe Pennsy should print something like that on their deer tags.

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  1. Could someone please educate me on what “rifle season” and “deer rifle season” is? I thought it was “deer season, duck season or wabbit season” (thanks Daffy).

    I’m serious though, is there a “bow” season?


    • Depends on the state. Most have a “bow” season of some sort. There are also “primative weapon” seasons, i.e., black powder firearms only. As I recall, in some states you can only take deer with rifles or shotgun slugs.

    • As an example this is how it works in WI:
      Bow season: September 15 – November 15, 2012 and November 17 – January 6, 2013
      Gun Season: November 17 – November 25, 2012
      Muzzleloader: November 26 – December 5, 2012
      The reasoning is, a lot less deer will be taken with bow, thus from a herd management standpoint bow season can be longer without killing too many off. Bow and muzzleloader season are kept around because a lot of hunters (myself included, it’s usually a familial thing) enjoy the more difficult exercise, i.e. it’s more sporting.
      The reason bow kills are allowed during gun and muzzleloader, is because if a hunter so chooses to use the more difficult weapon, he is allowed, provided he follows all the other rules (like wearing blaze orange during gun season regardless of weapon.) You would also be allowed to use a muzzleloader during gun season proper for the same reason.
      The reason for the break of several days between bow and gun season is to prevent “poaching” a deer with a gun on Nov. 16, but claiming you shot it with a bow since bow season is still in session. Obviously it’s pretty easy to get around this with a freezer or suitably cold weather etc. unless you happen to run into a game warden while making the kill.
      Edit: dates and other info are here:

      • No I’m not in any way shape or form condoning poaching. I’m just pointing out that if that is indeed the intended purpose of that law it’s stupid and ridiculously easy to work around. And yes if you used the correct caliber, it can be impossible to tell the difference between a bullet and a broadhead wound. I think it might also have something to do with safety, taking a break for a day to clear things up, administration etc. but I’m not really sure.

        • Most hunters are ethical and will obey the laws, which helps to manage the game. I know of many cases where poachers have been turned in by legal hunters.

        • I’m not trying to make a big deal out of it, it’s only one day. Come to think of it the safety argument does make more sense.

  2. A young lawyer (married, father of two) in our area was diagnosed with Meiniere’s Syndrome (a dying off of the balance nerves in the ear,causing dizziness). He got in a tree stand a couple of weeks later, fell out, and died.
    I guess the moral of the story and the article is:”A man’s got to know his limitations”.

  3. I would prefer to spend a month living off the food I had hunted or gathered.

    Sounds like a great weight loss plan to me.

    It’s either that or I have to chase down the guy with my food at McD’s

  4. A friend of mine just went to her cousin’s funeral. He was 37 and pretty fit. Was walking out of the woods after a day of hunting and dropped dead of a heart attack.

  5. I don’t eat meat (health and taste reasons), but consider hunting an excellent food source for meat-eaters. Game has a lower fat content, and poses less risk of foodborne illness than factory-farmed meat. You can be your own butcher–something that even ranchers can’t do, in many jurisdictions (e.g., here in Alberta, where protectionist legislation from the meat packing lobby has made a virtual oligopoly of abattoirs like that festering sewer, XL Foods). And you’ll burn off some of those calories.

    A couple of precautions, though. First of all, avoid headshots, which can blow cerebrospinal matter–which may contain prions–into the carcass. Avoid eating brains and spinal tissue, for the same reason. Carry an unscented/unmoisturized hand sanitizer, or iodine solution, for both your hands, knives, and the areas on the animal’s skin where you cut (i.e., to avoid introducing bacteria into the meat). Have a cooler at the ready. And do get regular checkups, including an ECG.

    • The CDC has conducted studies of the deer and elk populations in the tri-corner Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska area where prion disease is well documented and they’ve found no substantial evidence that CWD in game animals is transferable to humans.

      As far as eating game I’m right with you. There’s hardly a better or more healthy and pure cut of meat than that from wild game. For me, Caribou is without a doubt the most delicious and flavorful cut of meat I’ve ever had. Kansas corn fed whitetail is right up there too.

      Also, headshots generally blow stuff way away from game. Not so much “into” it.

      • The Inuit in Canada have eaten Caribou since who knows when… they eat it raw – all of it. Prions are a non-issue from those animals to humans. I can’t see why elk would be any different. In my native province (during the 90’s) many, many people hunted and ate these animals for food (smoking and sausage mainly) without incident. That was until some idiot in government decided that moose populations were too high (which they still are) and added coyotes to our islands’ ecosystem. Why not wolves that would surely take down the moose? I don’t know, they wanted coyotes. Since the 90’s what we have is a 60% decline in Caribou stocks and no end in sight because the coyotes usually only go after the young and the government has no idea how to stop it.

        It’s a shame because Caribou meat is, as you said, one of best tasting game meats.

  6. I can think of worse ways to die than as a free man walking thru wild creation with a gun in hand, breathing fresh air under God’s sky.

    As a matter of fact, that sounds pretty good.

    I just hope that when the time comes, my relatives have the decency to leave me out there instead of bringing my body back and packing it with preservatives, boxing it up in a coffin for long term pointless underground storage.

  7. More than healthy enough to hunt. We can’t rifle hunt deer here so I don’t hunt deer. A shotgun slug to pretty much any part of a deer is a mess waiting to happen that I no longer want any part of. Spring turkey is in April though… can’t wait! Put on my blaze orange hat and vest and walk around like a dog in the park. Pisses off the turkey ninjas every time they see folk like me with a kill.

    • When I go I want to die on the upstroke so I can get one more for the road!!! 😉
      @Burrrrrr…….what about muzzleloaders, or do they consider that a rifle? I have a Thompson Center ThunderHawk .50cal that shoots like a dream with open sights and 75gr of Pyrodex Pellets behind a 290 or 295gr polymer tip sabot round!!
      Just curious because here in Ar we can hunt w/ bow, muzzleloader, rifle, shotgun, handgun and crossbow I believe!

      • The state laws are so different that what one state considers a “primitive” muzzleloader, another considers to be not primitive. It might even boil down to the type of ignition (percussion caps might not be considered primitive) and ammunition (.50 cal. balls might be okay, sabots not).

        Hunting is the most regulated outdoor activity — after all, they are The King’s Deer — so you need to know the rules.

        • Funny how the difference between the King’s Deer and the People’s Deer amounts simply to spelling.

      • I’m in Ohio. I believe it is muzzle, bow, crossbow, handgun (with barrel in access of 5 inches) and shotgun for deer. I see muzzle loaders at gun shops here all the time that are quite new looking to me. I have never shot one but they look like stick cannons to me. For the same reason I won’t shoot a deer with a slug I will stay away. At least until I get a good compound bow or get me a nice crossbow. Those are used a lot in this state and there is plenty to shoot if you have a bow or crossbow. Squirrel, cottontail rabbit, ring-necked pheasant, ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail and crow during designated seasons are good to go. They just have a daily bag limit so if you have a friend in a good hunting area you can do a lot of hunting. Coyotes and boar are an anytime, anything you can kill them as much as you can type of affair.

        A lot of folks handgun shoot here too. The long .40 is a popular handgun for it. I know folks who have shot deer and wild boar with them. While the rifle isn’t used for whatever reason they give you plenty of leeway on anything else.

        • Actually I haven’t really hunted deer with the muzzy but have hunted hogs with it. The 290’s and 295’s didn’t expand and fragment as much as I thought they would. Put the hog down pretty quick tho. We hunt a pretty heavy timbered area so distance isn’t really a concern.
          Bow hunt a little. Mostly rabbit and squirrel, tempted to try turkey’s if it is legal to bow hunt them here!
          Of course I carry a 5″ barreled .45acp and my 91/30 7.62x54r with 180gr sjsp along too. Miss a shot with the muzzy and takes way too long to reload you know.
          A friend of mine recently cut the barrel of his .50cal down 2″ because the inside had pitted. He showed me his “new” hobby for it: 2-50gr triple seven pellets and a cloth wad with 00buckshot in it. What a hell of a pattern at 10 yards or so. Jeez!!! Fun to shoot like that though!! Don’t know of any reason it would actually hurt the rifle.

        • Unless you gut shot the deer or something other than a good kill shot, a shotgun slug isn’t going to be much different than a .338 kill wound to the heart and lungs. I’ve seen both. It’s not really any different. Especially since the heart and lung area of the body is no good for eating… if it was larger rifle calibers like .338 would be a problem too.

  8. “who_brought_the_chips says:

    November 29, 2012 at 16:51

    Unless you gut shot the deer or something other than a good kill shot, a shotgun slug isn’t going to be much different than a .338 kill wound to the heart and lungs. I’ve seen both. It’s not really any different. Especially since the heart and lung area of the body is no good for eating… if it was larger rifle calibers like .338 would be a problem too.”

    No, I head shot the bastard because I wanted all the meat. What a mess. I carry that same thinking to a good heart or neck shot. Just another mess I don’t want to have to deal with again.

    • Headshotting a deer won’t net you any extra meat as opposed to shooting the heart or lungs… and cleaning the deer is part of hunting. If you don’t want to clean it then don’t shoot it. Nobody is stopping you from sitting in the woods with a camera.

      • Point of conversation completely missed – congrats! What about the part, and I quote:

        “Buuurr says:

        November 29, 2012 at 09:15

        … We can’t rifle hunt deer here so I don’t hunt deer. A shotgun slug to pretty much any part of a deer is a mess waiting to happen that I no longer want any part of…”

        did you miss?

        Who said anything about cleaning the deer? There was no issue doing that. The issue was the animal is not worth shooting with a shotgun for me. Too much waste to not enough meat. A slug is far too much for such a small animal. If you had read anything that I said, and I quote: “…At least until I get a good compound bow or get me a nice crossbow…” you would have known that I am intending to shoot crossbow or bow in future hunts of deer.

        Thanks for the tough guy attitude and trying to tell me what to do though… it is so refreshing on the Internet.

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