Students Eager for Hunting Season
By Zach Carter
On a cool, crisp morning, a teenager marches to a tree. After shimmying that tree to their stand, they sit down and look out across the harvested cornfield. After a few hours of stillness, the target walks out in the middle of the field.
The teen grabs a caller and draws the deer closer. Then the compound bow is raised. There is silence. THROCK. The deer drops. Then it prances off. After climbing down the stand, the hunter follows the blood trail to get his prize.
To some the process of hunting is boring. Others may not totally agree with it. But to hunters like sophomore Jacob Bilby, it is an activity he loves and one that he thinks is good for conservation.
“We don’t kill just to kill,” Bilby says. ‘“For most of us, we don’t kill the small ones. There is a big population, so we’re helping to control that.”
Bow hunting started on Oct. 1 and will last until Jan. 2. This Saturday (Nov. 13) will be opening day for firearm season, which will last to Nov. 28. That will be followed by muzzleloader season, which is Dec. 4 to Dec. 19.
Bilby has been hunting since he was around nine. He remembers the time when he shot his first deer.
“A group of does (female deer) walked out and I sat in my dad’s lap. I took the shot and dropped one,” Bilby says.
His approach to hunting is typical to many hunters.
“Right now, the time changes. Like when I went last Saturday or Sunday, I was in the stand at 7 a.m. and stayed for two to three hours,” he says.
When it comes to bow versus gun, he takes the more challenging approach and goes with a compound bow. The bow can shoot a max of around 60 yards, but Bilby will not take a shot unless it is under 40 yards away.
He says there have been occasions when there were many deer in his field, but he could not get them to come close enough.
Other than Indiana, Bilby has hunted in other states such as Tennessee and Colorado. One of the coolest things to him that he has witnessed is elk hunting in Wyoming.
“We saw a lot of bulls,” he says. “We got good looks at them from 300 yards and were able to take shots. That’s something that a lot of people won’t see.”
Besides elk, deer and turkey, Bilby has hunted for prairie dogs and once killed a ram in Tennessee.
Other hunters such as senior Trinity Wine hunt to help feed their family.
“I have a big family and we need extra meat during the year,” Wine says.
Her family has always hunted and Wine joined in during the 2016 season.
She prefers using guns for deer. Wine, who mainly hunts with a .243 rifle, remembers the feeling of getting her first deer.
“My first deer I ever shot was in 2016,” Wine says. “It was a spike. I was so excited and had adrenaline that I could barely stand.”
When it comes to a trophy animal, Wine’s father has one that all hunters dream about. He shot and killed an 11- pointer.
Hunters experience things that the average person has not. Senior Jarred Taylor once came face to face with a deer.
“One time I was in my ground blind and a doe walked up to it,” Taylor says. “‘She ended up sticking her nose in the blind and was staring at me. You don’t see that every day.”
Taylor also saw something strange while checking his trail cameras one fall.
“There was a guy walking in our woods and I did not know who he was,” he says. “I did not have my gun, so I booked it back on my four wheeler. I told my dad and we went out there. Turns it out he shot a buck on the property next to us and it ran on to ours. We spent about four hours looking for it. We finally found it in the complete opposite direction that we were looking.”
Taylor thinks hunters provide a big benefit in keeping deer populations stable.
“Animal management is a big factor,” Taylor says. “‘If no one hunted, these animals would reproduce again and again. Then we would have deer everywhere and that means more accidents.”