Tim Ferguson

Tim Ferguson

By Tim Ferguson

Autumn, what a great time of year. The air is crisp and clean, humidity and temperatures are down, leaves are beginning to change colors, and it’s football season. Oct. 19, another beautiful morning, was met with the sound of distant gunfire signaling the beginning firearm deer hunting season. The season lasts until sunset on Jan.1. I spent the first 36 years of my life living in the suburbs of Atlanta. In order to do any kind of hunting, we had to drive long distances away from the city.

We are very fortunate here in Rutledge that we can drive short distances or in some cases simply walk to go deer hunting. Rutledge is very blessed to be located right in the middle of one of the best areas for white-tailed deer hunting in the world. Nine years ago my son started coming home from school talking about his friends hunting, and he said he wanted to start hunting. My hunting experience was very limited. The thought of walking into the woods with my son and a high-powered rifle terrified me. I wanted to learn how to hunt in the right way and teach my son to do likewise. Some friends recommended that we take the Hunter Safety course given by the Department of Natural Resources.

I went online and found out that the course was being offered at Morgan County High School. What a great course. A few of the things talked about were how to properly carry a rifle, how to properly get it into the deer stand, when to load and not load a firearm, just to name a few things that were covered in the course. The Hunter Safety course, along with a friend helping to familiarize me with and fire a rifle, greatly eased my anxiety.

Thank you to the Department of Natural Resources for the Hunter Safety course and for all you do toward managing wildlife and hunter safety in our state. Deer harvesting helps manage the deer population to a level which keeps deer from eating all the gardens, decreases automobile collisions with deer and keeps the overall deer population healthy. There are two primary reasons people harvest deer. One reason is for the meat. Venison is tasty and healthy, fed by nature. The other reason is to harvest a trophy buck.

The experience of being in nature is wonderful; the quiet walk to the stand, the fresh smell of the woods, time for meditation, food for the soul. On the one hand it is a time of peace and tranquility, then when a deer comes into sight it is heart pounding excitement. Hunting is a good time to spend with family. It’s a good time to pass along hunting and safety skills to the next generation. If you hunt with your children when they’re young you won’t have to hunt for them when they’re older. Be safe. Good luck.