hydrangea blossoming

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Oh, Deer?

This past week, a couple of people have talked to me about deer hunting on the Point.  Apparently, people do it.  One person seemed to be saying it was illegal; the other that it was legal with bow and arrows for a brief period in the fall.

I spent an hour or so on the net reading about hunting regulations in Washington State.  I grew up with a father who hunted large animals (and ducks and pheasants) so I'm vaguely familiar with how it works.  But I was certainly surprised to see the great variety not only of animals that are hunted but of weapons used to hunt them: each weapon with its own week or so season in specified GMU's.  A GMU is a Game Management Unit, and I take it that it is a specific area managed by the State hunting agency.  Each GMU has a number and when you look up when you can hunt, it will give you a lot of GMU numbers, specific kind of animal, and dates.

I did go through every GMU in Whatcom County (which is to say I looked at a very long list of them).  Not a one of them was specified as being in Point Roberts, which suggests that you can't hunt deer or anything else here.  But maybe there is some common law that permits you to hunt in your back yard?

Certainly deer traipse through my back yard on a regular basis.  But it seems very unlikely that anybody could follow them around and be legally shooting at them in my back yard.  And it seems very unlikely that anybody would let me be shooting guns or muskets or AK47's or cross bows or bows and arrows in my back yard, given that my neighbors back yard is only feet away.  I know that people get irritated by deer eating things they plant, but the deer live here; they've gotta eat too.  And there aren't so many of them that we can't all feed them a bit now and then and not be a great loser for it.  For example, they eat tulips about 1 out of 6 or 7 years, in my experience...at least they eat mine at that rate.  The other years, presumably, they're eating someone else's.

So this is puzzling stuff.  I need to get help from a hunter, I guess, to explain to me how it all works.

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