By Jason Chlapek
Polk County Game Warden David Johnson believes that Christmas time is here already.
“Deer season is a Game Warden’s Christmas,” he said. “Most of us look forward to it. I enjoy getting out and visiting with hunters and people who are out having a good time. I enjoy seeing all of the new harvest of deer and getting to visit with folks who are hunting for the first time. It’s like a social event.”
Johnson and his fellow game wardens across the state will be busy over the next two months. That’s because Whitetail Deer Season began on Saturday and will conclude in January.
The general season for whitetail deer is from Nov. 7 to Jan. 3. Archery-only season took place from Oct. 3 to Nov. 6.
With Covid-19, social distancing has changed the way of life in many areas. Johnson said it shouldn’t play too much of a factor in the general season, however.
“There are no new rules for social distancing,” he said. “Our directive is to be smart and be safe. We’re just going to go out and do our work.”
There are certain regulations when it comes to deer hunting. For starters, there is a county bag limit of no more than four deer — two bucks and two does — per hunter.
While each hunter is allowed a maximum of two bucks, only one of those two may have an inside spread of 13 inches or greater. A legal buck is defined as a male deer with at least one unbranched antler or an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.
“Do have a good time, Do be safe, and Do remember to be courteous to others,” Johnson said. “Be aware of shooting times — one half hour before sunrise and one half hour after sunset, Be mindful of your surroundings, and remember to properly fill out your tags and cut out your dates in addition to filling out your harvest log.”
One change that has been made because of Covid is the publication of the Outdoor Annual magazine that is published on an annual basis. That has been replaced by a cel phone app.
“Our outdoor Annual Now is online and is a downloadable app,” Johnson said. “They’re not printing them this year, but it’s a free app. It’s real easy to look up all of the information that you’re looking for.”
Johnson plans to spend a lot of time in the woods over the next two months — both on and off the clock.
“I believe I’ll take advantage of deer hinting on my days off,” he said. “I like to get out there and see what’s in the woods. I’m ready to get in the woods. It’s going to be a good time and a lot of fun. We look forward to seeing everybody out there. I enjoy hunting with my two boys and watching them have fun in the deer stand. You can’t beat it.”