Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Wednesday, December 07, 2011:
There was talk of snow today. As of 8 p.m., it was all but short-sleeved weather, 60-something. There will be some chillier – even below freezing air moving in for a short stint but look for yet another bout of balminess by next week. Keep it up Nina.
I’m going to put in some plugging time tomorrow, hoping the schoolies keep their appointed late-day surfline rounds through December.
How about those highly visual bluefin tuna right off the beaches? A few folks have tried to tempt them to take trolled offerings but to no avail.
Every year right about now, I write about the time about 15 years ago I was throwing cast net into crystal clear water off the end of a Ship Bottom jetty – for sand eels, ironically – and watched in rapt amazement as one, then two, then three massive bluefin tuna swam past the end of the jetty at absolutely mach speeds. I barely registered them, visually. They left more of an afterimage. I swear they were pushing six feet each.
The weather put a damper on the controversial Jersey black bear hunt. When the weather was nice, something like 278 bear were bagged, however, throw in some but drips and the fearless shooters seemingly scurried for cover, a mere 50 bear were bagged.
Similarly, the firearms season for deer jumped off to a quick and accurate start on Monday but it also saw a fast drop-off due to weather keeping shooters within shelters (so to speak).
Every firearms season hunter I talked to said they had plenty of targets, though many/most didn’t want to take a shot until they saw something sweet.
Though the shotgun season has the greatest instant impact on the deer population, it’s actually the six-month bow season that accounts for nearly half the total annual harvest in NJ. Last year, the six-day firearms season accounted for about 15 percent of the 55,404 deer taken down. That amounted to 7,485 deer. The muzzleloader permit folks in 2010/11 shot a similar number of deer as the shotgun folks, 7,827. Fall bow was the big winner with 15,775 deer DOAs; with the bow permit holders taking an additional 8,428. The highest firearms count went to permit shotgun, 12,446.
With the remainder of the week, especially Saturday, forecasted to be prime hunting conditions for deer, any numbers lost due to the recent rain will be corrected before Sunday. Look for that 7,500 number to almost be matched.
It’s hard to get a straight or accurate read on the number of deer calling Jersey home. The folks who may know best, the experts who try to (animal) control deer numbers, place the number at 200,000. That is likely a tad high.
Little known fact to many: 100 years ago there were maybe a few thousand deer, statewide.
Despite the ecological need to control the deer population, Nature knows how to trump harvesters. It has instilled deer with a fully inexplicable ability to somehow detect when its population is being challenged. Be the culprit be disease or mankind, deer magically (what else can it be?) begin to produce more young, often through twins and more frequent reproduction. Sounds weird but it’s been thoroughly documented.
If that sounds like there’s no getting ahead of the deer, keep in mind that we humans have a cool little trick whereby we can destroy any competing creatures by simply building over natural areas. Clever, huh?
Just to be momentarily profound: We have perfected ridding ourselves, if need be, of any creatures large and threatening. But, where in bloody hell is all our cocky killing proficiency when it comes to terminating the tiniest of enemies. We’re losers, essentially the prey, when it comes to the likes of ticks, cockroaches, mosquitoes, ants, or, more cynically, viruses, bacteria, cancers? Maybe we just don’t make guns small enough.