Either hunter could have legally shot at the bird but both declined. I was impressed with the good judgment and courtesy the father and son team exhibited even though they had no idea I was watching.
My primary concern is for the overall health and growth of a species. Rather than focusing on individual animals, I ask myself how management actions will affect the species as a whole in an area, and then I weigh the costs against the benefits. Given these considerations, most of the time my advice is that people avoid feeding deer in the winter.
One of last year’s 15 poaching cases involved more than 20 bucks killed within a two-month period. Fortunately, officers were able to catch the individuals responsible for this grievous act. The combined efforts of concerned citizens and DWR officers brought successful conclusions to some, but most of them are still open cases.
A polite young man in his 20s opened the trailer door. We asked to speak with the person who had taken the deer. He answered that we sure could. “Grandma,” he called out, “some game wardens want to see your permit.”