Deer season begins SaturdayPublished 10:35pm Thursday, November 15, 2012
Regular gun season for deer hunting begins on Saturday for the part of Suffolk that lies west of the “Dismal Swamp line.”
Dan Holland, a board member for the Box Elder Hunt Club, helps give an idea of what prospective Suffolk hunters will need to do in order to participate in the season by explaining what is required for hunting in his club.
First of all, a hunter must generally have a shotgun of his or her own. A hunter must also have a license.
“You would need a regular hunting license which most people might call a small game license, and you would also need a big game license,” Holland explained. “You can buy these at Walmart or various retail locations where they sell sporting goods.”
However, Suffolk residents who are 65 years or older are not required to have a license to hunt in Suffolk.
Hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 must take a hunter safety course. This same rule applies to those who are at least 16 years old who are hunting with their first license.
“It’s a requirement now by the Virginia (Department of) Game and Inland Fisheries that you attend a hunter safety course, so we’re providing that as a service, not only to our hunters, which they all completed the first section, but to the public as well,” Holland said. “It’s just a community service that we offer.”
This course at Box Elder, offered once a year during the summer, is free of charge and open to the public, but safety courses can be taken online at varying times. Visiting the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website can help to find courses that are held at different times and locations throughout the Tidewater area.
The Box Elder Hunt Club abides by the rules published by the game department, and they are plainly posted for consultation before going out.
“That way there’s no, ‘Well, I didn’t know that’ type of attitude,” Holland said.
Hunt clubs like Box Elder may have their own rules by which hunters must abide.
Also, since the Box Elder Hunt Club is located on the property of multiple different landowners, Holland explained that hunters are made aware of any restrictions that landowners may have laid down.
Holland indicated that character counts for people hunting in the club territory as guests.
“They have to be sponsored by somebody that is in the club,” Holland said. “They have to know somebody. (The club member has) to know the habits of that person, what quality of person it is. Are they reckless? Are they safety conscious?”
If the hunter is already trained and has the confidence of a sponsor, they can hunt solo.
“If they are untrained as far as knowing how to hunt, then they have to be with a member to hunt with them side-by-side, to get guidance, to get instructions on how do you hunt properly, what are the safety zones that you want to follow so that they’ll learn,” Holland said.
Lastly, guest hunters at the Box Elder Hunt Club will need $25.
The regular gun season runs through Jan. 5.