Deer hunters should secure permits now

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 18, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Deer hunters will have 13 scheduled days for the annual white tailed deer hunt this year. The 2003 hunt program will take place in October and November with the season open to both shotgun and archery hunting.

Dates set are Oct. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1


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Lloyd Culp, manager of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, said any hunters planning to participate to obtain permits as soon as possible.

Hunters can purchase the license by sending their name, address, and telephone number (including area code) on a three by five index card to the Great Dismal Swamp NWR, 3100 Desert Road, Suffolk, Va. 23434, Attention: Deer Hunt.

&uot;Applicants should send a check or money order for $15.00 non-refundable permit fee, made payable to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,&uot; said Culp. &uot;This fee must accompany the application card, and applications will be taken from Aug. 1 to Sept. 15, 2003.&uot;

Culp said all individuals who apply for a permit will receive one per fee.

All applications and fees must be received in the refuge office no later than Sept. 15. Hunters will receive their hunt permit and hunt information package in the mail.

Hunters who have a &uot;Golden Age Passport&uot; will receive a 50 percent discount on the hunt fee. Culp said the Passport is for individuals who are 62 years old or older. The Golden Age Passport has a one-time $10 lifetime fee.

The refuge also issues a &uot;Golden Access Passport,&uot; which is free and is for individuals of all ages who are disabled.

&uot;Both passports are available at the Refuge office during business hours of Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,&uot; said Culp. &uot;These passports must be picked up in person and proof of age and/or disability, such as a driver’s license, is required.

Culp also said the Great Dismal will offer two &uot;scouting days,&uot; Sept. 26 – 27.

&uot;Hunters are encouraged to use these two days to scout out the refuge and familiarize themselves with the area,&uot; said Culp. &uot;With almost 100,000 acres of land open to hunting, the refuge offers a unique hunting experience. We have land open to hunting in both Virginia and North Carolina.&uot;

In addition to the refuge hunt permit, hunters will also need to have the appropriate state-hunting license to participate in the refuge hunt.

The Great Dismal began holding the annual deer hunts several years ago as means of controlling the population of the herd.

Teresa Cherry, one of the outdoor recreation planners for the refuge, said the hunts are crucial to the continued health of the deer population in the Great Dismal.

&uot;Years ago, there were more natural predators in the swamp to keep the refuge from becoming to heavily populated,&uot; said Cherry. &uot;Without the hunts, they can become diseased and they can also suffer from lack of food due to decreased habitat area. Every year, a doe has two fawns and an increased population puts stress on herd health.

&uot;I’ve seen the results of starvation and disease on an overpopulated herd and it’s devastating. Our herd has remained healthy and we attribute that to the controlled population.&uot;

For more information, contact the Refuge office at 986-3705 during business hours of Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.