Slow Start for Deer Hunt

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A steady stream of cars trickled into the Rose Lake Department of Natural Resources office to drop off their kill, but it wasn't quite the volume the DNR is used to seeing.

"It's a little bit of a slower start," said Chad Krumnauer, a wildlife technician at the DNR's Rose Lake location. "But it should be increasing as the weather gets colder and as more of the corn harvest comes off, the deer are going to start moving better and make themselves more visible."

Deer tend to be more sedentary on warmer days, Krumnauer said, which means hunters are less likely to stumble upon them. Plus, a rainy summer and fall pushed back harvest time -- meaning there are still plenty of corn stalks for deer to hide in.

"The deer are going to the corn once the shooting starts they're in the corn," said Brad Hair, a hunter from Williamston. "We've been seeing deer regular [though] so once this corn gets down it'll be better.

The Rose Lake DNR reported 32 deer checked in Friday -- the first day of regular firearm season. It was anticipating somewhere around 25 animals Saturday.

One of those animals was carried in by 12-year-old Zach Smith, who shot his first buck Saturday.

"It was crazy, I was shaking so bad," said Smith. "The first shot I missed. The second shot, I calmed down a little bit and took my time and put a good shot on him."

Smith is part of one demographic the DNR says has become more prevalent during hunting season. Employees say enrollment in kids gun safety programs at shooting ranges has never been higher.

"We're starting to get a lot more youth involved which is an awesome thing," said Krumnauer. "There's nothing better than getting kids away from the video games and getting them in the woods and experiencing nature."

Open Firearm Season lasts through November 30.

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