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November 24, 2013

Indiana deer hunters set sights on firearms season

Schedule runs through Dec. 1

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Nic Wilson of Seymour wanted to bag the big one.

Decked out in camouflage, he and his son, Vince, 9, and older brother, Steve Wilson, headed out into the cold, early-morning last Saturday to take part in a tradition for many Hoosiers this time of year — deer hunting.

The result was a good start to the firearms season.

“I ended up getting a 9-point buck around 10 a.m.,” Nic told The Tribune. “And my brother got an 8-point buck two hours after I killed mine. It was a great opening day for my crew.”

Vince didn’t end up getting one but hopes that will change the next time they go out.

The Wilsons had been counting down the days until they could get their shotguns out for firearms season, which runs through Dec. 1.

They weren’t the only ones.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources estimates that a quarter of a million hunters in the state will participate in firearms season this year, killing thousands of deer.

In 2012, Hoosier hunters killed 136,248 deer with more than 50 percent of the total coming during firearms season, the state reported.

Wilson said he wasn’t as lucky.

“I did not have a good year last year,” he said.

The harvest isn’t expected to be as high this year as deer populations have leveled and many whitetails in Indiana were hit hard by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, according to the state.

Sean Ingalsbe, owner of Seymour Camo and Outdoor, said business was booming Friday as nearly 60 people stopped to buy hunting licenses.

Although he didn’t get signed up in time to serve as an official check-in for hunters, Ingalsbe was able to help register people’s kills for them on the state’s online check-in program Saturday. Six had done so by noon Saturday.

The state now allows hunters to register their own deer online or by phone.

Although he was open Sunday too, Ingalsbe didn’t think he would have too many hunters in to register.

“The weather is supposed to get pretty nasty and that will keep a lot of people home,” he said.

In all, though, he thought the first day was good for a lot of local hunters.

For Nic, the hours spent in a tree stand, waiting and watching, are worth it when he spots that first buck or doe.

Hunting is much like any sport, and the challenge can be both fun and frustrating, Nic said

“I like the thrill of the hunt. The pressure you have when seeing a deer, especially a buck,” he said. “It’s a lot like sports. You must perform under pressure or you’ll have to say ‘he’s gone’ to that deer.”

One of the more important aspects of hunting, Nic said, is taking it seriously and having a plan in place. Too many people expect to head out in the woods with their shotgun and little preparation and shoot a big buck, he said.

“It can be boring if you don’t do your homework, and by that I mean picking a good spot,” he said.

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