Tradition keeps deer hunters coming back on ‘opening day’

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COLDEN, NY (WIVB) At the Colden Kitchen, there used to be crowd on opening morning of deer season, according to owner Jenette Warning. “Five o’clock, the place would fill up. There’d be fathers, grandfathers and children and they would come in year to year and just over the last ten to fifteen years, I’ve noticed a decline in it all.”

The number of licensed hunters in New York State has dropped about 30% over the last 30 years, but ‘opening day’ of gun season deer hunting on Saturday is still a big deal in Western New York, especially if it’s family tradition.

That’s why Warning raised her daughter, Cheri Evenden, to hunt, and now Cheri is bringing her own little daughter on some hunts. “I think it’s really important for kids to learn about conservation and I really enjoy spending the time with her,” said Evenden. “It’s an awesome experience, we get to see a bunch of wildlife, we get to see birds chipmunks. She’s so intrigued by all of that.”

About 70,000 people are expected to be deer hunting this weekend in Western New York. Over the years, the number of hunting related accidents have steadily dropped, but there’s always a risk.

Gary Huber, of Deer Search of WNY Inc., will be out for his 50th deer season this year. He has this advice for all hunters. “I just want them to make sure they place their shots well because that’s the most important thing is taking an animal humanely.”

“Hunting’s about common sense,” said Charlene Marvin, president of the Holland Rod & Gun Club. “It’s about tradition, it’s about common sense, it’s about comradery. It’s about major conservation. We have no natural predators anymore because we have just about eliminated all of them so you are never gonna be able to have good conservation if you don’t have responsible hunting individuals.”

Gun season for deer in Western new York runs from Saturday through December 8.

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