No, no, not the Civil War, this is about hunting, shooting archery, and the differences between the North and the South.
I grew up within an hour of the Canadian border, in northeastern Ohio. I’ve hunted throughout Ohio, parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, and now Georgia, so keep that in mind as I ramble on, this isn’t meant to be comprehensive in any way, just my observations from a limited perspective.
The first major difference is, of course, the weather. More specifically, the temperature. By the time we’re hunting in the North, the first frost has usually long over with, and quite often, when you’re climbing into your stand, the temperature is below freezing. Here in the South, I have a hard time not wearing flip-flops, shorts, and a sleeveless tee shirt the week after Thanksgiving. Big, big difference, particularly in scent control. Up north, having scent-free clothing is the main key, down here in the South, not sweating three pints before you’re ready to sit a spell seems to be the issue.
Up north, a hot thermos of coffee or tea, or maybe soup, can be a great comfort in the middle of the day. In Georgia, I try to freeze a couple of bottles of water and stick those in my pack along with some small snacks and apples, mainly so that the apples don’t melt.
Up north, 3D season usually started the first week of January, and at the time, I never questioned this practice and usually I was one of the first at the registration table. Now that I’ve lived in the South for the better part of a decade, I think that starting 3D season in January up North is some kind of masochistic dare. In the South, on the other hand, practicing in the summer is the same kind of masochistic dare, since you, the bow, the arrows, and possibly the target could melt.
Up North, once you’ve harvested your game, the usual practice is to field dress it as soon as possible, at which point it would start to cool properly, and you could expect to hang a deer in a garage or barn for three or four days to allow it to mellow before butchering. Here in the South, the problem is getting it to the processor before it cooks itself.
Before I lived in Georgia, I never heard of a hunting lease. The usual method of finding hunting property when I was growing up was to talk to the farmers around where you wanted to hunt, and offer to help bale hay, mend a fence row, or any other chores, or possibly share some of the venison. My father, having knows quite a few of the farmers for many years, would often take a gift over around Christmas time, or stop in throughout the year and chat with the land owners. They love him to death, proving that none of them have been on a six-plus hour drive with him before. I’ve had more than one farmer not only give us permission to hunt, but walk us through the fields, pointing out where he’s seen deer, rabbits, fox, raccoons, even ring-necked pheasant, just enjoying showing his property off and talking to us.
Here in Georgia, I’ve been very fortunate to have a good friend whose family owns a large piece of hunting property, but I’ve seen some enormous fees charged for hunting leases, with some pretty lengthy rules that everyone is supposed to follow. From talking to folks who’ve had hunting leases, it seems that the most common practice is to enforce those rules on the folks paying good money to hunt the land, but not on the family and friends who have access. I’ve also seen many complaints about folks paying for their lease, and then having the land sold out from under them. This could be happening everywhere, and I’ve just not run into it before, but that kind of thing has kept me out of the hunting lease market for the time being. I can’t afford to pay into a hunting lease only to have it sold out from under me.
Up north, one common practice is to boldly lie about where you hunting when you bagged a big buck: everybody expects this, it’s just a matter of how entertaining you can be when you craft the lie about it. I haven’t run into this in Georgia, but I have heard many a whopper about ‘oh, well, if you think THAT one is big, my brother/cousin/buddy shot one twice as big!’ You hear that just about everywhere, but it seems intricately tied into the tradition of ‘telling a whopper’ in the South.
Up North we tended to hunt all day. Leave in the dark, return in the dark. I can’t speak for everyone, but quite a few of the people I’ve hunted with in the South seem to prefer to hunt two hours at the beginning of the day, and two hours at the end of the day. That could just be the people I’ve hunted with though, and I have to say that after having some BBQ near Ocmulgee Wildlife Management Area, I’m fully prepared to come out of the woods and go to that country store to have a BBQ sandwich for lunch.
That’s all for now, I’ll dig around in this brain of mine and write some more later.
Y’ll have fun!