Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 16, 2010

Hunting deer a family tradition

TRAVERSE CITY — Another hunter entered Jim Schramski's spot in the woods, so he decided to move.

He slowly crept to another place near Grand Traverse County's Acme Township, taking advantage of Sunday night's rain to muffle the leaves beneath his feet. He stopped when he saw markings that deer had been there, and within a half-hour bagged an eight-point buck.

From a separate spot, Schramski's father, Bob, could hear it drop.

"He wasn't even sure he was going to take the day off," Bob Schramski said.

Jim Schramski smiled. "Good thing I did."

His deer was at least the ninth checked Monday, the opening day of firearms season, at the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment station in Traverse City.

The first few days of the season are when most of the deer are taken, said Rich Earle, a DNRE wildlife biologist. The first showed up shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.

"Then they came in one after another," Earle said. "Typically, about the time I'd finish up with one, another truck would pull in."

He records the time and location where the deer was shot and inspects each animal to determine its age.

No deer near Grand Traverse County will be tested for chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis unless they show signs of illness, Earle said, primarily because of cost.

"If we had a stronger budget, we'd be collecting some," Earle said, adding that it's unlikely deer with either disease will be found here.

After noon, Terry Brady brought in a doe he shot in Antrim County's Milton Township.

He and Earle scanned county maps to find the location within a square mile. Wildlife experts use the information to determine deer management efforts for counties.

Brady's doe was about 3 ½ years old. Earle said it would yield decent meat.

"I'm going to go back out and try to get a buck, though," Brady told him.

He has been hunting for about 40 years.

"I just enjoy being outside, going out and being in the woods," he said. "We like the venison."

Jim Schramski and his father have hunted together since he was 14 years old.

It has become a family tradition. The younger Schramski said it had been a "dry spell" since he last brought home a deer.

He had the hunter who entered his first spot to thank. And the weather, for cooperating.

"It was really quiet in the woods," Jim Schramski said. "I think that's why I was able to get into the thick area where the deer was. I wasn't crunching around."

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