CEARFOSS, Md. – Just south of the Pennsylvania border resting between I-81 and the Conococheague Creek is Cearfoss, Maryland – a small pocket of corn and soybean farms in the middle of Mennonite country.
You can smell it before you see it, a signal that you’re in rural America – even if a big town is just 20 minutes away. As the veil opens and you cross those cow-patty laden farm lines, you may catch sight of folks hitting the fields in search of geese.
A change is happening in the Mountain State, and it isn’t good.
West Virginia is known for a lot of poor qualities when put up against the other 49 states, but something that a lot of people aren’t talking about is the consistent decline of whitetail deer harvests. In 2008, hunters totaled 163,603 kills across the four month season. A year later, they only tallied 155,214, and in 2010 that number plummeted to 106,499, a 31.4 percent decrease. Since then, they’ve only surpassed the 140,000-mark once.
There’s a lot I’ve had to do to get ready for my first year of Maryland’s migratory bird seasons. Especially when it is right around the corner and in a state that’s unfamiliar.