Speak out on black powder season

Published 11:13 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

I drive 58 eastbound between the Courtland exit and I-64 every morning.

At night, I make the return trip westbound. For the past two weeks, between Courtland and Suffolk, I have seen the remains of at least one overnight fatality every morning. Coming westbound at night, I see additional remains, but I couldn’t verify if they would have been from the previous night or not.

I am out there, at dawn and very near dusk every day, running the gauntlet myself. I honestly try to avoid the highest risk times when I can. However, like most of you, I have to earn a living and emergencies do pop up which force me onto the corridors of death.

While sitting behind the wheel of a Toyota Celica, I continuously scan the roadsides for a glimmer of a green set of eyes or a hint of white on a black background. They’re out there, and for every mile driven my odds go up that I will have an encounter of the expensive kind. Hopefully it won’t kill me, but that’s known to be a real possibility too.

It is obvious to me that we have a runaway problem with the whitetail deer population in Southampton County. Those who hunt are not curtailing the population enough to have an impact. We do a fine job of growing them here.

I am sure that the damages these collisions cause is well in excess of a million dollars a year on Virginia highways alone. I would also guess that Southampton County is near the top of the list.

I am sure that most of the collisions are with tractor-trailers who are not concerned about the minimal damage caused by such a collision. However, there are also families in vehicles who are putting themselves at risk. Maybe, your loved ones are traveling through Southampton County on 58 right now.

For you PETA people, think of the trauma you can put an animal by colliding with one while doing 60 miles per hour. Think of the trauma you will go through yourself in knowing that you have caused the immediate or worse yet the slow painful, death of one of God’s creatures sharing this planet with you. Wouldn’t it be more humane to control this problem some other way?

For you hunters, wouldn’t you rather have a freezer full of venison than spend your hard earned cash in automobile repairs, emergency room expenses, or funerals, God forbid. I will be doing the best that I can to fill my freezer this year because I don’t have the extra funds for even the smallest of repairs let alone any thing big.

OK, now let me be a little controversial and ask, is it not time to allow at least a black powder season in Southampton County? If your answer is no and you are a hunter, I am begging you to fill all your tags this year. It just might save the life of a family member, a PETA member, or me.

BOB RUDZIK is Newsoms resident who writes about the outdoors. He can be reached at outdoors@tidewaternews.com