Grizzly's duo's pursuit of deer is all natural, with woods their utopia

Neighbors

January 17, 2000|By Sally Voris | Sally Voris,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

KENNY LIVESAY and Jeff Hinson met early Thursday morning to go bow hunting. They parked in front of their Elkridge store, packed equipment and hot coffee into their pickups and drove down U.S. 1 past the bright lights of the all-night convenience stores and gas stations.

The two owners of Grizzly's Archery Supplies & Hunts drove to the end of a dead-end road. They sprayed themselves with a woodsy scent and walked silently into the woods. They were carrying bows, arrows and 25-pound steel tree stands.

Ten minutes from their store, they were in the forest primeval.

When they reached a thicket of laurel, they set up their tree stands 20 feet above the ground in two oaks. The metal teeth of the tree stands grabbed the bank.

Beyond the long stretch of woods, trucks rumbled down the interstate. Helicopters flew overhead. The tall lights from the highway spread a silvery sheen through the trees, like moonlight.

Livesay, 29, says he loves to "become a part of the woods."

Perched in the trees, the two hunters stood quietly. The woods around the two men were silent and gray. A beech leaf rattled on a nearby branch and a cardinal called to his mate. Livesay and Hinson waited to hear the sound of a twig breaking under a deer's hoof.

It didn't happen.

Hinson, 38, had scouted the area. He knew deer would finish grazing on a nearby field as the sun rose. They'd head into the laurel thicket, where the hunters stood, looking for places to bed down and sleep away the morning.

The men stood motionless. As day broke, the air stirred. Hinson rattled two antlers together to signal for a young buck.

Well after sunrise, Hinson and Livesay headed back to the store. Perhaps a noise Hinson had made had scared the deer away.

Deer spook easily this time of year, Hinson says. By now, they've gotten used to being hunted. Bow season began Sept. 15 and ends Jan. 31.

Livesay loves bow hunting. He is in the woods most mornings and when he can go, in the afternoons. When this season ends, he will begin preparing for the next.

"Seventy-five percent of my enjoyment comes from preparing," he said. Livesay is the middle son of Howard County Police Chief Wayne G. Livesay.

When Kenny goes out to hunt, he scouts his area and chooses his site. He washes his clothes with no-scent soap, uses no-scent sheets in the dryer, washes his hair with no-scent shampoo and puts on no-scent deodorant.

This year, he learned another trick. A week into the season when he had not yet landed his first deer, Hinson suggested that he use urine taken from does in heat to attract bucks to his site.

Some hunters drag a rope soaked in the product beneath their tree stand, Hinson says, but Livesay "just poured the whole bottle on the ground beneath his stand."

That day, he shot an eight-point buck.

News travels fast among hunters. The next day, Grizzly's sold out of the 4-ounce bottles.

"When it all comes together and it works, you feel a sense of pride," Livesay said.

Grizzly's Archery, in the Baltimore-Washington Commerce Center on U.S. 1, is a place where regulars hang out, its owners say. On Wednesday evenings, the store sponsors an archery league; on Sundays, programs for youths. Parents bring their children to teach them to shoot with bows and arrows.

Livesay feels strongly about the ethics of his sport. He'd rather see a deer killed by a sportsman, he says, than by a car. Hinson guesses that cars kill as many deer as hunters do.

Employees from the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks have recently installed reflectors along Montgomery Road to scare deer from the road. The reflectors bounce a portion of the beam from a car's headlights across the road in a pattern, creating a visual barrier, says Phil Norman, natural resources specialist with the department.

Montgomery Road has the highest incidence of deer killed by vehicles in Howard County, Norman says -- 17 in 1997; more than 35 reported in 1998.

Last fall, Ellicott City resident Bob Risley, 60, who owns a mechanical engineering business in Elkridge, counted 19 deer killed along Route 100 in the 12 miles from his house to his work.

Risley has hunted for 37 years. He recently participated in the managed hunt in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area.

"Often when a deer is hit, it can run 100 yards just because of its adrenalin," he said. "It runs from the danger point for a heavy thicket."

Norman describes suburbia as a "deer factory." The animals can browse on yews, azaleas and vegetable gardens, and return to the forest to sleep.

The deer usually eat acorns in the fall to fatten up for winter but this year, the oaks did not produce many acorns because of the drought, said Dorsey resident Billy Woodall. Woodall, 37, has hunted for more than 20 years on land his grandmother, Ruth Struck, owns in Elkridge.

In winter, deer eat honeysuckle leaves, Woodall said, but last fall, they ate the leaves early.

"The patches of woods I've been in," Woodall said, "the honeysuckle vines have been stripped clean from the deer. I'm glad it's been a light winter."

In a colder winter, the deer might starve.

"They're stripping out a lot of browse and are headed toward starvation," Norman said.

For Livesay and Hinson, responsible hunting, in which hunters kill deer in a sporting manner and eat the meat, is an answer to the problem.

Congratulations!

Samantha Goresh, 18 and a 1999 Centennial High School graduate, completed the Disney Marathon in Orlando, Fla., on Jan. 9.

Samantha studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla. She was one of 17,000 runners and raised $1,800 in pledges for the Leukemia Society.

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