Woodland Trails: Deer hunting coming soonSunday’s cold blast of wind out of the northwest and freezing temps Monday night brought most of us back to reality. November is just around the corner. That white stuff some people saw blowing in the wind will be here to stay sooner than many might want! Hopefully not until we hit the deer season.
By: Jim Bennett, Hudson Star-Observer
Sunday’s cold blast of wind out of the northwest and freezing temps Monday night brought most of us back to reality. November is just around the corner. That white stuff some people saw blowing in the wind will be here to stay sooner than many might want! Hopefully not until we hit the deer season. Nothing is better than a little tracking snow!
And speaking of deer! Deer are always on the minds of most people I know. Most of those people talking, reading and thinking about them now are hunters. Bow hunting action is picking up as bucks are making scrapes and are beginning to look for any doe that might come into breeding season earlier than normal. But it’s not just hunters that are thinking about deer and deer movement!
I’ve been seeing more dead deer along roadsides this past week. In fact, I came close to hitting one that decided to cross a road about sundown. Sunrise and sunset are prime deer movement times. Drivers need to beware. And remember that when you see one, get ready for more. And don’t swerve to miss them. That’s when accidents accident, when drivers go off the road. Bucks will be chasing doe soon. It’s going to get wild in the woods and on the roads!
One of the fun parts of getting ready for deer hunting season is all about preparation. It used to be simple. You just drag out the blaze orange and head to the stand. But those simple days are gone because of all the latest technological advances available to hunters with scent-free clothes, masking sprays and attraction scents.
In years past I was lucky enough to have land I knew well and I didn’t need all that “stuff”! I had land I hunted for 40 years. I knew the location of where scrapes would be made each and every year before the bucks made them because they made them in the same places. I knew the routes the bucks ran, where the doe bedded and where the other hunters would be.
But times change. I lost all of my favorite deer hunting haunts as old landowners died or moved away and new ownership came in and I was forced to move on.
The homestead where I now live has only a fraction of the deer the old haunts held. Where we used to see small herds of deer running through woods, now we are lucky to see one or two in a couple days. The new land has been a learning experience, to say the least. It’s more prairie than woods. Deer don’t have the food to hold them as the old land did. Once the corn and soybeans were gone here, so were the deer.
We borrowed a trail camera last year to see how many deer were on the property and adjoining lands. A couple doe and a couple bucks were all that showed. But we knew there were other deer in the few little surrounding woodlands and prairie settings. The problem was to keep them on the homestead. This year we put in some nice food plots!
We planted corn, soybeans, clover and wildlife mixes in hopes of keeping the doe close by. If doe stay, bucks will come! It worked for a while as my son, Josh, took a nice doe with his bow a little while back. And that’s important because we are in an earn-a-buck zone. In this area we are supposed to take a doe before we can harvest a buck.
Normally that is not a problem except that all the doe are feeding in the large fields of standing corn nearby. So far only one large tract of corn has been harvested. And wouldn’t you know it — all I see are bucks when I go out into the woods to try to fill a doe tag. I saw a few doe in the standing corn while pheasant hunting. And I saw pheasants while I was early-season doe hunting. It’s just not fair!
With the huge fields of standing corn nearby, I am going to have to get awfully lucky to take a doe. Our little food plots are not drawing much attention with the huge cornfields nearby. We watch the trail camera and see gray and red fox, bear, several small bucks, wild turkey, squirrels, blue jays and rabbits. Hardly any doe. They are still in the big corn and I might have to go after them there.
And of course there is wood to lay up for heat, lots of winterizing around the house, dog doors to put up and all kinds of odd jobs to do before winter really arrives. The dogs want to chase pheasants and I am hearing good reports of grouse hunting in them there hills! And, of course, Josh is still talking late-season ducks.
The only solution I can see is to have two Octobers and a 50-day November. One October and a 30-day November are just not long enough. For those of us who like to carry on the tradition of deer hunting and walking behind a good dog, we could use the extra time in the woods and fields. If a politician could get that extended October and November for us they would surely get votes from every hunter across the land.