Deer Hunting Season
Deer hunting season is over for me. It’s my least favorite, least productive hunting season. I get cold easily, though this year it was unusually warm for the first four weeks and I wasn’t cold until the end. There aren’t a lot of deer around so we can shoot only bucks. I hunted almost every day and saw one buck right here on our land. I heard him crunch dry leaves and snap a branch on his way to an apple tree behind my right shoulder. Big bodied and four points, one of three bucks we have pictures of on the game cameras. He ate the apples on the ground and walked away from me. I watched his antlers over raspberry bushes and then his wide rump disappear into the woods. He had no interest in my bleats. His ears didn’t even twitch.
Steve built a food plot in the spring. I cut down a few trees but he really did all the work. He built it and they came. A ten point and two four point bucks, a lone doe, a doe with one fawn, and a doe with twins. Last year we had two bucks, the lone doe and a doe with one fawn. Progress. The ten point disappeared after being on the camera at the end of the second week of deer hunting season. Neighbors a quarter-mile down the road have a doe with quadruplets at their apple tree on a regular basis, and they’ve put mineral blocks out for them. They look great, strong and healthy. Seven fawns in a quarter-mile section of road. That’s encouraging. With our food plot and their mineral blocks and a major decrease in logging in the area for an extended period of time, our deer herd has some time to increase.
The major land owner that won’t be logging in the near future has blocked access to side roads. They’ve lined boulders up across the roads’ entrances and dug up culverts. When there weren’t culverts or boulders they dumped large piles of gravel or dug out the road. The number of heater hunters (they drive the back roads and don’t get out of the warm truck until they see a deer) dropped drastically. The folks who got out and walked harvested some big bucks. We saw a ten point with a drop tine being registered at Waite General Store. Five years from now we should see more and bigger deer. It’s encouraging.
Wins and Losses
Neither of us harvested a deer so that’s a loss. The wins for the deer and their habitat are huge and far outweigh venison in the freezer. Winter is here with single digit temperatures and a little snow here. Five miles from here the ground is still bare. Another easy winter seems unlikely but an average winter will be just fine. Survival of the fittest keeps the wildlife healthiest.