Friday, November 14, 2008

Some Deer Hunting Tips For The Opener

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There have been many good firearm openers in my past, and several that would qualify as terrific, but I’ve never had a bad opening day. It’s just that some are better than others.

Everyone wants to shoot a buck, and some do but most do not. The DNR tells us that 75-85 percent of the bucks are shot during the first three days of the firearm opener. A few more bucks are taken over the Thanksgiving weekend, and the rest of the season is only as good as the weather allows. If we have snow, and a decent hunter turnout, it can produce a good deer kill.

Cruddy weather and few hunters usually spells a poor opening day. If the weather is bad for two or three days, the season will be poor. Frankly, with a forecast of rain and snow for tomorrow’s openr, and fewer hunters because of the baiting ban, this may turn out to be the poorest season in years.

I always look forward to the firearm opener, and each one is almost as unique as fingerprints. Some have an early flurry of deer running in all directions; others have sporadic now-you-see-them, and now-you-don’t; and some feature hunting activity that is slowed by bad weather.

Weather forecasts are predicting rain and possible snow in the late afternoon and evening with rain during the day. The wind may determine how much the deer will move.

My advice for deer hunters tomorrow is to be in your blind before sun-up and stay out hunting all day. Walk around a bit to warm up, and to help keep the deer moving.
Deer hunters basically do not like to sit still for very long, and then they get up and move. That’s can be good for those who sit still and usually bad for those people who are out moving about.

I learned years ago when hunters didn’t use bait or hunt from coops, and when they sat on stumps or blinds made of charred pine stumps and fallen branches, that moving hunters also move deer. People get tired of sitting at about 10 a.m. Their belly is growling for some food, their butt hurts and they get up and walk back to camp, drive to town for brunch, and then head back out about 3 p.m. for the evening hunt.

People like me, and hopefully you, sit tight and let others get up and move around. Those that head in at 10 a.m. will move deer around, and people who stay until noon before going in for lunch will move deer, and all hunters who head into the field about 3 p.m. will get deer up and scurrying around.

Hunters who are committed to staying all day often shoot bucks during those very specific time periods. They’ve learned the basics of opening-day hunting, and that is to stay in one place and let other hunters push deer to them.

This is hardly a secret, but it’s one of those things that many hunters learned at one time or another, and either forgot or decided it wasn’t important. Granted, not every hunter will score that sits all day in one place without moving, but it works for a certain percentage of people.

The other trick is to watch your hunting area closely. Memorize where trees and stumps are, and learn to look as deep into the cover as possible and any deer that moves in-between will be seen. Learn to look not for the whole deer but the flicker of an ear, the white swish of a tail, sunlight glinting off an antler, or a horizontal line against a vertical background.

Learning to see deer is an acquired art, and only practice can make it perfect. I wish one and all a wonderful day afield tomorrow, and let any buck or doe taken be a bonus. Hunt safely and good luck.

Posted by Dave Richey on 11/14 at 03:58 PM
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