I’m not sure if seeing deer everywhere has given me a case of “buck fever,” or if having buck fever since season is quickly approaching has heightened my senses to where I’m seeing deer everywhere.
In honesty, I think it’s just late October and the deer are on the move, the rut is kicking in, and there are simply more deer coming out of the deep woods to be seen. Either I, or someone close to me, has seen a deer every day for the past couple weeks.
In early to mid-October the state conservation department and some insurance companies always sent out press releases about watching out for deer-vs.-vehicle collisions. And for good reason! I had a doe cross the road in front of me Monday evening. My wife nearly hit a deer late Wednesday evening.
Our daughter has hit two deer in the past month near where she lives and works in southeast Nebraska. And a good friend and hunting buddy nearly totaled out his truck when he was hit head-on by a running 6-point buck last week. He’s a lifelong deer hunter, and bragged that it was the biggest deer he’s ever harvested.
Off the roadways, reports of deer being spotted by hunters are picking up. Our game cameras on our own farm are showing lots of buck and doe movement. My son, who lives on the farm, is seeing deer on the drive in and out or feeding in the field edges nearly every day.
And this past Tuesday he was putting the sneak-and-stalk on a doe with his bow and was interrupted by the sound of a big buck making his presence known coming up the hillside – stomping, snorting and raking the brush with his antlers. He never did see the buck, but the commotion caused the doe to quickly move out of shot range.
We found the early season rubs a month or two ago as the bucks were cleaning off the velvet from their headgear. But in the past week we’re starting to see regularly-used rub lines being created.
And I suspect when I check the game cameras the next time we’ll find fewer pictures of buddy bucks hanging out together as the competition for does ramps up it becomes “every man for himself,” as the old saying goes.
This weekend is the “youth-only firearms” two-day season, with another in late November. We have no youth hunters at this time, but I might very well give it another go with the bow.
I need to mow and trim around the hunting cabin one last time, and move some blinds ahead of the regular firearms season opener in two weeks. I’m also working on building a new elevated blind in my workshop at home, with plans to have it in place by no later than next weekend.
This next week I’ll start thinking about what we’ll be eating in deer camp opening weekend. We have some traditional snacks and foods we take each year. The new snazzy cabin has made meal prep, and every aspect of deer camp, easier than in past years.
All of the utensils and pots and pans, many necessary ingredients, water and a propane cooktop are already there. There’s a supply of firewood cut, split and seasoned and ready for the antique heating stove. The beds are in place with bedding already on them.
These are all things we used to have to pack in each year either ahead of season or on the drive to camp that Friday afternoon. Now there’s solar power for lights, to charge phones or for any other electrical needs. It hardly feels like “roughing it at deer camp” anymore.
With the exception of finishing and moving that new elevated blind, hauling it down and setting it into place, everything seems ready for opening weekend.
I need to shoot a couple rounds through my rifle to assure the scope is still dead on, and hang the gambrel in the big oak tree to ready it to hoist up that first deer of the weekend. I have my farm tags printed off, and know where the nearest check station is located (to be in compliance with the mandatory CWD sampling opening weekend in the county where the farm is located).
Archery season hasn’t gone as well so far as I’d hoped, but I have high expectations of rifle season. I missed two deer opening weekend of archery season back in September, and haven’t had a good shot to take since.
My food plots didn’t grow out as hoped. The fall plantings started off great but then fizzled out with the planted varieties pushed out by weeds and the native grasses. I’m thinking it was a combination of a lack of fertilizing early on, and the deer browsing the tender plant shoots before they could get a good start.
This is also just my second year of archery hunting, and my first to be really serious about it. And I’ve discovered my blind placement wasn’t as optimal as it could have been. I’ll have my blinds in better places after the rifle season.
Had using a rifle been an option for the deer I have seen while bow hunting, the freezer would already be full. But there’s always the next time out with the bow.
And rifle season is just two weeks away!