Archers are beginning to get into the swing of things with the opening day of deer season less than a month away.
Some are already hunting big game out of state, while others will shoot nothing but targets for the rest of the month.
Scouting is difficult at this time due to the vegetation, although those with an idea of the woodlot they plan to hunt can make any last-minute adjustments with relative ease.
Cutting limbs and hanging stands should have been done long ago, according to the whitetail experts, but many will do just fine hanging stands in the weeks to come. Oftentimes it is not until archery season is underway that a stand location is discovered. Deer movements and food sources can quickly change, and in order to achieve success, so too must the archer’s stand locations.
In my opinion the focus on hunting mature bucks, and deer in general, has gotten a little out of hand in recent years. Some new hunters do not even consider hunting off the ground and are under the impression that it is not a valid method.
On the contrary, hunting from the ground offers a number of advantages, with mobility and lack of set-up time leading the way. For those who hunt off the ground, things can be a lot easier, but remaining undetected is tougher when at eye level.
Hunting from an elevated stand can at times allow the hunter to cheat the wind, although the topography of our area still makes it a serious consideration. Scent control is to an extent effective, but the best method for getting a deer within bow range is to hunt the wind. Those with limited hunting ground fight the dilemma of hunting the wrong wind or not hunting at all. Careful planning often can allow a number of stand locations in the same general area and can help save the best spots for the perfect wind.
The availability of safety harnesses for those hunting out of elevated stands have evolved to the point that there are no excuses not to wear one. Most accidents happen as the hunter climbs into or out of the tree stand, and hunters should take measures to be secured as soon as they leave the ground.
• Dove and goose hunting is in full swing, although the recent weather has slowed the feeding and flights of both species.
I have seen some corn cut for silage already, and farming activities are beginning to open up some new food sources.
Just as quickly as these new food sources are created, they can disappear by way of the plow or liquid manure. If birds are discovered using an area, effort should be made to hunt it as soon as enough information is obtained.
A heavy workload eliminated the chance to get out and hunt much recently, but I have seen dove and geese in good numbers during my travels.
With any luck this weekend will bring cooler weather and new birds, allowing those who enjoy the smell of spent shotgun shells and some outdoor entertainment.
• Diminishing daylight is beginning to be noticed by the fish as well, and many species will begin to feed more aggressively in the weeks to come.
Boating during the nighttime can become complicated at this time of year with warm water and cool air. Fog can quickly engulf the water, leaving boaters in a thick cloud that can make travel impossible. In such conditions a GPS is of greater value than knowledge of the water body because with no visibility there is no real way to know where you are in reference to anything further than 10 feet away.