The many variables of deer hunting

We’re about halfway through the regular deer hunting season here and it seems the general consensus by hunters is it’s been a feast or famine season as far as hunter success goes. On one side are the hunters who experienced success early the first morning or opening day, while on the other are those who’ve struggled just to see very many deer.

I suspect one of the reasons for the disparity has been the milder than normal weather we had the first two weeks, which limited deer movement during the warmer daylight hours. The other may well be fewer hunters moving that, in turn, rousted bedded or immobile deer into moving. Many opening weekend deer that were taken were moving along natural travel routes between bedding and feeding areas. Reports also indicate a majority of bucks that have been taken were either following does or moving along the buck’s establish scrape line, in search of receptive does.

Generally speaking, deer are also often taken along routes they use to escape hunting pressure. If the pressure isn’t there, deer will often stay put for much of the day, and move primarily early and late in the day and at night. Since the temperatures weren’t unpleasantly cool, many hunters spent the majority of their hunting time sitting on watch, waiting for deer to come by. Also, the main rutting period appeared to start a bit later than normal this year, and the warmer temperatures caused many bucks to do most of their rutting travel at night when it was cooler.

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