Memories of another hunting season will soon be stored in the vault in my brain. I cannot believe that it is almost over!
The familiar woodlot is calling me again to roam from one end to the other in search of any new clues. Clues that might just tell me when someone walked through my woods. Is a hunter here now? I will know soon enough. I know these woods. I practically grew up here. As I pondered over the many things I have seen throughout the years, I thought I should share a few with you.
Once I took a hike about a week before the bow season started. I could not believe what I saw! Trees that were there for years were no longer. Branches that I would use as trail markers were now gone or worse; just cut and left for me to trip on. How different this part of the woods is now.
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After some investigation, I can see why things are as they are. Tree stands are everywhere. The stands used to be kept to the other side of these woods, but now they are in the thick woodlot. What used to be a sanctuary for whitetails to hang and feel safe has now been invaded by bow hunters with no regard for the deer herd at all. What is wrong with these hunters? I guess they just do not know that by cutting down trees and branches just before the season opener, they will alert all the deer in the area of their presence. It would have been much wiser if the hunters cleared smaller pathways for an arrow to fit through and left very little disturbance in the woods. It would have been smarter to set your stands up months ago so the whitetails could get used to seeing them and regard them as non-threatening.
This is all bad enough, but to leave cigarette butts near the stand does nothing except leave more human scent and foreign odors in the area they want to hunt.
Whats this? Four empty beer cans? Tell me I am seeing things.Who in their right mind would drink beer while they are hunting? The strange thing is that I found beer cans in another hot spot in the woods last year too. Not only is that extremely dangerous, but more human and foreign scent is saturating the hot spot. Did they forget how sensitive the nose of a whitetail is? Oh well, an empty freezer might convince them.
While I am on the subject of bow hunter mistakes, why is it that some hunters feel it necessary to slam the truck doors shut when they arrive at their hunting haven? I swear sometimes it is so loud that they can wake the dead and send every deer in the area to a different county. I am sure that if they were more careful about making so much noise, they would have a little more success in the woodlot this hunting season.
Earlier this year I watched as three hunters made their way from the vehicles to the tree stands. They had absolutely no regard at all as to the wind direction. I am sure they were told about approaching your tree stand with the wind in your favor or choose a different stand location. Every hunter who ever took a safety class or even spent a few hours in the woods would know that golden rule. If you cannot walk to your stand with the wind in your face, at the very least it should be blowing on your side. It should NEVER be at your back sending your human scent in the direction you are walking and directly to the nose of a waiting whitetail.
One of the funniest things I saw this year was when a group of hunters walked through the woods trying to spook up a deer during the bow season. Driving deer works, but they were making such a racket that the deer would end up bolting out of their hiding spot with a speed that would even make "Flash" envious! If they used their heads just a little, they would understand that during the bow season, you should quietly zig zag through the spot you want to move deer. The object is to just bump them along not scare their tails off. If the drive were done correctly, the whitetails would walk ahead of the hunters that are driving and right into the watchers.
The nose of a deer is so sensitive that the bow hunters should take extra precautions to keep their scent down to a minimum if they want to see any deer at all. Here again, there are some hunters that assume that they do not have to adhere to that train of thought. Score one for the deer. And we all know what happens when we "assume" something! I cannot print that here. The fact of the matter is that humans stink, period.There are plenty of products available to help hide human scent. The best one to use might be Scent Killer Gold. A hunter I know swears by it. He uses it all the time and he never has a problem scoring during the season. As a matter of fact, he uses all of the scent eliminating products by Wildlife Research Center.
Finally, I heard of a hunter that wounded an animal and had ten of his friends out there looking for his deer. That did nothing but disturb the blood trail until it was lost in the woods forever. Fortunately, that particular deer survived and lived to fool the bow hunters for seasons to come.
I have learned a lot through the years about hunters and how they ruin their hunts. I hope you have a better understanding as well now that you have finished this column. I have a name and it is "Rudolph." Looks like I survived another hunting season and I plan on being in your neighborhood this Christmas Eve. Oh, and Lou wanted me to remind you to hunt safe and have fun out there and have a wonderful Holiday season.