Winter Whitetail

Every year in February and March as the gloom of winter subsides and deer hunters begin to get cabin fever, it is time to go deer hunting again.

One can hunt deer in the spring.   Not the kind of hunting one does in fall but still it is hunting deer.  Deer activity tells a lot about what the upcoming season some eight months away will be like.

Spring hunting takes place before the undergrowth gets thick and covers much of the signs of deer activity.  It is possible to observe the animals from greater distances than is possible later as the trees and bushes green up.

If you have exclusive hunting rights to a piece of property you can check permanent stands and clear shooting lanes.  Lanes cleared in spring allow the deer to become accustomed to the environment before the beginning of the fall seasons.  Repairs made become old hat to deer by the end of summer.  Changes made in late summer may spook game from the area.

Early spring hunting is an opportunity to find shed antlers.  All too soon, antlers rodents consume discarded antlers or vegetation covers them.  A shed provides one with an idea of the size of the bucks that made it through the season and winter.  The buck who dropped the shed is probably still in the area or at least his genes are in the local gene pool.

Spring is a good time to be acquainted with land owners.  They are not too busy yet with the planting and not harassed by people wanting to hunt their land.  The land owner may even take time to tell you where they see game on their property.  They might be in a better frame of mind to grant you permission to hunt next fall after getting to know you now.

If you are not familiar with the piece of land then now is a good time to become acquainted.  Make a map of deer activity.  Mark sightings of deer, which way they are traveling at what time of day.  Note feeding and bedding areas.  Scrapes and rubs from last season will probably be active again next fall.  Note their location.  Use of the map in fall will cut down on the need to explore the area in fall prior to the season beginning.  This cuts down on the stress to the deer.

If you are not map making inclined, then purchase a local map of the area from local governmental offices such as the recorder of deeds or highway department.

Detailed notes are important.  You might also interview land owners, postal workers and others who regularly pass through the area.  Not on your may their sightings and the time of day.  Do not leave anything to memory.

If hunting public land you may find others have put up stands in the area you planned to hunt on a given day.  If you have your map, it is possible to move to Plan B.  If you have escape trails on the map you might move your stand to one of them and let other hunters pressure deer to you.

So do not just sit there.  Pick up your binos, get some hunting clothes on and go hunt some spring whitetails.


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