Dry Year-Dry Rut

Kerri ButtI had plans on making the best of the one remaining day of bow season — and to just grin and bear the below-zero wind chills. However, after taking on a last minute writing assignment which naturally took longer than I’d planned, I almost wanted to tear up as I watched the last couple hours of legal hunting hours wane away into the brutal cold night.

On Jan. 20, the 2012-13 deer hunting season is officially closed.

Where it went I don’t know and is anyone’s guess. What I do know all too well is that October may have started out with a thwack when I harvested a huge doe on Oct. 6, but quickly descended from there. I don’t know any other way to put it, but the rut in my woods downright stunk!

I literally saw nothing. The majority of bucks I saw were 1 ½ year olds. If memory serves me correctly, the rut, in my experience was non-existent. Others I talked to said otherwise, but not one hunter I spoke with said they witnessed a great amount of activity.

Obviously, it’s been an insanely rough year for the deer in Illinois, and many other states as well. Epic droughts and EHD have devastated a number of deer herds in multiple counties. Despite this, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of record book worthy bucks that have been taken this year by hunters.

Unfortunately, according to the National Weather Service, 2013 is looking to be more of the same: hot and very dry. That forecast doesn’t exactly make a deer hunter thrilled.

Regardless of the cards that Mother Nature deals out, I guess deer seasons will come and go. Some will be rough. Some will be great. And some will be mediocre. But, as long as we have a season in the first place, who are we to complain?!

Categories: Illinois – Keri Butt

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