Are you ready for some deer hunting?
Since there’s less than two months to go before the kickoff of archery season, I’m calling it official: It’s game time.
The bows are dusted off, tuned up, and ready to nock and rock. The last issue of Illinois Outdoor News reminded me that Oct. 1 is closing in, and closing in quickly. With Ralph’s front-page article about Illinois hunters taking the gold medal for the amount of time we spend in the deer woods each year, the reader comments in the Sounding Board segment, and the Letter to the Editor, I swear that angels, cloaked in blinding lights, began singing glorious songs about my favorite place in the world – the deer woods. In other words, I got pumped up.
We still have a ton of work to do, and the recent bout of storms that ripped through, sending trees to their demise across our four-wheeler trails, didn’t make our tasks any easier. In fact, we lost a treestand during the last one – when a giant tree toppled over, the poor treestand broke its fall. Needless to say, we have a lot of chain-sawing ahead of us – and by “we,” I mean my husband.
We tend to be procrastinators when it comes to setting up and moving stands, but this year has been worse than normal. Between our son’s baseball games, food plots, the flood-inducing weather, and the rest of what life has to offer, our treestands are still hanging right where we left them last January. Some will be relocated, and except for getting a safety inspection check, others will remain in the same (general) location they’ve hung for years.
There’s something to be said for the comfort found in habits. I can think of one in particular that’s one of my absolute favorite “go-to” stands. I’m almost guaranteed to see does while hunting it. Come November, where the does are, the bucks will be also.
Sometimes, I think hunters are too quick to move a stand because of trail cam pics of bucks they’ve seen throughout the summer months. The problem with hanging your stands at the end of summer, based on buck sightings via trail camera, is that once the rut kicks in, travel patterns that were predictable over the summer suddenly go haywire, and predictability goes whizzing out the window. We’ve even been known to move a stand in the afternoon during the heat of the rut, hunting in it the same evening. My husband has killed two bucks this way.
So, Illinois’ hunters, here’s looking ahead to a tremendous and safe 2017-18 deer season. Here’s to sweat-soaked T-shirts, and even a little bloodshed, as we prepare to take to ground blinds and treestands, making sure we uphold the coveted top spot, for all the time and hard work that we pour into our favorite place in the world every year – the deer woods.