Always sad to see deer season end
Some hunters are ready for deer season to end, but I’m seldom one of them. Especially this year, when the weather interrupted numerous hunting plans. It was a crazy deer season where the weather was concerned, starting from the beginning.
I hunt primarily in the Northern Zone, and our early archery and muzzleloading seasons featured plenty of rainy days, including on weekends. It also rained during the youth hunting weekend.
It then carried over into the first few weeks of the big game season in the Northern Zone. Instead of going out with our hunting party and making drives, I opted instead for a few mornings on stand, dodging raindrops and even thunderstorms. Finally, the weather broke and we had a typical mid-November weekend prior to the Southern Zone opener and put a few bucks on the meat pole. But things quickly changed.
The weekend that the Southern Zone firearms season opened, I was actually headed to my brother’s hunting camp in the northern Adirondacks. My two brothers and I had big plans in the works. But 18 inches of fresh snow on top of six that fell a few days prior put those plans on hold. One of my brothers stayed home, and without snowshoes, I hunted in snow up to my waist.
I know of a a few hunters who endured and actually went out and killed bucks on snowshoes. But for many Adirondack hunters, the heavy snow, which was followed by even more snow right after Thanksgiving, sealed the deal on their normal hunting routines. Many could not even get into their camps.
I spent the final two weeks of the season giving it my best. We actually got a few bucks during the late season, which we’re accustomed to, but it was challenging. On days where we’d typically make three or four deer drives, we only made one or two. And we also could not get into a camp we regularly hunt out of.
When the late muzzleloading season rolled around, I hit some areas that have solid doe populations and were at lower elevations. I was fortunate to bag a fine doe with the smokepole, but this was the only time I pulled the trigger all season; I did pass on a small buck during the rifle season.
Although I live in an area where the Southern Zone is just a short drive away, I don’t spend much time there and don’t actively pursue hunting opportunities there. That caught up to me during the last weekend of the Southern Zone muzzleloading season. My buddies who do have some spots to go to weren’t hunting. I was chomping at the bit during that final weekend, which featured perfect hunting weather, at least in my area – the kind of weather I would’ve done anything to have in November.
I did get out on a small parcel one weekday morning just for the heck of it. But when the sun went down on that final day, I felt like a football team that misses the playoffs, thinking of lost opportunities and that the best was yet to come if I only had more time.