Unusual heat not good for serious bowhunting
The first week of November has always been one of favorite weeks to be archery hunting. Typically, it is either a pre-rut period of whitetail behavior, a week that sees full rutting, or often, a wonderful mix of both.
I was out hunting everyday this past week — except Saturday — and endured an experience I’ve never encountered since I became a serious archery hunter, about 35 years ago. Unbelievably, I did not see a single deer the entire week when tree-bound hunting. I might add that I’m in darn good deer country.
Not one deer! Not even a single button buck moving around, curious as to what all the commotion in the woods and fields is about. Nor even a small doe wondering about, momentarily separated from her mother who most likely is paired with a buck, undertaking the series of actions that will lead to next year’s fawns.
Past experience has taught me that I would — and should — expect wondering bucks at almost any time of day to pass through my field of sight, males that would be searching for any telltale sign or scent of both does and bucks that are looking to mate.
Settled in my stands in the darkness of mornings before sunrise, and equally positioned hours before sunset, equated with a week-long venture that was as much surprising at it was disappointing.
In the past, I’ve read the writings of serious hunters that in essence pointed to hot days during fall, being shut-down days for deer. These articles all basically state that deer in their winter coats are really not enthusiastic about moving in daylight hours, preferring to stay put in cooler spots, similar to other creatures, which would include camo-clad hunters.
While I tend to agree with this thinking, I also raise some questions in my mind about why this may not be fully true. For one, thinking of deer in this country’s south and southwest that experience much warmer weather throughout fall than we do here in Pennsylvania, they still meet their breeding requirements no matter how warm, and no matter long hot weather lasts.
Secondly, when a doe is ready to breed, something that may happen any time of day or night, bucks aren’t going to lay around thinking it’s just too hot to spread my genes. They’ll be up and at her.
I’m sure other hunters are seeing deer, and it may have simply been my bad luck not to see any at all in a week’s time. Still, my disappointment is not that strong, and I remain eager to see if the forecasted shift to cooler weather this week will change my experiences in the woods.
After all, I know from all the seasons of my past, that all it takes is one moment for a buck searching for love to pass close to my spot. And if that instant comes, I better be out there at that spot hunting, and be ready.