, Gloucester, MA


December 5, 2012

Outdoors: December Deer Hunting

It is unbelievably warm to be in the woods deer hunting. The words “tracking snow” seem to belong to a different generation. Given our recent history, I guess we need to get used to this new average. But the phases of the moon haven’t changed and the rut does happen regardless of temperature.

These higher temperatures mean that hunters have to change their mind set a bit if they are going to be successful. The deer are going to be more active than usual at night. Instead of curling up under a low spruce and waiting out the night cold, they are going to be eating later into the evening and be more active in the early morning hours. They may be more prone to be having a siesta in the late morning and early afternoon.

This means you want to be in your deer stand early in the morning, preferably at least an hour before daylight. You want to let the sounds in the woods drop back to normal after you walk on in to your tree. Given the noise from fallen leaves, if you set very quietly, you should be able to hear movement long before the animal gets within range.

Here is where discipline counts. The tendency, when first hearing a sound, is to whip your head in that direction. Remembering that movement is your enemy, always turn to the sound as slowly as you can. Unless the deer is running, which is quite unusual, you will have plenty of time. If you are up high, most deer will not even be looking in your direction. They will be concentrating on what is at eye level or lower ahead of them.

However, any quick movement will give you away. Although there is very little they have to fear from above in New England, deer do have large eyes that pick up changes from normal around them. So stay quiet and let them walk slowly up to you.

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