My son, Adam, and I were heading back to the woods for our third straight day of deer hunting late last week. Neither of us had even seen a deer in our shooting lanes. But we still subscribe to the premise that a bad day hunting is better than a good day at work. Anyway, about halfway up the Marion highway, there just five feet off the side of the road, was a big, dead doe. It was the first dead deer I’ve seen in the past month on the side of the road. That’s highly unusual this time of year.
Nobody was behind me, so I slowed down to a crawl and looked.
“That very well could be the last deer in Union Parish,” I said somberly, based on our recent hunting results and discussions around the parish about how tough this season has been. We both laughed. Kinda.
Later that afternoon, I found out it wasn’t the last. After hunting till dark thirty (that time mariners call the end of “civil twilight“), I waited for Adam at the four-wheeler. He was a little bit agitated when he got back. Again, neither of us had seen a deer from our stands, but there, 100 yards from where we were parked and 30 yards up in the woods from where he was walking out, there were two deer bedded up in the short grass under a big oak tree. He caught the glimmer of their eyes as he walked out with his super duper Streamlight ProTac 600 Lumen tactical police flashlight. They didn’t even run. He just shook his head and kept walking back to the truck.
This year’s deer season is just plain weird.
There have been a bunch of really big bucks killed. But there are also a lot of folks who haven’t fired a shot, or who have killed a deer, but have seen way, way, way fewer deer than normal. Several processors have said their numbers are down. One told me he hasn’t done half as many as last year. Others say they are near normal levels. I don’t know what’s going on, but there have been some lively discussions about it at the local sporting goods counters and on the world wide deer web like Buck Report Union Parish Facebook page.
Fewer deer? Changing timber harvesting practices? So many acorns deer aren’t crossing the road to get to the other side? Smarter deer? Too many hunters? Spring flooding moving deer away? I don’t know. I really don’t. And I don’t make assumptions without good data, so I’m just ending this with two statements I can back up with facts.
- This year’s deer season is just plain weird (yes, I know I already said that).
- There must still deer out there. Something near our stands has consumed 300 pounds or rice bran, 240 pounds of corn and two bags of expensive vanilla flavored Delta Magic pellets. That’s not even counting the two bags of corn tortillas. If somebody did shoot one of them, it should taste good. Note: I have noticed three squirrels and two raccoons that are so big they can hardly walk, though.
It’s not over till it’s over. Gun season in Area 2 is still open until Jan. 15, so I haven’t given up yet. But…
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One parting shot . . .
The internet is just loaded with great deer hunting videos and photos. I was finally able to catch a picture of two giant bucks fighting nose to nose on one of my deer cameras this year.
Here ya go: