Well the clock says it all. Deer season, bow season specifically, opens Saturday morning. I have the countdown clock above set for 7 o’clock Saturday morning. With the beginning of the season I would like to take a minute to say a few things.
What our camp needs most is “A Good Year”. A lot has happened in the past year and most of it is a result of “not so great” years in the past. We have a new set of bylaws. We have new leadership and our participating membership looks quite a bit different. The bar has been set high for this year. So far we seem to have transitioned pretty well. I know our camp preparation is not what it has been in the past, but at the same time, an enormous amount of work has been done which says a lot about the future.
Let’s talk about the future. It belongs to the camp membership as a whole and how we perform. We need to be “self-policing”, in fact, that is a responsibility that has directly been placed on us by our biologist. Our bylaws include general rules and QDM. We can certainly interpret the general rules as we need to and I already am aware of some adjustments that need to be made; however, when it comes to our QDM and rules that relate to our contract, we need to be strict to accomplish a “Good Year” as it relates to ATCO and their policies.
First, let me remind everyone that NO BAITING OF ANY KIND IS ALLOWED. I say that knowing that every single person in the camp knows better. BUT, just in case, like John Kennedy said when he told the military to stand down a second time during the Cuban Missile Crisis “there’s always some poor SOB that doesn’t get the word”. Don’t be that person.
We are a “still” hunting camp now and many of our members prefer to hunt food plots. That is all well and good, but I would like to warn everyone that food plots are “nurseries” for the deer, especially this time of year. The following best practices are recommended all year, not just early season.
- Young button bucks that have been forced away from the family unit will find the food plots a delicious treat and with their limited experience and in their lone bachelor lifestyle, will see little reason to avoid them. BEWARE THE LONE DOE ENTERING A FOOD PLOT. You must examine any doe carefully. Does have a rounded head as opposed to the flattened look of a young button buck or young spike. With the added time that still hunting provides, you can and should be able to determine if a deer is a buck without horns.
- Insure does are of a mature size, small deer can be button bucks.
- In my experience, young deer often have a kind of fuzzy appearance.
- Beware of relying on a scope to examine deer. They all tend to look large enough in a scope. My advice is to invest in a small pair of binoculars which can be focused.
- Please avoid taking deer with spotted fawns, this is early season. Spotted fawns can be bucks and they need their mother. To help prevent this, give does enough time to bring their young into the plot with them.
- Regarding buck harvest, please use the advice provided by our biologist:“Most publications list either 15 or 16 inches of width from tip to tip of an alert whitetail deer. Generally, per biologists in our area, a deer measures 14 inches from ear tip to ear tip. A best practice is that if one can see an inch outside the ear on either side one may conclude it is a 16 inch spread. As far as beam lengths go, there are way more variations on what to look for, but generally if the beam extends to the nose it will have 22+ inch beams.Recommended best practice for those that are trying to field judge deer is to wait until you see that that there is NO question about whether it will make the specs or not. If you have to wonder and try to decide and waffle back and forth, then generally that deer is going to be too small.”
Jeff has the scales, extractors and saws and will bring them down Saturday, hopefully, along with his tractor. Marc and Pink brought the generator to the camp last Saturday.
So, good luck on this season. And, let’s stay positive and keep the camp on the right track to a “Good Year”.
With that I am going to post a video of a deer I watched last year and “let walk”.