Washburn: Blaze orange is a hunter’s best friend

For the Monitor
Published: 10/30/2019 6:08:02 PM
Modified: 10/30/2019 6:07:50 PM

So, can the hunter and non-hunter share the woods during deer season safely? Absolutely! And the wearing of blaze or hunter orange is key to success.

No other color has the visible properties as blaze orange especially in low light conditions which poses the greatest danger to all. The importance of orange at this time is because it illuminates your position and when a hunter attempts a shot at a deer the hunter needs to see what is behind the deer as well as the deer itself. If you are not wearing orange, you are putting yourself at risk regardless of whether or not you are a hunter or a hiker.

Earlier this month, I saw a most amazing sight of 100-plus Canada geese heading south. I have never seen so many geese on the move that early in October. Maybe they know something that we don’t.

It appears that we have competing almanac forecasts for the upcoming winter. One is severe and one is mild. The main factor determining what we get for a winter is the jet stream. The closer the jet stream moves south, the more severe weather we experience.

Reports from the field suggest that the archery deer kill is off so far this year. I can’t speak to that. An archer friend of mine who is a tree stand hunter filed his archery deer tags with two mature bucks from stands in two different towns. As to the rest, I suspect the warm temperatures have turned the deer herd nocturnal to avoid the heat. Bare in mind that deer have their winter coats and when the temperature gets above the normal range, they have no choice but to bed down.

I did get to scout a favorite deer spot and located fresh runways and fresh droppings. In this one area, there were phenomenal acorns. I suspect I will be encountering more areas with great acorn activity. With a WMU bonus antlerless deer permit I will be hunting in WMU L most of the 10-day muzzle loading season. One of the observations I made was the wood tick problem continues to be extreme. I don’t think we’ve had a killing frost yet so mosquitoes are still a problem as well.

Saturday marks the opening day of muzzle loader season, and it should be a perfect opener. The wind and rain have knocked down many leaves. The rain has softened the wood so you can get to your ground and tree stand without alerting the whole neighborhood to your arrival.

The regular firearms deer season is scheduled to open on the second Wednesday in November. What that means for November this year is that the one of the keys to successful deer hunting is the rut.

In early November the rut is ascending in intensity. By mid-November the rut has peaked. The interest bucks have is exclusively breeding and not feeding, but they are in near constant movement hoping to connect. Those deer warning signs you see on highways is because the highway was built over a deer runway. The bucks stay on the runways without regard to auto traffic and will cross. Most movement will be at dusk and dawn but it can happen at any time.

The deer herd in my view has never been in as good condition as it is now as well as the overall size of the herd. The one condition that is beyond anybody’s control is weather. Rainy weather is a good thing as it keeps the woods quiet and beats down your scent. Snow is a great thing as it enhances visibility and alters feeding habits. Warm weather from the hunter’s standpoint is not a good thing. If the weather is not favorable to the hunter it could be an average season. Favorable hunter weather could make it another record setter.

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