Hunting deer isn’t easy, and all over the U.S. whitetail deer hunters face challenges unique to their region. And that’s the way it should be; if this were simple it would be no fun and without the challenge this pursuit wouldn’t be so addicting.
I believe there are two primary challenges to hunting deer here in the northeast. The first is hunting pressure. New England is a small geographic area that is maturely developed, and thus there is a small amount of deer habitat and it sees high hunter densities. The second challenge is lack of land to hunt near agriculture and predictable deer feeding areas. Generally speaking, we’re hunting hardwood forest areas where it’s difficult to pattern and predict deer activity.
I’m excited to report that I’ve gained access to bowhunt a promising piece of property that will likely resolve the second challenge – predictable feeding area. Here’s a satellite image:
Over the last few weeks the sunset has been getting later and I’m now commuting home from work while it’s still daylight. Several times now I have witnessed deer feeding in the small field located just above the property outline in this photo. After doing some research and asking a few questions I’ve secured the ability to hunt the property outlined in orange.
This discovery has me pretty excited. This wooded parcel should be a good travel corridor and staging area that the deer will use on their way to and from that field. Soon I will walk the property to begin learning what’s going on and I’ll get a trail camera in there to begin surveying the deer activity.
The biggest question on this property will be the answer to challenge #1…hunter density. I hope I don’t get in there only to find signs that other hunters are already all over it. If I do, it certainly won’t come as a surprise!
This past Friday I was presented with an opportunity to grab a day off from work. What should I do with this gift of time? I decided to do what a lot of people do to recharge their batteries … I’ll make a visit to the spa. The difference, however, is that I set out to visit a spa of a different nature than most. In fact, my spa is nature.
Eager to take advantage of the historic snowfall that we’ve experienced and to try out a new pair of snowshoes I recently purchased, I set out on my mission. The plan was to enjoy some fresh air while hiking and scouting for deer activity. I’ve been concerned about the deer throughout the entirety of this brutal winter and I was eager to see some sign that they are alive and well.
I planned two hikes for the day; the first one got underway at 9:45 am. The weather was crystal clear skies, 15* temperature with a reported windchill of 7*. Perfect weather to throw on a pair of snowshoes and get after it; there certainly was no worry about getting overheated!
I hiked a loop through mostly hardwood forest and encountered some deer sign, but not a lot. Total distance of this hike was 2.1 miles and it took me 1 hour and 11 minutes. For the majority of this hike I was off trail and I found blazing my own trail quite easy with the new snowshoes. It was a beautiful hike.
The second hike began at 11:30 am with a temp of 19* and no wind whatsoever. This hike was far more productive in terms of deer sign. This was a 1.6 mile hike in a new location; total time spent hiking was 1 hour and 4 minutes. This hike was at a much slower pace because I encountered a lot more deer activity. At one point I decided to follow the deer sign and it took me on an adventure through some incredibly thick underbrush. I’m glad I stuck it out and inched my way through it; as a reward for my efforts I discovered a deer bedding area that I was previously unaware of.
I had a great day. I encountered promising deer sign, I found a new deer bedding area and I saw plenty of other wildlife activity including that from coyote and raccoon. It was a perfect say at the spa, one that left a big wide grin on my face!