First Snow

First Snow FallThe first snow has fallen. We got about 4 cm overnight. Now, unlike a lot of people I like snow. I’m a winter person–enjoy the season–and I’m a hunter. Snow on the ground means I can easily track animals and determine how long ago they have passed by. So, tomorrow I should be out at my favorite deer hunting spot, west of here, and checking things out. Now, with moose meat in the freezer, the pressure is not intense to fill my deer tag. So, I will be hunting for quality.

The problem with snow this early and the warming climate is that it often doesn’t last long or it becomes crusty as daytime temperatures rise well above freezing. This means the snow will crunch as one walks on it. This alerts wildlife to your passing–not ideal for still hunting but it can be advantageous to stand or blind hunting. This won’t deter me from still hunting, one of my favorite ways to hunt. I will just have to be more careful and employ some stealth techniques to cover the noise I make.

However it falls into place, I will be out hunting and experiencing the wild first hand.

 So, what’s wrong with that?


About Don Meredith

I am a writer and biologist living in Alberta, Canada. I wrote a monthly column for the Alberta Outdoorsmen magazine, and have published articles for several other magazines.
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2 Responses to First Snow

  1. bob stanley says:

    Hey Don –
    We just got our first snowfall back east, and boy am I psyched to go bang a big one tomorrow at the crack of dawn. I’ve seen a small 8 pointer, but I’m holding out for a bit 10 pointer.

    We seem to be having the same problem with snow melt and refreezing into crust because of that damn climate change. How much has it warmed up in your neck of the woods? Just the other day I was stand hunting in 70 F in the middle of November – what gives?

    Hope you get a quality deer this year!
    – Bob

  2. Don Meredith says:

    Hi Bob,

    It’s warmed up quite a bit. I’ve been in this country (central-northern Alberta) for over 30 years and in the past, we would be in the deep freeze by now. However, in these last few years the temperatures in November have hovered regularly above or just below freezing. It can change on a dime, however. Last year I shot a nice mule deer buck on November 20 when the temperature was just below freezing and there was about 6 inches of crusty snow on the ground. On the 21st the temperature plummeted to -20 C (-4 F) and about two feet of snow fell. That stayed through March.

    This year there is no sign of that change yet. Today will be the coldest so far (it’s -12 C, now, going to a high of -4). Tomorrow it will go back to thaw (0 C) and hover there for at least the next five days.

    This morning I’m off to check the skiff of snow that fell yesterday and see what deer activity I can find. Another issue this year is the apparent decrease in deer numbers, perhaps due to the heavy snow we had last winter.

    Good luck with your 10 point (we only count one side here and not the brow tine, so I’m assuming your ten point would be what we would call a four-point–a nice deer). I’ve got one located and hope to run across at least his tracks this morning.

    Have a good one!


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