Opening Days

Move slow, carefully and using your senses are keys to a productive hunt.

Moving slow, carefully and using your senses are keys to a productive hunt.

The first week of the deer season (November 1 to 30) has passed here in central Alberta, and I’ve enjoyed four of those days trying to figure out what is going on. Two of my  hunting buddies drove out to spend those days with me, and we had a pleasant if not productive time. You see, the early days of the season are what I consider to be the pre-rut. The bucks are rubbing their antlers on vegetation, scraping the ground and otherwise letting everyone know they are ready. However, the does have yet to come into season (estrus) and are generally ignoring the guys. They usually come into season sometime around the middle of the month.

During the pre-rut, I try to find where the bucks and does are active and perhaps ambush one. Good tracking conditions are an advantage and this year they could not have been worse. The bush is dry, the ground hard, and damp places, where an animal might leave a fresh track, few. The result was we saw little sign and fewer deer, and moving through the bush was like walking on popcorn. Of course, some snow on the ground is always helpful but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of that for at least the next week.

What I did accomplish was find some areas I will want to visit later, areas where bucks have been active and does have congregated. Of course, when the does are ready, the game will be on and deer will appear at any place and time. That’s when I’m hoping there will be snow on the ground; but regardless, I will be out there looking for an opportunity, testing my skills and learning more about the process, the animals and yes,  myself.

So, what’s wrong with that? (book sale!)


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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