With the great October fishing going on, it is a good idea not to overlook preparing for he upcoming duck, goose, quail, pheasant, turkey and general deer season. For one reason or the other, some folks including this writer will continue to procrastinate concerning preparing for hunting. There are a good number of things that should be taken care of before much more time slips away.
Deer hunters, for the most part, have already secured a place or places to hunt. Should that not be the case, then I’d recommend taking care of it now. That old saying, “The early bird gets the worm,” is also the case with hunting leases. Having the better choices for open dates on day hunts, week hunts, or even openings with outfitters is best with early bookings. That doesn’t mean that you must go on the hunt early. Many of us prefer to hold off until the weather gets cooler. In south Texas and Mississippi where the big deer roam, the better time to plan a hunt would be after Christmas. That’s when the bucks are following the does. Wait until after Jan. 1 and it’s even better.
In the Texas Hill Country and in the East Texas Piney Woods, if you plan to hunt during the rut you should be afield as soon after the opening of the season as possible. In fact, in some places in East Texas, the rut begins during archery season in October.
I hunted in East Texas for lots of years and I have found that after the middle of November, it is difficult to see a deer, buck or doe. There are many of the properties that have been entered into one of the state’s management programs. These state controlled forests will usually be allotted special doe or antlerless tags that will not be part of your regular hunting license tag group. In such cases, only the LAMPS, MLD, or U.S. Forest Service permits will be required. Antlerless deer may be taken without the special permit from Nov. 5 through Nov. 28 in most East Texas counties. Be sure to check your county of choice for the regulations before heading out. In all of East Texas, the eastern wild turkeys are illegal during the fall hunting season. There are good numbers of them in parts of East Texas, and it is likely that deer hunters will see some of them. Do not shoot one.
I’ve noticed that in the Hill Country that after the primary rut in late October and early November, there seems to be another one in December. Each year when I make my annual Hill Country trek in December, there are bucks following does. No, it is not nearly as intense as earlier, but it’s still happening. That situation tells me that I should always be alert when there are some does around. There could be one of the outsize bucks close by. I do recommend taking does where it is permitted and if the landowner desires that you do so. This season, all of the biologists with whom I have spoken recommend taking the allotted number of antlerless deer. There will be less for the deer to eat this year because of the drought. By removing more antlerless deer that are usually overpopulated anyway, there will be more food remain for the others.
Should you have been rebuilding your deer stand due to the recent forest fires, you’ll notice some greenery already returning. Some of the stands were completely destroyed while others were burned off these metal frames. It would be prudent to get your stand back in place and your food plot planted. By doing that, the animals will get more accustomed to the changes. I realize that the food plot seeds seem to become dormant during the drought, but it only takes a little shower to cause the greenery to return quickly.
There is possible also, even during a drought, that some brush or a tree has grown a limb or limbs that obstruct the shooting lanes. These need to be removed.It is past time to complete your plans for Nov. 5 or later deer hunt dates.Tune in to KSET 1300 at 6 p.m. on Thursdays for Halfin Outdoors and listen for daily updates at 7:25 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6:25 p.m.