This truly is a great time to be out in the deer woods. Tending to the deer cameras…checking and resetting the trail timers. Looking for previously undiscovered rubs…and of course, being ever vigilant to discover the sudden appearance of a new scrape. No doubt about it there’s lots going on out in the woods these days…and it requires a keen eye with often a detective-like perseverance to unlock the mysteries waiting to be discovered with the deer in the woods during these cooler nights.
I live and hunt in a heavily agriculture area so the deer are very adept at existing in the cornfields until they slowly disappear from the landscape. And, of course, that activity of combining corn is happening now at a feverish pace for most farmers here in the upper Midwest. Yesterday when I pulled up to talk to my neighbors I no more than got out of my vehicle when I caught a glimpse of two deer dashing through the field in advance of the combine.
When I asked my neighbor if he saw the deer…indeed he did. In fact, he point out to me that there were four does running and not just the two that I witnessed.
Herein lies one of the big strategies that I feel many hunters mistakingly overlook. Talk to the farmers…they have lots of helpful information to share. Oh, sure, get the necessary permission to hunt long before their busy harvest season begins…but that doesn’t mean a farmer won’t take a few minutes to chat with you while they are working. Just be respectful of their time by realizing they are racing the weather to get the crops in before winter arrives.
In this case we chatted for several minutes with the farmers just to get a better idea of what they are seeing. Remember, the guy driving the big combine sits up high and can look down the rows of corn covering quite some distance. As they maneuver back and forth removing rows from the fields they get a pretty good idea just what is holding up in those fields. You’d be surprised how a field that once was 80 acres or more will be reduced to just one or two acres before the deer truly get nervous and reluctantly bolt from the field to new cover.
Farmers see all of this. Watching the wildlife helps break up some of the monotony of the hours upon hours of doing the same old thing traversing back and forth in the field. I’d be surprised if a farmer who has picked a corn field hasn’t become quite familiar with how the deer generally like to escape to safety. Knowledge that might be good for the hunter to know a few weeks from now.
When a crack detective tries to unravel the mystery of a challenging case more often than not they must resort to conducting interviews to get the entire story straight. Same goes for deer hunting. Why keep guessing on how the deer will likely react when you can spend a few minutes talking to the people who likely have seen it happen with their own eyes.
If you approach a farmer on the combine be prepared to hear he doesn’t have time to talk right now. Accept that…he’s likely telling you the truth. But if that farmer is willing to share some of his first-hand knowledge of the deer behavior in these parts it could turn out to be great advice. The information you can discover in just five minutes of talking with most farmers could prove to someday be vital to your future success as a deer hunter. Not only does the farmer likely hold the key to your access on quality hunting lands…but very well they might also possess the first-hand knowledge that could positively add a few more pieces toward completing this exciting fall whitetail puzzle.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.