Make That One Less Deer For The Fall Hunt

Each weekday morning about 7am you will find me out at the bus stop waiting with my 5–y/o kindergartner to get picked up for school.   I’m discovering it to be an interesting time standing waiting alongside a busy morning highway.   And today was certainly no exception.

The bus had departed maybe ten minutes earlier and I was still standing near the road talking with the neighbor.   The traffic was zipping by with folks in a hurry to get to their jobs for the day.   This included a fast-moving semi truck presumably hauling grain heading northbound.

For some reason my eyes just focused on this semi as it trailed off away from me when suddenly a deer darted directly in front of the semi.   The distance was maybe 200 yards from where I stood and I witnessed the semi swerve and then came a noticeable “thud.”   From even my angle it appeared this deer took it squarely in front of the truck’s grill.   The semi never even slowed down and just kept on trucking down the road.

Moments later another car oblivious to the accident sailed by and I watch as its driver attempted unsuccessfully to swerve and bounced over the debris in the road.

The neighbor and I then slowed additional traffic down to warn them as we ventured down road to discover the eventual carnage.


We quickly removed as much of the deer from the middle of the road as not to cause continued traffic problems.   Let me tell you…the site of this might have been bad but the stench was nearly overwhelming.

Indeed, this deer was crossing the road heading right onto my property when it got schmucked.   Not a pretty sight, but one I have grown accustomed to seeing along this road and in the very spot, nevertheless.

But, I’m not going to whine about one less deer for this fall.   Instead, I want to remind folks it is that time to be careful…and to train your mind NOT TO SWERVE away from a deer when driving.   I know that’s hard to do, but let’s face it a semi truck is not going to evade hitting a deer.   Some of the best drivers in performance cars cannot react that quickly (and safely).   It requires a person to just be mentally prepared and not to overreact.   Why?

Simple, on this same stretch of road maybe 1/4 mile heading in the opposite direction this happened some 35 years ago.


A fawn was standing in the roadway and the semi attempted to avoid it.   Not a good outcome.   The driver had gone over a million miles accident free prior to this incident.   Explain that one to your employer.

So, let this be a reminder…for safety sake do not swerve to avoid deer or you easily can lose control and cause more damage anyway.   Let this also be a reminder that deer are on the move this time of the year and it pays to be vigilant and aware of those areas they are likely to be traveling.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Use Your Smartphone To Plot Sunrise/Sunset Angles

Just a quick blog post about a cool smartphone app I think you’ll want to consider.   Now, keep in mind this app was not designed for the hunter in mind per se, instead it was developed for landscape photogs who need to know precisely when and where the sun rises and sets each day.


But let’s assume this spring you are building some permanent deer stands or blinds and you would like to know what angle the sun will rise and set come October.   This app will help you figure that out…and best of all it will do so showing any date you put in for the calculation overlayed over a real map.

Assume you expect deer to come down a certain trail and you want to avoid being “skylighted” by the horizon.   This app will help you calculate it…not only for today, but also for during hunting season when the sun will present itself at much different angles.

Maybe you’re a hunter trying to position trail cameras but you want to avoid direct sun into the camera lens.   You can stand in the spot of your choosing and it will show you precisely when and where the sun will rise and set.   This can also help you avoid those areas which might produce harsh shadows and poor pictures.

The potential application list goes on and on.   But I think you get the idea.

Much like a landscape photographer who might use this app to get stunning sunrise/sunset photos using nature to their advantage, the hunter can benefit in much the same manner.

I urge you to download THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S EPHEMERIS (for iOS $8.99 / for Android $4.99) to give you this edge and start learning how to use it.   I think you’ll be quite pleased with the results.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Consider These 5 Tasks To Beat The January Doldrums

I completely realize that depending upon where you reside in the country hunting and fishing can be a year-long activity.   But let’s face it…here in the upper Midwest when the cold winds of January begin to blow strong the options for outdoorsy things to do can get somewhat more limited.

Oh, sure, I understand predator hunting is just cranking up.   And yes…I am fully aware that the ice fishing season is just getting going for many anglers.   Likewise, chasing bunnies with beagles or some midwinter trapping also holds possibilities for this time of the year.

Still, there are those winter days when the body yearns for a nice indoor project huddled near the fire.   Here’s a few ideas of things I like to do during some of my idle time in the mid-winter season:

  • Clean and Maintain Guns — I usually spend the better portion of a day going through and tearing down, if necessary, all of my guns for a proper cleaning.   I check things over for worn or missing parts, I use the proper lubricant on all mechanisms, and in general I ensure it will go back into my safe in a rust-fighting condition.   This is also a good time of the year to get those guns needing professional repair in for service.   On the other hand, if guns aren’t your thing this same principle for maintenance holds true for archery gear or for any outdoor investment requiring routine attention.   One final thought…this is also a good time to take a photo inventory of all your equipment for insurance purposes.   I take a picture and include the serial number right on the picture.
  • Start Planning For Next Season — Believe it or not, in the outdoors world there are deadlines to apply for hunts nearly all the time.   Make sure the hunting or fishing activity you want to embark on next season doesn’t have a fast-approaching application deadline.   January is the perfect time to browse those department of fish and game websites to become better acquainted with the rules and the process.
  • Build Some Birdhouses — I’ve found that one of the best ways to foster enthusiasm for conservation with kids is to spend time building bird houses together.   Not only does it help develop certain craftsman skills, but the project can also be quite rewarding when the youth actually sees nature using something they built with their own hands.


    Last year while at a local sports show my daughter tried to convince dad to buy a new boat…she will need to try harder this year as it didn’t happen in 2012.

  • Attend A Sports Show — I know during the upcoming several weeks until spring there is at least a dozen sportsman and outdoor shows I can attend within an hour’s drive of my home.   I’m guessing there’s plenty of opportunities for shows in your area, too.   Check your newspaper’s listings for such upcoming events.
  • Try A New Recipe — C’mon, you have all that wild game in the freezer.   Be bold and make a commitment to try something new.   Whether it be a new chili recipe, a novel new way to prepare a venison roast, or heck…maybe you’ll try to delicately smoke some pheasant breasts.   Now is the time to once and for all attempt that wild game or fish recipe you’ve always wanted to try…but were too busy to mess with at other times during the year.

How about you?   What types of indoor sportsman related activities do you like to engage in during the winter.   I’d like to hear just how many other good ones I missed.   Leave a comment below.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.