Deer Season A Wrap
Dr. John Woods 02.23.16
As much as I hate to admit it, the white-tailed deer hunting season is all but over. Deer pundits like me now try to line up all the excuses as to why the season was not particularly successful, or weird or whatever. Maybe you have your list, too.
All along the Mississippi River, the deer hunting season was halted at least in the State of Mississippi because the flood waters pushed the deer out of their native habitat. I have reports of one landowner counting 700 deer standing on a river levee without anywhere to go. Now I have reports that bucks have all dropped their antlers months early due to the stress put on them by being flooded out of their home ranges.
Naturally this ruined the deer hunting behind the river levees where some of the biggest whitetails in the country reside. The action by the state wildlife agency closed all the deer hunting clubs along the river basically from Memphis to south of Natchez.
Some really nice bucks were taken in the state and other states reported some good bucks harvested, but over all the numbers of deer taken were down by almost all reports. Hunters here are saying that deer sightings and observations were down and fewer does were taken as well.
On our club along the Big Black River, while we never flooded, the property itself was very wet with standing water everywhere. When freezing cold weather finally hit, these areas all froze up. Here in the south despite what some hunters say, deer do not particularly like really cold temperatures. Deer tend to huddle up in thick cover, only moving when necessary. This is why fewer deer were seen.
There really was no overt rut at our camp. I did see one small buck chasing a doe, but there are so many antlerless deer coming into estrus at the same time that the bucks really don’t have to chase. This skews the dynamics of a classic rut.
During the season here, I counted seeing probably 25 or so bucks from spikes to small 8-pointers not big enough to take. I hope this spells well for years down the road. A couple of bucks were missed by hunters. I think the final tally on does was nine. I took three myself. So, maybe it wasn’t such a bad season after all.