Analyzing a Busted Deer Hunting Season
Dr. John Woods 01.28.20
Lessons learned the hard way are seldom forgotten. Like getting blown off a levee top in a wind storm while riding a motorcycle, or backing your mom’s car down a gumbo mud farm road trying to reach the squirrel woods. Neither of those life events turned out well. But in the process, sometimes you can learn better what to do or not next time.
For the second deer hunting season in a row, my Central Mississippi camp crew has been flooded off our 600 acre hunting property nearly all season long. That is heartbreaking after spending nearly $3000 on food plots and buying and setting up three new Dixie Deer Blind shooting houses for nearly $5000. Next, removing a dozen downed big oaks from plots and trails after another summer tornado hit our timber resources, again. Then, there’s the usual camp work and annual preparations to little or no avail.
The floodwaters from the nearby Big Black River not only covered many of our 20 plus plots, but most of the roads and trails with two feet of murky water including the camp yard. The water not only drowned most of the food plot seeds, but what few plants sprouted early were hit by a heavy early frost. Some replanting along edges with hand thrown seed was hit by rains and frosts a second time. Sometimes you just can’t seem to win for losing. Insult to injury: I lost two trail cameras to the flood as well.
Opening weekend was pretty decent, but unseasonably warm for late November. I counted maybe eleven deer that weekend, but no shots were taken. Bucks were too small, and I refrain from shooting mama does with young ones nearby. I enjoyed the observations though, which was good fodder for the camera. After that, there was no hunting until the final weekend.
So, what are the lessons to be learned? How do you recover at least mentally from a hunting season that was a virtual bust? Hunting has always been based on optimism, hope, and blind ambition for a good season. There were so many variables that can ruin it, one might as well start off with a good attitude. You know, boot straps and all.
Afterwards, there is always the old moniker, “Well, there’s always next year.” And so there is. Lick your wounds, toast the reality that “It’s just part of the experience,” and start with fresh dreams of another season ahead. As somebody recently told me, “Remember, Mother Nature always bats last.” I’d just like to strike her out for once.