The people's voice of reason

Deer Season is Finally in Bama

It’s that time again, folks. The weather’s cooler, the air feels more crisp, and football’s on the TV again; it’s time to get back out in the woods and do some deer hunting. Right now, Alabama Bow Season is in full swing, and the deer are moving! Of course, Gun Season’s just a few weeks away as well, so I hope all of you are just as geared up and ready to go as I am!

Naturally, if you’re going out into the woods, you want to be prepared. Any seasoned deer hunting veteran knows that hunting is as much preparation as it is blind luck. Anything and everything you can do to improve your chances before getting into the woods is what will make or break your hunt.

For starters, make sure you’ve got a decent set of camo ready. If you’re in a ladder stand or climber, or you’re stalk hunting on the ground, make sure you’re covered head to toe, with your hunter’s orange nice and visible if you’re moving around. Seriously, don’t forget the orange! Camo patterns break up your body line, making it difficult for deer to identify just what they’re looking at. That being said, keep in mind that deer can see different wavelengths of light than we can; specifically, blue and ultraviolet light. You might be wondering what that has to do with anything, but detergents that advertise brighter colors on clothing tend to up the reflective rate for UV light on clothing, making them appear brighter to us, along the blue part of the spectrum. To a deer, though, you might as well be glowing.

Scent is another defense mechanism for deer. Keep your clothes washed with not only non-UV brightening detergents, but unscented ones as well. Deer aren’t trying to sniff out coyotes or hogs, or even humans specifically. They’re simply trying to be aware of anything that doesn’t fit in. If you’re in a closed stand, it’s not as terribly important, but if you’re bowhunting our out pounding the ground chasing some bucks, scent can mean everything.

Continuing along the line of gear, your weapon is obviously a stand-out point for preparedness. Make sure you’ve sighted in your equipment properly ahead of time, and be sure to get a few practice shots in before you head out into the woods. Due diligence is all about taking the time to do the small, tedious things, and it pays off in dividends when that big buck’s got your heart jumping in your throat. Check your fletchings and broadheads for damage, and make sure your arrow shafts are as straight as the day you bought them. Check for signs of wear on your bow, and make sure you’re sighted in. For guns, regular maintenance is a must. If you take your gun out for shooting, make sure you clean it up right when you get done. The last thing you want is a fouled shot because of gunk and residue in your barrel from lack of maintenance. How often should you clean it? That’s really up to you, but I personally believe in regular maintenance. Besides, it’s some nice Zen time, oiling and cleaning up the old bolt-action.

Never underestimate good footwear and underwear. Ever. It may not be cold right now, but Winter comes all the same, and though we might be in Alabama, it can still get plenty chilly outside at 5 in the morning. A good pair of long johns can make all the difference when keeping your rear from freezing to that metal seat on your ladder stand. As for your feet, you want good, reliable boots. Make sure you wear them a bit before going out, as breaking in boots while hiking up and down the trail is probably not the best day for you or your feet. If it’s chilly, layering up with some extra socks can be the ticket to avoiding cold feet during that long wait before you harvest. Gloves are a good investment as well. Get some with either narrow fingers or removable fingertips for gun hunting, as you want to keep your hands ready for that single moment, without any excess cloth clipping that trigger.

If you’ve done some scouting before the season starts, remember; bucks like to wander. Deer in general respond to pressure pretty easily, changing their habits to whatever the situation calls for. They’ve spent their whole lives avoiding predators, and it’s just another slow Tuesday for them when they hear us walking up. Keep your sign and noise to a minimum in the woods, and the deer won’t play hard-to-get when it’s time to find them. Most importantly in this regard, it’s early in the season, so be patient. If you’re hunting to fill that freezer, then don’t worry. But if you’re chasing that Old Mossy Horns, be prepared to be patient, aggravated, and maybe downright upset. It’s all worth it in the end, but bare with it until then.

One of the more obvious things that folks might sometimes forget is the legal side of things. Keep your license updated and Game Check at the ready. You’ve got 48 hours to report to Game Check on that bagged deer, so make sure you get it done. It’s not just the law, but it’s also helping our state focus on wildlife preservation through accurate data. We’ve still got a wonderful deer population here in Alabama due in large part to efforts like this, so let’s keep it up! If you’re hunting on private property, make sure you’ve spoken to the property owner properly. Take the time to let him or her know what you’re up, when, and where. Like it or not, we all represent hunters everywhere, so we need to ensure we’re setting the bar high for our reputation whenever possible. Besides, it’s just the right thing to do.

Lastly, enjoy the season! Bring some friends or family along. Hunting is a social sport; it relies on the bonds we make with each other through the season, year after year, to keep the sport growing. It gives us all a common link that we can make with each other and allows us to bring more folks into the fold. Hunting is also a great boon to the local economy! All those arrows, bullets, rifles, bows, camo, boots, gas, hotel rooms, and 10 AM breakfast honey buns add up to some serious money changing hands, all helping out local folks.

I hope you all have a wonderful Deer Season this year, and every year after. I’m ready to get back out there and get some more folks their first deer, and maybe take some meat home for the freezer myself. To me, that’s the greatest part of our hunting heritage; we get to share it with those around us. It’s just a gift, but a full blown experience that can result in a lifelong hobby. So get your gear, your ammo, and your camo, and get out there and go get’em!


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