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Hunting season isn't over when opening day ends

November 27, 2005|By Bill Anderson

The numbers from every state show that the opening day of the deer firearms season is the biggest day of the season. Some events, such as a day-long rain, will cause the opening-day kill total to be down, but normally the total will be more than half of the overall kill for the season.

Still, there are plenty of deer left in the field and forests after opening day, leaving you with the task of changing your hunting approach when you find yourself with a tag to fill when the opening day excitement passes.

The most obvious fact to understand is the situation the deer hunter faces after opening day is completely different. A high percentage of the young bucks have been taken out of the population and the ones that are left quickly adjust to hunting pressure. If you are to be successful, you will have to figure out the movements of the deer, and how they have changed their patterns in response to people pressure.

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After several decades of deer hunting, it still amazes me how deer - especially the old bucks - have the ability to find those small areas where people don't look. Every deer hunter has heard the story of the big buck found hiding in some out-of-the-way spot that protected them from hunting pressure.

The hunters who seem to have a knack for finding such spots are the same guys with big antlers on the wall of the den.

In this region, deer will come back into preseason areas after the hunting pressure goes away. The best examples of this are some of the national forest grounds in West Virginia. Nearly all of the nonresident hunting pressure comes in the first three days of the season. By the second week of the firearms season, many of the areas are nearly deserted as most hunters return to their jobs.

In fact, the second week of the firearms season can feature deer movement patterns that are very much like the movement patterns that were in place before the season started. There will be fewer deer, but still plenty of hunting opportunities for the deer that made it through the opening-day barrage.




Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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