This week's edition of "Traplines on Cypress Creek" discusses the feast or famine in the deer season this year, as well as shares a success story from one of the state's hunters.
I’ve probably spent more time this year in the woods either preparing to hunt or actually hunting deer than I have in the last 10 or 15. I’ve watched them since fawning in late March and early April up until press time, and I can tell you with some authority that this has been one of the goofiest deer seasons I’ve seen.
I started hunting in earnest during what we felt was the “pre-rut” and I excused the goofiness with the fact that the Delaware mast producers has a bumper crop. I watch scrape lines appear but the moon phases were off. I watched the scrapes go dormant, which would usually signify that bucks were either chasing does or mating, but I found neither. Then I waited dutifully for the first two weeks after the Harvest Moon for the rut to peak, and if it did, then I never saw it.
Still, my shop got in some of the best bucks that I’ve seen in the last few years. To a person, the buck taken was either chasing a doe or following a doe. So that leaves me to fall back on my final excuse: I have buzzards luck.
It does appear that even if everyone isn’t practicing quality deer management, enough of you are to benefit all the others who just luck into the big bruisers. I find it interesting that those who strictly enforce the practice are proud to announce their trophy was a direct result of it.
While I’m on quality deer management, we have a lot of people who’re smug in their belief that it only concerns taking buck deer. Nothing is farther from the truth. Good quality deer management includes the harvest of does but not to the point of excess. Killing juvenile buck deer (or the term “culling” that I despise so badly) simply inhibits the maturity of the breeding herd. Hunters who complain about never killing a big one tend to be those who shoot the spikes and fork horned bucks. That’s a one-way ticket to always having smaller bucks in your hunting area.
If you doubt my perspective on how goofy the season has been, nothing proved it better than a phone call I got from my fellow Hunter Education Instructor, Ralph Willis of Milford on the morning of the opener.
Ralph shares a lease just northwest of Frederica with several friends and the son of one of them had shot a “strange deer” he needed me to come look at. Since I often see strange deer, Connie and I loaded up and headed to Frederica.
When we got there, Ralph took me back into the woods where I found Chip Franklin of Bear dragging his deer out.
There, in all its glory was a sika deer spike buck.
Now please don’t ask me how it got there or where it came from. I’m just as puzzled as you but it does give a good indication how my deer season has gone.