Monday, November 10, 2014
The Orange Invasion
It's that time of year again. Every year we hunt the first two months of the Minnesota bow season with the knowledge that the first week in November our tranquil woods will be invaded by a swarm of orange. I want to preface this post by saying for years I was part of this swarm. The things I am about to talk about I lived, and therefore know full well the thought process behind them. You can read about it in my last post here. If that disclaimer isnt enough and you still get offended, bummer, move on.
Lets look at some statistics, In 2013 roughly 173,000 deer were killed by hunters in Minnesota. An estimated $400 million dollars is spent annually by hunters. 60-70 percent of MN firearms harvest typically occurs in the first 4 days of the season. Only 30-35 percent of firearm hunters typically shoot a deer in any given year. An estimated 475,000 hunters hit the woods every year.
With all of that going on, most of it in the span of 4 days, you can see why we do not look forward to the opening day of rifle season. There are also some personal observations. Many rifle hunters do not appreciate any kind of scent control. Spraying yourself down with no scent spray is not scent control. Like the title picture, people wear their hunting suits into restaurants, gas stations, and as night out on the town clothes after hunting all day. The next day they head right back out into the timber with their smelly gear. This leads to deer being very skittish and jumpy in the woods. I have seen deer step on a stick themselves and take off running from fear. I like to have deer nice and close for my shots, that way I can assure a clean humane kill. This is not from needing them close as I am proficient with my rifle out to 300 yards. It is just what makes sense. Getting them in nice and close becomes a lot harder with 475,000 stinky pumpkins in the woods. The orange army also seem to use a "brown is down" philosophy. They spend 5 days in the woods on average, so are willing to shoot the first thing that walks past them in order to claim a win. In years past when we have been allowed to purchase multiple tags, I have listened to many hunters brag about shooting 2-3 does (some would be called fawns in my book) and they do so with bravado like I should be proud of them.
One would almost think I should stay out of the woods during rifle opening weekend, however I just cant. The opportunity to have all of these people pushing deer to me, along with the buck rut that coincides about the same time as the rifle season push me into the stand. This year was no different. While I did see a few deer over the weekend, I did not take a shot. Now its time to bundle up for the cold weather and see if we cant put a buck down still this season. As I write this we are getting 6-10" of snow, so the next few weeks should be interesting at best.
****A little update for you, the MN DNR has reported a recorded harvest of 54,000 deer in the first three days of the season, which is down 30,000 from 2013.