There are a number of natural and manmade circumstances that can arise and ruin a morning of hunting, or even shut down the remainder of the deer season. So what might show up unexpectedly?
First, consider predators. I was reminded of this after a ruined hunt recently. Whitetails were moving around in standing corn, and one doe suddenly ran out of the corn after being pestered by a pre-rut buck. Just when I figured I was going to be sitting pretty with a buck in my sights soon, the entire area exploded. A pack of adolescent coyotes jumped on the opportunity and started chasing the doe. Within seconds the entire area was cleared of deer, leaving me alone for the rest of the morning. Coyotes, wild dogs, bears, mountain lions and other predators can all appear on the scene and ruin a hunt. Fortunately, most predators quickly move on and deer movement returns to normal.
Second, another predator might appear that could ruin your day: hunters. Unless you own or a lease a property, you don’t have control over who walks under your treestand. And even if you do own your own land, trespassers could still stroll by uninvited and disrupt your hunt. Like the native predators, hunters can ruin a day of hunting by bumping deer, but within a few hours the woodlands should return to normal, provided no one else wanders through. When hunting on busy property, be sure to hunt remote and rugged areas to deter others from visiting your site. For deeded land, be sure to post it so trespassers won’t miss the unwelcome signs.
Lastly, be on the lookout for human activity, especially farming. Some farming could actually be helpful such as stripping a cornfield or opening up the end rows. Even the complete harvest of a soybean field can invite deer to roam the field to glean the leftovers. Of course, taking down a complete cornfield might cause deer to pack their bags and move to better sanctuary. I’m hunting standing corn as I type this blog, keeping my fingers crossed that the combines stay away until after my deer hunt. Another ranching activity to be on the alert for is cattle movement. Fall means weaning and moving herds to winter pastures. One day your coulee is cattle-free and the next you might see more bovine than a busy Burger King sees in a year.
The whitetail rut is heating up, but that doesn’t mean you won’t run into a roadblock. Be ready with a plan B in case something unexpected ruins your day.