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How Is Your Fall Shaping Up?

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September 08, 2009

How Is Your Fall Shaping Up?

By Scott Bestul

This morning, I sent my kids off to school, their first day of 5th grade. That event alone is the most dramatic sign that summer is over and fall has begun...the one transformation I can witness without ever leaving the house.

Out in the woods, autumn’s signs are more subtle, but no less dramatic; sumac and dogwood are showing hints of color. There are white oak acorns falling from a handful of trees. The fields of my farming neighbors, full of soybeans and corn, are slowly morphing to yellow. The last hay crop of 2009 is mostly-harvested as of this past weekend.

The deer have their own way of showing that fall is here, of course. Most of the whitetails I see now have lost their red summer coats and sport the sleek brown hair of fall. I pulled a couple of trail cameras this weekend, one of which was set near an apple tree dropping fruit in a big way (above). Five different bucks stopped in for a candid photo, and two of them had shed their velvet. Those still holding velvet sported fully-formed racks. In the days ahead they’ll join their hard-horned buddies.

Fall is here! The archery season is less than a week away in Wisconsin, a mere 12 days off in my home state of Minnesota. It seems slightly surreal that I’ll be in a tree stand in mere days; while I’m obviously excited about the season opener, I’m a little slack-jawed that yet another summer has whizzed past.

So how are things looking in your neighborhood? Are bucks still packing velvet, or has the transformation begun? When do your earliest deer seasons start?

Comments (19)

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from country road wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

We are still some time away from any real signs of fall here in south Alabama---we're still at the peak of hurricane season, as a matter of fact. I've sprayed herbicide on the weedy food plots in preparation for fall planting in a few weeks and have seen some red oaks and laurel oaks that are loaded with acorns. There looks to be a good crop of persimmons. Maybe BamaCreekBum can chime in and tell me how it looks in his neck of the woods.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

In Ohio the bucks are coming out of velvet. They are still in bachelor groups and sparing for heirarchy. Their relaxed nature makes them easy to spot in the mornings and evenings.

Archery opener is Sept 27. My arm is sore from practicing every day. I have a 150in 10pt with a 6 inch drop tine showing himself about every night.

Keeping my fingers crossed I can get within 15 yards. Shooting a long bow for the first time in years.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from AP wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Archery season opens on Sept 26th here in TN. As if I weren't anxious enough, I found out last week I got drew for a WMA quota hunt that happens the weekend before the opener (Sept 19-21). It hasn't felt that good to open an envelope since I got my college acceptance letter.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from RobinHood wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I had a discussion with fellow hunters this past weekend while on the way to a dove hunt about the need to be observative as an outdoors person, and how well this lends to other aspects of our daily lives. It is too often that these seasonal changes that you talk about, and the phases of the moon, and the day light hours go unnoticed to so many others until they become so obvious that they can't help but notice them. The subtle changes and patterns that we as outdoors people are forced to distinguish and interpret are just another reason to embrace our passion for hunting and fishing.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Carpenter wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Bow season starts the 15th in Missouri and I am so ready. I bought a bow this year and an going to double or triple my time in the field over last year. We didn't get permission to hunt the field I scouted so I'll have to stick to plan B and another lightly scouted spot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It was cold this morning...turned on the heaters for the first time all summer, the smell of burning dust, Fall is here, hunting season is here. My wolf down along with a couple nice Blue Grouse, my buddy took a nice Mule Deer last weekend with his bow, some great whitetail scouted, a possible mountain muley hunt planned, along with Elk.....I will get to the house and yard work sometime in December...it is game time, and in the 1st quarter it looks to be a victorious Season in the great outdoors...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from tourneyking734 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

the deer up in northern maine seem to be doing okay, but I think that's because there is so much greens and there are so few of them compared to normal. But the grouse hunting looks better than ever, and the woodcock hunting is supposed to be great.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

here in NC the deer are shedding there velvet, and leaves are starting to turn on the maple trees. bow season started monday the 7th, i saw 5 does that morning and 4 does and 2 small bucks that evening.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from anjadams wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Season is in full swing in the low country of South Carolina. Lots of nice bucks falling. I had the good fortune of killing a big nine point in full velvet. His pic is on my profile. Longest gun season in the nation August 15th - January 1st. Be sure to bring your THERMACELL!!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Here in NW Montana fall is coming and I can't wait! The bucks are just now shedding their velvet and there are monsters roaming in these woods. It almost froze this morning and almost had to light up the fire place. I love this time of the year!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Early archery in my PA management unit starts on the 19th. I watched a so so 8 with no velvet pass through out back all the holiday weekend with a doe sporting a lame front right leg. It's looking good. They've been drifting between the crabapples 20 yards from the house to the cedars and wood line 90 yards from the house (and 20 yards from my stand) any time the sun wasn't directly overhead and no one was outside. Unfortunately if they come through together while I'm on stand I'd feel obligated to take down the injured doe before the season gets rough and will spook the buck. Would be my first archery buck, but so be it. Let's hope I'm fortunate enough to have to make that decision. The freezer is down to 2lbs of ground venison from December's deer. A doe would be welcome. Though that buck has killed a peach and a pear tree over the last two seasons. Having lived in the city most of my life, I'm happy to have that problem too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Dove season has been a good one with very good shooting. There are deer all over the place and deer season kicks off Sept 22 with early ML and archery starting the same day. My GSH pointer is due to have pups today! She looks like there will be plenty of them.
Word from the farm is there are loads of young pheasants in SW Kansas and it looks like it will be a year to remember for upland hunting. It has been the coolest Aug I can ever remember. About like early Oct the last few years. Here's hoping the cooler weather holds and makes for some great hunting the next few months.
The Speed goat hunt in SD is off as my friend waited too long to apply and the NR permits were all gone. Maybe can get an elk tag in Wyoming for next year.
I expect to start the deer season with a week of vacation. The big ten point on a farm near Miller appears to have survived so day one and maybe day 2 will be spent watching an alfalfa field for him to make an entrance. After that I'm taking Wesley out on the weekend to see if we can get his feet wet with a nice buck or even a fat doe.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Good luck to all! Hope you have your best hunting season ever!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Del

If you are interested in an elk hunt next year, let's chat after the season is over. We have about the closest thing to a sure thing in NW Colorado. Depending on guy's commitments, we may have openings in our group since we hold it to 8 or 9 max. Always lots of tags available and OTC bull tags.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gritz wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I haven't been out in the woods that I hunt in yet. I try not to be out there between April and August because the underbrush is so thick that you are literally swimming through briers. But Turkey season and small game season begin this weekend in Wisconsin and I plan on getting out there for quite a few days of early hunting to do some scouting of my usual deer runs and if I bag a few squirrels and a turkey that is just cream on the top. I am pretty excited about the weather turning cool. For me, anything over sixty five degrees is excess and it wouldn't feel like deer hunting if it wasn't at least below freezing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntingscopes wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Indeed a beautiful time of the year...the time that humans can harmonize with Nature!

The Great State of Georgia offers the avid Hunter a statewide open season from Sept.8 thru January 1.
However, restictions apply to specific Counties and what type of weapons are used. i.e some areas allow BOW HUNTING ONLY from Sept.8 thru Oct.12 and you can not use any other weapon for White-tail.

A great season and a diverse hunting state we live in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I'm excited about getting in the woods, but reality will limit my oppurtunities a bit this year. With two small kids and a wife in Nursing School, i'm Mr. Mom when not at work. I have only checked my trail cam twice finding only a doe and a few raccoon pics and dead batteries respectively. Practice has been limited but i still have time. My Opener isnt until Oct.3. I do have an exciting trip to Ohio to bowhunt the rut planned. I'm hoping i'll be able to enjoy it without the guilt of shirking my duties at home for 8 days!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Still hot hot hot here in AZ. I drew a late November w/t tag. In AZ a tag is good for 7 days in ONE hunt unit, usually only for an antlered deer.

The deer hunting here is simply inferior to the northeast and, so, much more challenging. But I'll take what I can get.

On the ++ side of the column, quail are plentiful this year, and dove season has started well.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

My deer season started back in September and lasts all the way to late January. Hopefully I can put some meat in the freazer this year, unable to do so thus far.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Still hot hot hot here in AZ. I drew a late November w/t tag. In AZ a tag is good for 7 days in ONE hunt unit, usually only for an antlered deer.

The deer hunting here is simply inferior to the northeast and, so, much more challenging. But I'll take what I can get.

On the ++ side of the column, quail are plentiful this year, and dove season has started well.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

In Ohio the bucks are coming out of velvet. They are still in bachelor groups and sparing for heirarchy. Their relaxed nature makes them easy to spot in the mornings and evenings.

Archery opener is Sept 27. My arm is sore from practicing every day. I have a 150in 10pt with a 6 inch drop tine showing himself about every night.

Keeping my fingers crossed I can get within 15 yards. Shooting a long bow for the first time in years.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from AP wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Archery season opens on Sept 26th here in TN. As if I weren't anxious enough, I found out last week I got drew for a WMA quota hunt that happens the weekend before the opener (Sept 19-21). It hasn't felt that good to open an envelope since I got my college acceptance letter.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from RobinHood wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I had a discussion with fellow hunters this past weekend while on the way to a dove hunt about the need to be observative as an outdoors person, and how well this lends to other aspects of our daily lives. It is too often that these seasonal changes that you talk about, and the phases of the moon, and the day light hours go unnoticed to so many others until they become so obvious that they can't help but notice them. The subtle changes and patterns that we as outdoors people are forced to distinguish and interpret are just another reason to embrace our passion for hunting and fishing.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from idahooutdoors wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It was cold this morning...turned on the heaters for the first time all summer, the smell of burning dust, Fall is here, hunting season is here. My wolf down along with a couple nice Blue Grouse, my buddy took a nice Mule Deer last weekend with his bow, some great whitetail scouted, a possible mountain muley hunt planned, along with Elk.....I will get to the house and yard work sometime in December...it is game time, and in the 1st quarter it looks to be a victorious Season in the great outdoors...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

We are still some time away from any real signs of fall here in south Alabama---we're still at the peak of hurricane season, as a matter of fact. I've sprayed herbicide on the weedy food plots in preparation for fall planting in a few weeks and have seen some red oaks and laurel oaks that are loaded with acorns. There looks to be a good crop of persimmons. Maybe BamaCreekBum can chime in and tell me how it looks in his neck of the woods.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Carpenter wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Bow season starts the 15th in Missouri and I am so ready. I bought a bow this year and an going to double or triple my time in the field over last year. We didn't get permission to hunt the field I scouted so I'll have to stick to plan B and another lightly scouted spot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from kolbster wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

here in NC the deer are shedding there velvet, and leaves are starting to turn on the maple trees. bow season started monday the 7th, i saw 5 does that morning and 4 does and 2 small bucks that evening.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from anjadams wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Season is in full swing in the low country of South Carolina. Lots of nice bucks falling. I had the good fortune of killing a big nine point in full velvet. His pic is on my profile. Longest gun season in the nation August 15th - January 1st. Be sure to bring your THERMACELL!!!!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tourneyking734 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

the deer up in northern maine seem to be doing okay, but I think that's because there is so much greens and there are so few of them compared to normal. But the grouse hunting looks better than ever, and the woodcock hunting is supposed to be great.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Here in NW Montana fall is coming and I can't wait! The bucks are just now shedding their velvet and there are monsters roaming in these woods. It almost froze this morning and almost had to light up the fire place. I love this time of the year!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jcarlin wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Early archery in my PA management unit starts on the 19th. I watched a so so 8 with no velvet pass through out back all the holiday weekend with a doe sporting a lame front right leg. It's looking good. They've been drifting between the crabapples 20 yards from the house to the cedars and wood line 90 yards from the house (and 20 yards from my stand) any time the sun wasn't directly overhead and no one was outside. Unfortunately if they come through together while I'm on stand I'd feel obligated to take down the injured doe before the season gets rough and will spook the buck. Would be my first archery buck, but so be it. Let's hope I'm fortunate enough to have to make that decision. The freezer is down to 2lbs of ground venison from December's deer. A doe would be welcome. Though that buck has killed a peach and a pear tree over the last two seasons. Having lived in the city most of my life, I'm happy to have that problem too.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Dove season has been a good one with very good shooting. There are deer all over the place and deer season kicks off Sept 22 with early ML and archery starting the same day. My GSH pointer is due to have pups today! She looks like there will be plenty of them.
Word from the farm is there are loads of young pheasants in SW Kansas and it looks like it will be a year to remember for upland hunting. It has been the coolest Aug I can ever remember. About like early Oct the last few years. Here's hoping the cooler weather holds and makes for some great hunting the next few months.
The Speed goat hunt in SD is off as my friend waited too long to apply and the NR permits were all gone. Maybe can get an elk tag in Wyoming for next year.
I expect to start the deer season with a week of vacation. The big ten point on a farm near Miller appears to have survived so day one and maybe day 2 will be spent watching an alfalfa field for him to make an entrance. After that I'm taking Wesley out on the weekend to see if we can get his feet wet with a nice buck or even a fat doe.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Good luck to all! Hope you have your best hunting season ever!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Del

If you are interested in an elk hunt next year, let's chat after the season is over. We have about the closest thing to a sure thing in NW Colorado. Depending on guy's commitments, we may have openings in our group since we hold it to 8 or 9 max. Always lots of tags available and OTC bull tags.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gritz wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I haven't been out in the woods that I hunt in yet. I try not to be out there between April and August because the underbrush is so thick that you are literally swimming through briers. But Turkey season and small game season begin this weekend in Wisconsin and I plan on getting out there for quite a few days of early hunting to do some scouting of my usual deer runs and if I bag a few squirrels and a turkey that is just cream on the top. I am pretty excited about the weather turning cool. For me, anything over sixty five degrees is excess and it wouldn't feel like deer hunting if it wasn't at least below freezing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntingscopes wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Indeed a beautiful time of the year...the time that humans can harmonize with Nature!

The Great State of Georgia offers the avid Hunter a statewide open season from Sept.8 thru January 1.
However, restictions apply to specific Counties and what type of weapons are used. i.e some areas allow BOW HUNTING ONLY from Sept.8 thru Oct.12 and you can not use any other weapon for White-tail.

A great season and a diverse hunting state we live in.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I'm excited about getting in the woods, but reality will limit my oppurtunities a bit this year. With two small kids and a wife in Nursing School, i'm Mr. Mom when not at work. I have only checked my trail cam twice finding only a doe and a few raccoon pics and dead batteries respectively. Practice has been limited but i still have time. My Opener isnt until Oct.3. I do have an exciting trip to Ohio to bowhunt the rut planned. I'm hoping i'll be able to enjoy it without the guilt of shirking my duties at home for 8 days!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

My deer season started back in September and lasts all the way to late January. Hopefully I can put some meat in the freazer this year, unable to do so thus far.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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