It’s the end of August, but my lawn is growing as fast as it was in early June. Grass in these parts ought to be dry and crunchy by this time of year, but instead, it and pretty much every other piece of area greenery is thick and lush. I haven’t seen a wetter, cooler summer, and it seems especially foreign compared to the droughts of 2011 and 2012.
In many ways, the conditions have me especially excited for a new deer season in the Mid-South. My food plots have never looked better. Row-crop farmers are counting on big yields, and the woods are full of browse. It’s hard to get a handle on the mast just yet, but judging from what I’ve seen while squirrel hunting this past week, there are plenty of acorns on the trees.
Reports of EHD have been few and far between, and that’s a welcomed change. I’ve been running trail cameras since late June, and does with twin fawns seem especially abundant this year, The summer – which kills far and away more southern deer than any winter – has been easy. And bucks, like the one in this trail camera video I pulled the other day, are looking fat and happy.
Of course, all that food and water can make the actual hunting difficult. I’ve killed deer over water holes in the early season, but that strategy will be a lost cause this wet year. And although the fields are full of food, so are the woods. The majority of a deer’s diet still consists of mast and browse, and when they’re feeding on that stuff, it’s tougher to see them.
What will the rut bring in 2013? It’s impossible to say right now. Bucks should be in prime fighting weight, though. Hopefully this trend of cool weather will continue. Prior to that, I’m predicting a tougher-than-normal early season. Kentucky hunters took to the woods September 1 last year, but we open a full week later this year. The odds of killing a velvet buck (my wife, Michelle, lucky little scamp that she is, has gotten one the past two years in a row) are much smaller this time around. Moreover, as soon as that velvet is shed, the patterns tend to change.
But there’s plenty of time to worry about all this. A brand new deer season is just days away. Your only real worries should be making freezer space and tuning your broadheads.
Key Upcoming Mid-South Dates:
Kentucky bow opener: September 7
Tennessee bow opener: September 28
North Carolina Bow Openers: September 7 (Eastern, Central, Northwestern Zones); September 9 (Western Zone)