In a year with more than its share of unusual climatic and environmental events, late-season deer hunting is going to require alternative strategies.
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While the debate rages on in scientific and political circles as to the existence of global warming, and perhaps more important, its causes and solutions, most deer hunters and wildlife biologists agree that they’ve observed more weather-related and environmental extremes in recent years.
Last winter saw relatively mild weather across much of the country, with snow absent in some places where it’s common, lake ice failing to form thick enough for icefishing tournaments across the North, and, even more concerning, insufficient cold to kill off a slate of insects, including disease-carrying ticks, mosquitoes, and flies. An early spring followed, with trees budding from the South to the North a month to two earlier than usual, despite an odd cold blitz that zipped across the eastern half of the country in May. And summer months saw record or near-record heat and drought levels across all of the Midwest.
The impact on whitetails across their range is still being measured, but failed crops, fewer available water sources, epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreaks in a number of states this summer, predator impacts, and wildfires erupting across parts of Texas and other whitetail zones out West are all affecting how deer live and grow. And if you don’t think it will affect the way you have to hunt whitetails in the final weeks of the season, think again.
But all hope is not lost. Plenty of big bucks will hit the ground this late season. In order to put you in the hero shot with a wall-hanger you have to be willing to adjust to the conditions.