November 19, 2020
When I checked the Game and Fish website it stated we have an excellent outlook for deer season this year. The Muzzle loading season has past but there is still time left for the modern gun season. The frosty temperatures put enough chill in the air to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay, and conditions are perfect for some great fellowship by the campfire at deer camp. I was living in Utah when I heard this joke for the first time. Question: “How many Mormons (insert Baptist, etc.) do you take with you when you go deer hunting? Answer: “At least two. Otherwise they drink all your beer.” While I have always wondered about the practice of mixing guns and alcohol, it seems to be the norm. The sign on the marquee of one of our local stores reads, “Free ice with every case of Beer.”
According to the International Hunter Education Association, in an average year, fewer than 1,000 people in the United States and Canada are accidentally shot by hunters, and of these, fewer than 75 are fatalities. In many cases, these fatalities are self-inflicted by hunters who trip, fall, or have other accidents that cause them to shoot themselves with their own weapons. Most of the other fatalities come in hunting parties, where one hunter shoots another accidentally. I remember during George W’s presidency that Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot one of his fellow Quail hunters. Apparently, there was “a little” alcohol involved.
Hunter activity dwindles as the season wears on, but veteran hunters know the best time to catch a trophy buck’s guard down is still right around the corner. The normally wary bucks seem to lose may their edge as the peak of breeding season comes and they focus more on finding does than avoiding danger. Breeding season in Arkansas, or the Rut, comes in a brief window between October and December. While some females may be receptive to breeding earlier or later, the peak of this “rutting” activity occurs in mid- to late November. The dates differ across the state, and even more across the nation. This is caused by the local weather.
Thoughts: I had a friend in Utah who recounted a recent trip with friends around the hunting campfire. He got up early the next morning and slogged his way up the side of a steep ridge. When he reached the top, there was a hunter intently watching the open spaces below. He asked if he had seen any deer. The response was, “No, but I have gotten a couple of sound shots.” That was the last time my friend accompanied the hunt. I noticed my buck and doe statues on the hill I commented on previously have moved back together, leaving the fawn to fend for itself. This is another obvious sign of the Rut. Stay safe. Change is coming and it starts with you.