It is getting to be the time of year that every deer hunter dreams of, and longs for, all year long. The temperatures are starting to drop and so are the leaves.
The fresh carpet of fallen leaves creates a blanket of color along the forest floor and every footstep sounds like a mossy antlered monarch of the mountain headed your way. Every twig snapping sends your pulse racing in anticipation of that trophy stepping out right in front of you.
It is those precious few weeks when the bucks are chasing does all through the mountains and the scales of fate are tipped ever so slightly in the hunter’s favor. If you have time, now is the time to spend it in the woods.
Ask any deer hunter what his favorite time of year to hunt is and 99% will immediately tell you the month of November. It is truly a magical time to be in the deer woods.
The buck’s drive to breed sometimes overrides their defenses that they depend on to keep them alive and healthy for the rest of the year. It is quite possibly the one chink in the armor of those ancient mountain bucks that get to be the biggest and baddest bucks on the mountain by being the most wary.
It is the month of November when hunters seek to capitalize on that momentary lapse in judgement of the big boys and to be able to get that shot of a lifetime and bring home that bragging size buck. Even though the bucks may let their guard down while courting their sweetheart, they are far from being push-overs.
Hunters have always been known as an opportunistic breed and will always take every advantage they can while in pursuit of their quarry. The November rut with its hormone driven bucks is definitely an advantage to have.
Hormones have been getting boys and girls in trouble since time began. While it is a welcome advantage for hunters, they aren’t the only pitfalls lurking in the wild for rutting bucks.
Those same hormones that get the bucks moving by the hunters also get the bucks moving in some places they have no business being. Just recently one unfortunate buck found himself trapped in downtown Charleston.
A wild whitetail trapped in the city is a dangerous thing. So, too, are the many deer that can be seen standing or traveling along the edge of the highway as we travel by in our automobiles at a high rate of speed. Deer and cars don’t mix!
In the deer woods a buck chasing a doe is a great show to watch, but along the roadway it often leads to tragedy. Not only do you have to watch out for the deer you can see, you have to be ready for the ones you don’t see that may come sprinting out of the woods and into the path of oncoming traffic at any time.
As the rut heats up, those generally calm and predictable deer become very different animals. As the bucks start chasing does in earnest, the doe get fidgety and are likely to dart away at the sight of a buck coming their way.
On our twisty and turning highways, that is a tall order to say the least. As a hunter, the best way I can find to avoid hitting a deer with my car is to spend more time in the woods.
If I am hunting and not driving, it definitely makes my odds better for both my success as a hunter and the chance I will ding my car up by hitting a deer. Sounds like the perfect win-win situation to me. Now, if I can only sell my boss and my wife on the idea, I will have it made.
Regardless of how much time you spend out hunting for that trophy buck, or driving up and down the highway, November is a special time of year that comes with some great action in the deer woods and way too much carnage on the roadway. No matter which one you do more, be sure to keep your eyes out and be alert.
It might prevent a deer car collision on the highway or it might allow you to put your deer tag on that buck of a lifetime.
Roger Wolfe writes about the outdoors for Civitas Media newspapers.
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