Tuesday, October 19, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Blaze Orange Turkey Hunting & The World's Fastest Deer Hunt

I’ve had this past weekend marked on the calendar for a long time. It would be an opportunity to hunt the fall turkey season, shoot a deer during the antlerless season, and get our cabin ready for the traditional gun deer season and the upcoming winter. The plan would be to hunt turkeys in the morning and hunt deer in the evenings. It was too warm for a deer to hang during the day. An evening shoot would provide an overnight cooling period before butchering the animal the following day. The problem was one member of our group couldn’t make it to camp the first evening so we decided to hunt turkeys that afternoon.

We headed out to an area that we know holds fall turkeys. Sure enough as we approached, 15 birds evacuated the area. No problem. We’ll wait for them to come back. Of course, it never happened. But we saw some deer and decided to call it a night early so our turkeys could make it back to their roost without being pestered.


The following morning, two guys set up in a feeding area and two of us were on a known turkey trail. I’ve killed turkeys in this spot before and have seen several flocks use this route to go from the roost to the feeding areas. It took a while but I finally saw some turkeys hopping out of the trees around 7:30 AM. They purred a bit after they jumped down. But instead of making their way to us, they went the other way. You see, we were wearing blaze orange.

I had never turkey hunted during the weekend of the antlerless deer hunt. After inspecting the regulations, it was discovered that blaze orange was required. Deer are essentially color blind and look for movement or odd shapes to elude predators. Turkeys on the other hand can see color just fine. They see everything two dimensionally, so depth of field is not a strong point. But color and detail they get. So needless to say, our turkey hunts were total washouts. We tried to work the terrain and jump shoot but they never presented a responsible shot. Turkeys escape from predators 365 days a year. Us modern day humans act as predators for maybe 30 days a year. That’s all you need to know about our blaze orange turkey hunt.

We had two antlerless deer tags to fill. In Southwest Wisconsin, you have to shoot an antlerless deer before you can shoot a buck. Deer densities are high and the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease is real. The Wisconsin DNR holds an antlerless only gun deer season in October so hunters can fulfill their antlerless requirement before opening day of the traditional gun deer season.


We closed the cattle gate behind the cabin and started walking to our intended stand around 3:30 PM. The hike was a short one. Less than 50 yards past the gate, a deer fed on berries in a clearing. We went to our knees and made the shot. This hunt didn’t last more than five minutes. The deer piled up ten yards into the woods. It was the fastest deer hunt I have ever been a part of. For more, check out the link.

After the deer was field dressed and hanging in the cool garage, we headed deeper into the woods toward our intended stand site. There are deer lurking behind every ridge in this area and you have to walk slow and watch for movement. We found our spot and hunkered down behind a fallen tree. We spotted a deer almost immediately, but she never offered a clean shot. The woods is thick with timber and vegetation and wounding a deer was not part of the game plan. We let her walk and waited for more. But no more deer arrived. The corn surrounding our little patch of deer hunter’s heaven is still standing. That standing corn provides plenty of cover and food. Daytime temperatures were warm and deer just weren’t ready to move yet. But we’ve got some venison in our bellies and in the freezer. I’ll call it a great weekend!

I’ll post an updated outdoor report later this week.

-Chris

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