“We’re pretty excited about this first weekend. The cold weather we are experiencing here today along with the crop harvest being a bit ahead of schedule should get deer up and moving around, and that’s what the hunters want,” Harms says.
Harms says the deer numbers should be plentiful. “A lot of folks are concerned about the epizootic hemorrhagic disease outbreak we had last year and what they may’ve done to deer numbers — but our spring spotlight survey from this past spring showed deer populations statewide down only about three percent,” according to Harms. “And so, folks may see some lower deer numbers in areas where we had big disease activity centers last year – but for the most part the population should be about the same as it was last year according to our survey.”
He says all the tree damage left by the August 10th derecho will be a factor in the hunt. “I think it’s going to impact deer behavior. I think it’s going to potentially change the way the hunters in the impacted area hunt those deer. You know, trees being down is going to make things challenging for both hunter and deer movement,” Harms says.
Harms advises you to do some scouting before the hunt. “Get out to the area that you typically hunt — especially if you are in that storm impacted area — and check your tree stands, check the trails that you usually see deer on. Check the trails that you usually walk and know where those downed trees are and how you can avoid them and how the deer are going to avoid them as well,” Harms explains.
Harms reminds hunters to not so excited about getting out that you don’t follow the safety precautions. He says they always encourage hunters to take the time to be safe — especially when you are in tree stands hunting for deer. Harms says you should be sure the tree stand is secure and you are wearing a harness. Let others know where you are going to be and what your hunting plan is going to be. He says sharing your plan is important so you can be found if there is an accident.
An estimated 60,000 hunters are expected for the archery deer season. The first shotgun deer season opens December 5th.