"Bayou Bill" Scifres
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Deer Season Opens Early For Bowbenders
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

And then the deer season opened.
Thatís right, friends, last Aug. 15 the squirrel season opened what is roughly a 5.5 month run (to Jan. 31), and the first thing we knew, other seasons were popping like popcorn at your hometown cinema.
In retrospect, the deer season for bowbenders is just what it is intended to be--a chance for bow hunters to flex their strings when the firearm people canít get in their way. Hunters of this ilk take about 25,000 deer each year in two special seasons (not counting those for firearms), and thatís not bad. However, they get first crack at the herd, and last crack. It is, however, a chance to get out there if one is willing to part with the 24 simoleons charged for that license.
How will the season go this time around? It is anybodyís guess--the conditions are so variable that it is difficult to call in advance. On the strength of last seasons all-time archery harvest (27,418 deer), it would seem reasonable to expect another all-time high harvest. As noted above, the weather and countless other conditions will figure into it. The early bow season for deer continues through the firearm season, which this year is from Nov. 17 through Dec. 2.
Last seasons--we call them 2006 seasons even though they ran into the current year--bow hunters reported bagging 9,390 antlered deer, and 16,572 antlerless. An antlered deer must have at least one antler that is at least three inches long. Incidentally, it is said that female deer occasionally develop antlers.
Bowbenders, like gun hunters, try their luck far and wide, but as Dr. Jim Mitchell, deer biologist for the state points out, the best place to hunt is close to home, and the best way to do it is to get on a first-name basis with the deer. Scouting, like winning, is not the main thing, it is the only thing.
An important feature of hunting close to home is that the hunter can spend more time in his/her stand, and less time on the road, notwithstanding the storehouse of information stored up on characteristics of the deer to be hunted.


Opinions and observations from around the state add credence to our observations of last week that squirrels were cutting off small white oak limbs to get to the bumper crop of acorns that is being produced this year by trees in some parts of the state:

Don Garrison, Marion area, writes:  I was reading your article in the Sunday Marion Chronicle-Tribune and have observed that same thing. I have a mature white oak that a couple of weeks ago started dropping twigs. Finally curiosity got the best and found that the twigs all had been cut, nuts were gone from them like they cut the twig to get to the nuts and then dropped the twig. This tree is loaded with acorns, most I have ever seen on it, and the ground is covered with nuts and empty caps. Glad someone else has seen this and hope this letter helps you.

Tom Roach, of the Bloomington area, writes: I wanted to let you know what I am seeing in regards to the Oak litter. Here at IU (Bloomington) the same phenomenon you mentioned in your weekly column (Unusual White Oak Litter) is taking place. However, here on campus it is [under] (for the most part) the RED Oaks that I am finding the strange leaf litter.  Incidentally there is a good crop of both Red and White Oak acorns in this area this year. 

Around my home (the hills of eastern Greene County) the White Oak crop is much heavier although the Red Oaks have some acorns as well. From what I have noticed the strange leaf litter is indeed more pronounced around the White Oaks there . . . 

Steve Musgrave, of Ohioís Cincinnati area, writes: I read with interest your recent story about White Oak clippings. We have a large Oak with the same "clippings" and a lot of squirrel activity as well. A couple hundred yards away there is another White Oak. It does not have as many acorns and not as much squirrel activity but, shows no signs of "clippings."

I have wondered myself as to what is doing this and have come to the conclusion by looking at the "clippings" it must be the squirrels. I thought maybe they were biting off the small limbs to allow them to pull in the acorns at the ends of the limbs. They are all small and much too thin for the squirrel to crawl out on. Just my thoughts.


All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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