Wisdom From The Woods (11/13/2014)

Nov 16, 2014

PHOTO: The picture is of Paul Woods with a large 8-point buck killed a few years ago in Ozark County near Gainesville.

Probably the most popular hunting season in Missouri begins early Saturday morning as the 2014 firearms deer season begins. Legal shooting is supposed to start at 6:30 a.m., but most years that I have hunted there are several shots fired at deer a lot earlier than the legal start time.

Hopefully, all hunters have read this year’s regulations and are aware of the changes. If you haven’t read the pamphlet for this season, you still have time to get one of the free booklets anywhere permits are sold. Familiarizing yourselves with any changes could save you a big fine for hunting illegally.

With the 11-day season that we will have, there should be plenty of time, weather permitting, for you to get your deer. This year, there has been a good crop of acorns and the deer haven’t been feeding in the fields, but in the woods. The recent windy conditions have done a good job of stripping the trees of their leaves and acorns so the visibility in the woods is good.

A word of warning from one deer processor is that if the outdoor temperature reaches 55 degrees or higher, there is danger of spoilage if any deer kill is not properly cared for.

On my trips home from work in past years I have noticed a lot of vehicles pulling campers parked beside the highway with a bad tire, a wheel bearing froze up, or other problems with either their trailer or vehicle. The best thing to do is give your camper and vehicle a checkup before hitting the road.

My wife and I have searched for a particular picture for this week’s column; it is of my first deer. We haven’t found that one but in my searching I found a picture of the biggest deer I’ve ever tagged. The antlers weren’t very big, but the deer was. The buck was an 8-point and was killed in Ozark County. My wife’s sister, Marilyn, lived outside of Gainesville and had a 20-acre place that was loaded with deer. There were more deer on those 20-acres than any other place that I have hunted. When they sold the place we lost one productive hunting area.

I bagged deer at Wilbern Uchtman’s place and can hunt there any time I ask, but with the price of gas, I’ll hunt on my own land. There seems to be enough deer around the house to allow me a good shot which will be all I hope for during a season.

Be sure to wear the appropriate blaze orange cap and vest so other hunters can see you, and you them. In our area, there is very little land that you can hunt on as most of the residents have ‘no hunting’ signs posted and are sincere about keeping trespassers off their land.

When you bag your deer, either take it to a processor or get it into a refrigerator or cooler as soon as possible. I was witness to a portion of one large buck spoiling even though the body cavity was filled with ice. We couldn’t get it into a processor where it would be cooled completely and the flies got to it, spoiling the hindquarters overnight.

When you have taken care of your deer meat, try going to either Wappapello or Clearwater Lake to catch a mess of crappie. The fish should be congregated around fish shelters or stump rows and they should be hungry getting ready for the cold weather on the way.

Almost every time I write about safety during other seasons, I recall an incident near Harviell when several of us went rabbit hunting. Just as soon as the dogs crossed the ditch along the road, they jumped a cottontail and took off on the chase. Everyone was instructed to stay on the road as their dogs would bring the rabbit back. Sure enough, it did come right back to where it was setting and it was in front of me. I rose up and shot it and a voice hollered out, “Hey, you shot me!” One of the hunters had left the road and was in the middle of the thicket. He later said that he wanted to head off the rabbit. He didn’t have enough sense to stay where he was supposed to so he got peppered with shot. Fortunately, none of the shot hit bare skin so he wasn’t injured. He never did get another invite from me or anyone else in the group.

Fur bearer hunting and trapping season opens during the firearms deer season, but there probably won’t be much hunting or tapping until this first portion of deer season ends.

Next week I hope to have some ideas what hunters and trappers can expect for their skins this season. Good luck to all the hunters.