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Will a cool summer mean cool hunting?

August 08, 2009 at 07:21 AM


No wonder those green tomatoes are slow to turn red.

Hot days, bright sunshine and warm nights are what it takes to make a homegrown BLT. In July, all of those things were in short supply.

Not one day in July 2009 hit 90 degrees or above. Compared to an average July, the daily temperatures were five degrees below normal.

We watched softball games with jackets on, went trapshooting wearing long-sleeved shirts and slept with the windows open when we should have been sweating it out, hoping the air conditioner didn’t shoot craps before October. Tent camping never looked so good. All in all, July was a comfortable month.

It was a far cry from the torrid July 1936, when the mercury shot past 100 degrees so many times that it ceased to be a novelty.

If the past few days are any indication, Mother Nature will turn up the heat in August. The memory of wearing a windbreaker on the Fourth of July is already blurry.

What an unseasonably cool July might mean to men and women who hunt the fall and winter deer and upland seasons remains to be seen. It could change the way we go about it, especially early in the season.

It will only take about two nights with temperatures in the 40s to send the doves packing before dove hunters have shot up all their shells. Dedicated dove hunters recommend watching the temperatures in Wisconsin and northern Illinois and timing your hunts for the day after a cold snap up north.

According to area farmers, late planting and cool weather may set back the fall harvest by as much as three to four weeks.

For bow hunters, and even for November shotgun deer hunters, that could translate into a lot more standing corn in fields that are typically harvested in early October.

Deer will live in the tall corn as long as they can. Paying particular attention to backside field edges and those “funnels” where deer go into and out of the fields may be more rewarding than hanging stands deep in the timber, at least until the crops are harvested.

Even if we don’t have a wet fall, there is almost certain to be standing corn still around when the bucks are in rut. Those fields could be real hot spots if we can figure out how to drive the deer out of them.

Upland hunters will face similar challenges. Last year, quail and pheasants stayed in the standing corn until it was gone. In the places where Buckwheat and I tromp the brush, the birds didn’t go back into fringe habitat until late in the season.

A cool July may be the forerunner of a cold November — or not. Every year redefines normal.
When hunting season starts, normal doesn’t matter. The adjustments we have to make and what we learn from making them is part of what makes it interesting.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I SINCERELY hope mr. Shelton gets to use his “standing corn” excuse for a low deer harvest this fall, and that it IS the reason!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/08 at 07:35 AM

I have always found it interesting how crop rotation affects deer patterns within a property but people don’t talk about that much. Three years ago I set up a new rotation plan for my corn and beans to improve the hunting. My farmers were very cooperative, so I set it up so I have secluded bean fields surrounded by standing corn in alternating years, and one or the other crop on both sides of my primary stands. As far as hunting goes it’s a lot more consistent than the way it was before set up in bigger blocks.

Posted by Henry Holt on 08/08 at 12:58 PM

quite possibly one of the gayest articles ever written. this dude needs to find another hobby

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/08 at 02:13 PM

Standing corn is like herpes. It just never goes away.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/14 at 08:19 PM

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