-By Randy Cooper
It’s sad but true. Deer season is over. As I sat in my stand watching the sun go down yesterday I started thinking about this season. It has been truly fun and educational thanks to many different things. The most valuable asset I’ve come away with this season are the lasting friendships I’ve created with the landowners whose property I hunt. Without their generosity I wouldn’t have had a place to hunt deer and turkey at all.
My son had a life changing, catastrophic brain injury in March of ’05. He can no longer walk and suffered severe nerve damage to his vision and hearing. I can no longer hunt two hours away from home because of his condition. He needs our care and I have to be close to home in the event he needs my help. Prior to a massive blood clot changing his life, my son was my best hunting buddy. He was always with me hunting and fishing. I miss all the times we shared and my prayer every night is that we will be blessed with another miracle and restore Jeff’s life back to him.
I’ve learned the value of blind faith when a very nice lady entrusted me to write about my passion for the first time. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in anything I had done or was involved in doing that involved planting for wildlife or hunting. She encouraged me to do something I didn’t think I could do. It has been a great experience and I have received the chance to plow new ground. This year has been one of evolving and change. I’ve learned new and better ways to hunt and plant for wildlife because of the tools I’ve had the opportunity to use and put to the test.
Moultrie’s sprayers and spreaders have helped make the year round job of trying to put in food plots, big or small easier than ever before. The trail cameras have added a totally new way to keep tabs on the many places I hunt. I’ve fallen in love with these valuable tools. I can hardly wait to get home from work each day to see what’s on the cameras! The whole family looks forward to seeing the pictures and always has time to look. The cameras have opened my eyes to what lives on the properties I hunt. They have saved me a lot of valuable time by putting them in areas that I thought might hold a good buck or on a trail I thought might be getting used and wasn’t. When you work crazy hours like I do, the last thing you want to do when you go hunting is waste time in an unproductive area. I guess what I like most is the information strip that these cameras provide. I’ve literally been able to put a journal together from the information gained. I’ve found the most active parts of the day or night, the right moon phase; movement according to the barometric pressure and temp and more.
I’ve never had more information to make educated strategies with than I do now. It blows me away to see deer that I would have never imagined were there show up on video; working scrapes, overhanging limbs and even sparing and fighting. Because of this learning experience, I’ll never hunt in the same old hit or miss fashion again. Now I have more confidence than before that when I decide to hunt a certain stand it will be productive based on what I KNOW is using the area.
I’ve witnessed some amazing things in the woods as well. I looked forward to seeing the antics of a big doe and her two fawns that I watched from the time they were first born till they were weaned and on their own. The “twins” would jump and kick and chase each other around their mother. They were so curious. It reminded me of when I was a child and every day the whole world was fresh and new, full of discovery. They were funny and I really enjoyed watching them.
I found a community scrape that every buck and doe in the area used. This was a magical find. In one weekend, 9 different bucks came and worked the overhanging limbs and then the scrape under this one tree. This continued throughout the season. I began to look at this place as a deer’s version of a singles bar in the woods! I saw bucks sparing, a red fox, a coyote and more beautiful hawks than you can imagine.
Now that the season is over, a new one begins; taking down stands, post season scouting, shed hunting, spreading lime, fertilizer, and planting for the spring, cultivating relationships with landowners, old and new. I look forward to what has become a never ending endeavor. For me, it’s year round. If I’m not doing something deer related, it’s scouting for turkeys and hunting them. 3-D archery shoots are already happening and I can’t wait to go. It’s so much fun!
I’ve learned so much this year that has forever changed the way I go about scouting and hunting deer. I feel privileged to have been able to work with the good people at Moultrie Feeders. They make fine products that will take any hunter to a new level in the pursuit of whatever they’re after. I applaud Moultrie and the products they make, that make the difference.
Now, I’m looking forward!