© By Othmar Vohringer
September 10 saw me long before sunrise set up on a spot overlooking a large overgrown cut block where I had previously seen many decent sized mule deer bucks. From this vantage point I would have a good view of the deer when they retreat at dawn to the dark timber. As soon the sun started to come up I began glassing the area with high-powered binoculars, looking carefully for the slightest movement with the rifle ready next to me.
After a half hour I still had not seen any movement, which to me seemed very strange considering how many deer I have seen previously on this spot. I started to wonder what the cause might be. The clear cut had plenty of food available and there were no other hunters in the area. Not wasting any more time wondering I moved quickly on to the next pre-scouted location a half a mile ahead. If I hurry I might still catch a few bucks in the open.
The new location proved to be as devoid of deer as the first spot. By now the sun was fully up and began to get warm. It was then that I realized, not only were the deer absent but also other animals such as the songbirds and grouse. The morning continued without any sightings of deer, bear or other game animals.
I should have checked the weather forecast then I would have known that it would get very hot yesterday. Animals do not need a weather forecast they instinctively know. On such days deer retreat early, before sunrise, in to the cooler timber. Once I realized that I saw no point in continue to hunt and went home for a late breakfast.
On the way out of the hunting area I met cowboys on horseback corralling cattle. I stopped and asked if they have seen any game. Neither of them has and they assured me that they have been in the area since last night. A bit further down the logging road I encountered the only other hunter I have seen all day. He asked me if I have seen anything and when I said that I didn’t he said neither did he.
In the evening it began to cool down somewhat and I got ready to head out for an evening hunt. This time I chose a power line right of way where deer come out in the evening to graze. At this time of day the power line is in the shadow from the old timber forest and animal appreciate that cooler area and cover the shadow provides.
I sneaked along just inside the tree line along the power line, in the hopes I can catch a buck feeding in the power line or hanging up just inside the tree line. By the time I got to the other end it was dark and I had to return to the truck. All I have seen is one lonely older doe. She stood within 20 yards from me watching the power line. Her interest in the opening made me think that there might be another deer, perhaps even a buck. So I did as the doe and kept watching the spot she was watching with the rifle ready. Ten minutes into the observation nothing happened and the doe walked off and so did I.
On the way back to the truck I saw a pack of coyotes playing out in a clear cut and that was the end of my first hunting day. In all the years I hunt, which is almost a lifetime, I have never tagged out on opening day. I am upset about it? No I am not. This was only the first day of many to follow. Plenty time to redeem myself.
Maybe as soon as tomorrow or on Saturday. As I write this and look out the office window I can see that the wind has picked up and dark gray clouds appear on the horizon. This means a new weather front is moving in and these are good times to hunt. In addition when I looked at the lunar calendar it said that tomorrow is a good hunting day and on Saturday will be excellent. Of course there is more to deer movement than just the condition of the moon, weather, food and other hunters play a big part in deer movement too.
I guess I will find out tomorrow and over the weekend. Stay tuned for more hunting reports and some other great posts coming to this blog very soon.
Tags: Hunting Season Opening Day, Mule Deer Hunting, Hunting Report, British Columbia