Fishing rods are being traded for rifles this week as “Buck Fever” spreads across the county. The woods will be filled with blaze orange as the 2018 firearm deer season opens this coming Saturday, November 3 in Minnesota.
The forecast remains calm throughout the week with lows in the 30s, highs in the 40s and a slight chance of misty rain each day, which means no snow coverage for the first weekend of hunting. Finding signage of deer is much harder without tracks in the snow but can still be found with a sharp eye and knowledge of what to look for.
Rubs, scrapes, and droppings are the most obvious signs to look for while scouting the woods for deer, paying close attention to game trails. Successful hunters spend a lot of time in the woods tracking and studying movements of deer before the actual season begins, but for those of us with less time the tracking often does not begin until opening day.
Choosing an area to hunt is much like fishing; you start with traditionally successful areas and fine-tune your hunt depending on what you are seeing. Listening, watching, and stalking are necessary for learning the behaviors of deer, and those behaviors are often depicted by weather conditions and the stage of rutting.
I am no expert deer hunter, but I have spent a lot of time trying and the smallest details can be the most important, especially before the ground is covered in snow. Covering your scent, sitting quietly, staying alert, and a lot of luck might bring a deer within range.