The recent bomb cyclone combined with spring snowmelt has swelled some Midwest rivers to record levels and forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes. The governors of Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin have declared emergencies. Some of the water-logged areas are bracing for more rain this week.
How will all this flooding affect whitetail deer in the region?
Biologists say that rising floodwaters of river and creeks won’t kill many if any adult deer, though it will displace the animals for days and weeks. But the deer will eventually filter back into their habitats once the waters recede.
Good news is that pregnant does will move out of rising water now and for the next few weeks. The primary concern for deer herds in and around flood zones is later on in May and June, when the does start dropping fawns.
“But fawn survival in flood plains is typically very high, even during flood years,” says noted whitetail scientist Grant Woods. “To cause any significant problems in a herd, the water levels would have to rise very rapidly and be timed when the peak of fawn births occur, and before the fawns are mobile. This is a relatively narrow window of time. Rivers rarely rise that quickly, and does are excellent mothers.”
One concern, though, is how the current Midwestern flooding might wash away and/or flatten preferred fawning cover for later on this spring. “If does are forced to fawn in fields or woods where there isn’t as much cover as usual, coyote predation on the fawns can increase,” says Grant.
The cumulative effects of the bomb cyclone, snowmelt and flooding later on this spring could impact fawning cover in some areas, but that remains to be seen.
Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) has announced it will remove firearms and other hunting gear from about 125 stores. The change, expected to begin August 1, will affect about 17 percent of the company’s stores.
The announcement, coupled with continuing declines in sales since 2017 (adjusted same-store sales were down 3.1% last year) lead to a 11 percent decline in stock price yesterday. Dick’s closed at $34.45 on the NYSE, down $4.28/share.
Dick’s CEO and major shareholder Ed Stack told the media that if the 125-store move “goes well” the company may remove hunting gear from more stores next year.
According to the Outdoor Wire, Stack was one of four CEOs to sign a letter supporting a gun control bill recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also joined the business council of Everytown, the nonprofit organization founded by Michael Bloomberg that advocates for gun control.
It’s more obvious than ever that if you are a law-abiding gun owner and hunter, Dick’s does not want your business. I for one have vowed to never step foot or spend another penny in a Dick’s store again.
Whether you are a novice or expert at food plots for deer, whether you plan to plant 2 plots or 10 on your land this year, the first and most critical step to success is to do a soil test and determine the pH of the dirt you’ll be working.
Some soils are heavier than others…other dirt is lighter. Some soils hold moisture longer…some dirt dries fast… You get the idea–not all dirt is created equal. By testing the soil where you’ll be planting to determine its exact pH, you’ll know how much lime and/or fertilizer you’ll need for the planting process and optimal forage growth.
This test kit from Whitetail Institute gives you everything you need and makes it a breeze. Dig a dirt sample, put in a Ziplock and mail in to their lab. Easy-to-read results are emailed to you within the week, and often in a day or two. Best part: professional consultation from the pros at the Institute is included, and you can follow up with a call to their 800 number for further recommendations and to answer specific questions.
If you want to grow better food plots, this will be the best $15 you ever spent on Amazon Prime.
Good luck and have fun playing in the dirt!
Hunters in the Southeastern region of the U.S. were the most successful in 2017, with 55% of hunters killing one or more deer, according to the Quality Deer Management Association’s 2019 Whitetail Report.
South Carolina was #1 in the nation, with 69% of hunters shooting at least one whitetail. Mississippi was a close second with 63% hunter success.
42% of hunters across the Midwest shot a deer. The deer-hunting in Michigan, with a 50% success rate, and Ohio (40% success) improved in recent years, while Indiana (35% success) and Iowa (30%) showed declines as compared to 5 years ago.
Not the least bit surprisingly to me, the Northeast remains the toughest place in America to kill a deer, with only 33% of hunters across the region tagging an animal in 2017.
Maine, with a hunter-success rate of only 13%, is the toughest place to kill a deer (much less a good buck) in the nation. That’s one reason I want to go back there and film another BIG DEER TV show.
Deer hunting is not supposed to be easy all the time. And it’s obviously not in beautiful and intriguing Maine, where I hope to be with a camera crew this November, slogging it out and trying to buck the odds to become one of the chosen few 13%.
Click here to download your free copy of the 2019 Whitetail Report, and scroll to page 23 for the hunter-success rate in your state.
To shoot more coyotes use trail cameras to pattern the predators, just as you use them to track deer.
This field report from the BIG DEER HUNT TEAM’s predator expert Jack Hazel shows you how:
“Got two more coyotes last night! For several nights in a row, the Spartan Go Cam’s app gave me the exact time they showed up in the Dump Draw where we put dead cows. We set up 15 minutes ahead of time, and the coyotes came in right on cue. We hunted 30 minutes total.
“The thermal image from my scope shows one of the dead dogs 100 yards away.
“The Spartan Go Cam is real deal, not just for deer but predators too.”
Note the time code on the Spartan images below for 2 of the nights, 3 minutes apart!
Smart and efficient and set up and hunting, and that is what it takes to fool coyotes.