Riege: Flooding can affect your hunt this Fall

Published 10:37 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2014

By Bob & Ginny Riege

The flooding of this past week has thrown some hunters a curve this fall. As hunters we sometimes fail to take into consideration what it was like last spring and into the summer. This year the hunters will notice the fact that widespread floods in the Midwest have wiped out many agricultural crops as well as covered lowland areas that have been used for feeding areas, travel routes and resting sites. Across woodlands near the Mississippi and other large rivers wildlife are on the move.

If you are a hunter that hunts river bottomland you might want to check out that cornfield that was planted last spring. In many cases that cornfield will not be standing, or it may have been cut for silage. This could result in a food shortage for the deer and other animals.

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Still, the animal exodus to higher ground will intensify this week when the rising floodwaters move from largely farmland to woodlands. Birds and certain smaller mammals such as rabbits and raccoons will usually go to higher to live in trees or on drift piles, but the deer may vacate the area completely.

In other cases, the normal travel routes near the brushy riverbanks and nearby resting areas are completely underwater, or the necessary “cover” that a deer needs for safety will no longer exist. In any case the deer hunter better spend some additional time this year scouting for patterning that special deer.

When scouting an area, or setting up your blinds don’t forget to use a scent eliminating soap, such as Scent Killer Soap from Wildlife Research.

If the bedding areas have been altered and the food source changed, then travel patterns and maybe even home ranges may have changed. The deer may have been forced to completely relocate. If you do find the deer you might also want to check to see what they have discovered as a new food source for this fall.

When looking for feeding areas, one of the best and most frequently used by deer during the fall is a stand of oaks. Deer love acorns; no other food source offers as much nutritional value as acorns. There are two basic classifications of oak: white oak and red oak. The white oak produces acorns every year, while the red oak only produces acorns every two years. This year with the oaks really produced the acorns. Wildlife Research also makes an acorn masking scent.

Deer also prefer the freshest acorns. The deer will locate the acorns that have recently fallen. They will follow the ripening of the acorn crop. Trees at the top of a hill will ripen first, then progress until the last trees ripen on the bottom of the hill. The deer recognize this pattern and adjust their eating habits.

Hunting the oaks is an excellent way for a hunter to get a buck. Even old, smart bucks will seek out this excellent food source when it ripens. If the acorns are dropping, and the hunting season opens before the rut, the hunting can be fantastic. Find the oaks that are dropping the acorns, and select a stand site on the outer edge of the trees. Be in your stand well before daylight, and wait for the bucks to come out and head for the bedding areas.

By doing some research and patterning the acorn ripening you will increase your chances at getting a deer.