We say that a particular whitetail-breeding season is late, early or right on time. Funny thing about the way we think. I mean, our idea of timing or when things happen in nature are determined by our time schedule … our preconceived notion of order.
We say that a particular whitetail-breeding season is late, early or right on time.
Funny thing about the way we think. I mean, our idea of timing or when things happen in nature are determined by our time schedule … our preconceived notion of order. Maybe that's one reason why most folks feel so "out of sorts" when they get out in the woods.
Nature is not ordered and timed like work, human relationships, the hustle and bustle of commerce in our world or, for that matter, the TV or the computer.
Oh, we do try to impose our time there.
We can cut it with a chainsaw on our time.
We can plow it, dig it and turn it on time.
We can and do plant it on time.
And we fence it and try our best to control our little plots for a time.
But the wild is particularly problematic to this line of thinking because we have no control there.
A definition of the wild is something other than touched by man. The most successful hunters read nature and the changes in the woods and adapt their techniques accordingly. Why in the world would anyone think that nature runs on our timetable?
Heck, even people have a difficult time running on time! And we have watches, alarm clocks, time clocks, bells, whistles, lights and calendars to go by and keep us on track.
If we tossed a calendar in the water, I promise you that not one trout or bass would be able to read it and then decide when to spawn or feed. That's as absurd as putting a clock on a stump or strapping your wristwatch on a limb of a tree and expecting a result.
But we really know that. We say things like, "Leaves are late falling this year." Or we say, "Man, my tomatoes are not ripening."
And, of course, deer hunters prognosticate and speculate on the timing of the rut because that is the best time for hunters to be a field.
Trout fishermen who have their little boxes stuffed with flies of all sizes and colors know that a particular hatch or emergence of insects may not happen at exactly the same time each year, according to our calendars. Bass fishermen know that "floaters," or floating weed mats, which tend to concentrate late-season bass, don't appear each year at the same time.
I get a kick out of hunters who pontificate with all the finger-wagging, self-assurance of a politician. For example, "...and the rut (deer breeding time) always happens Nov. 7. And I've bagged the deer to prove it!"
Nothing in nature, from apples falling to zebras drinking, coincides more than random occurrences on the same date each year. Our observations again mix cause-and-effect with correlation. Does that mean whitetails won't evidence rutting behavior on Nov. 7? Some will.
This, of course, does not mean some does were not bred in early November back in 1972, or that some were not bred even in December in 1999. Nature is eminently utilitarian and seems most successful when it doesn't put all it's eggs in one biological basket. And nobody would argue that deer have not evolved a very successful propagation strategy.
This year, as predicted, we evidenced the main spike in the whitetail rut occurring around Nov. 1, which many bow hunters enjoyed. And then things settled down quickly as the bucks were with the does.
Gun hunters during the regular season and those die-hard bow benders should see the second spike in action just after Thanksgiving as the unbred does and a small percentage of doe fawns cycle and put the bucks on their feet for the final surge of their breeding time this year.
Next spring’s fawn drop will prove whether or not this prognostication on the timing of the whitetail rut is right or wrong, no matter what any particular hunter tags or believes.
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