I used the fresh dusting of snow this weekend to follow deer tracks behind my suburban house . . . I mean my suburban KEEP. The ideal habitat for whitetail deer is a residential area with 5 acre house lots. The deer have plenty of privacy, lots of landscaping to munch on, little pressure from hunters and few predators. Maine’s deer concentrations are much higher in areas like this than in Maine’s vast north woods. Ironically, I went hunting this season in Maine’s vast north woods. It’s different hunting up there, though. Plus “Deer Camp 2007” included a lot of frrrrrrosty cold beverages . . . and some tequila sunrises . . . but that’s a story for another day.
Perhaps I’d have had better luck if I’d stayed home and hunted from my tree stand with my bow (I’m in a no firearms discharge area). I don’t have a 5 acre house lot, and neither do my neighbors, but we have deer. The rut seemed to come late this year, which could explain why in one week’s time up north I didn’t see anything with antlers. But speaking of antlers, I found THIS behind the house on Sunday:
Fresh, it was oh so fresh, and THIS right near the antler rub:
Ayuh, and it was from a bigger, more juicy pile of deer poo that the smiley face pic was built from. Unfortunately, archery season has passed in Maine, so I will have to wait until next year to deliver the arrow and process meat. But have no fear, I did still obtain deer meat for the freezer this year.
Hunting as a prolonged SHTF/TEOTWAWKI survival technique is overrated, however. Yes, it has its applications, but there are just SOOO many people that would be out hunting if SHTF that game would either be eliminated entirely or become fully nocturnal and leave the area for good. If TEOTWAWKI did hit, though, and you’re in a remote area, hunt away from camp if you’re not starving. This will leave the deer near camp feeling safe and it may push deer to relocate closer to camp. Then, when you ARE starving, you know where to go. Like I said, it’s overrated, though. The amount of energy spent pursuing large game is too great if survival is really on the line. You’d be far better off just collecting bugs, grinding them between some flat rocks, and making a mushy, but hearty stew . . . . loaded with Tabasco, of course.
All of this being said, I have an elder family member who once told me that during the Great Depression many Maine game wardens would turn their head the other way when they saw a man poaching deer to feed his family. They had to.
I like hunting, because it puts me outdoors, gives me some exercise, and if I DO manage to bag a big woods buck, there’s meat in the freezer for winter. Then, if TEOTWAWKI hit mid-January, and I’m opening the kitchen cupboards to assess inventory, I can say to myself, “. . . I also have a pile of deer meat . . . time to move it outside, bury it in snow.”
It’s IMMEDIATELY after shit first hits the fan that hunting will be the most productive. It it’s lawlessness, recklessness, anarchy and everyone for themselves – bag game fast. Process the meat and bag more. Freeze it or make it into jerky, whatever the circumstances dictate.