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Almost Muzzleloader Season

December 10th, 2008

Here in WV, Muzzleloader Season comes in next Monday.  Looks like we are going to have several guys getting together to hunt together.  That will mean a lot of deer drives.  If you haven’t hunted in this way before, it is a fun way to hunt.  We will usually put a couple of guys on stands, and then work toward them with 3 or 4 other guys.  The trick is trying to figure out how deer will move when they are pushed.  And, if you have done it much, you know that this is quite the challenge.  Deer can go just about anywhere when they are pushed, and it is difficult to make them go where you want them to go.  Let me give you an example from earlier this year…

We have one particular bowl that almost always holds deer.  By placing one hunter on the next bowl, we often have success pushing deer across one bowl, to the lip of the other.  My brother had a doe tag he was trying to fill, so we put him on stand, and began the drive, which takes at least an hour to complete correctly.  Sure enough, I put out about 6 does, but they went the wrong way.  They ran straight up the hill, rather than around the bowl.  Fortunately, we had another driver (my dad) at the top of the hill, and he was able to turn them right back down, where they ran in front of me again.  If I had not filled my doe tag earlier in the day, it would have been an easy shot for me.  The deer again turned the wrong way after running past me, turning to go behind me.  I took off running to try and cut off the deer, and was able to turn them more sharply down the hill.  Again, fortunately, I had another brother working the bottom of the mountain, so that he was able to turn them once again.  He also had his doe tag filled, so he just watched them as well.  Finally, they were turned the right direction.  We waited for the shot, but it never came.  We found out later that the deer had run close to my brother on stand, but he was still unable to get a shot off.

I am not sure how many people hunt this way anymore, but it can be fun, and it can be productive.  I have killed a lot of deer on drives, both as a driver and as a stand hunter.  If you can get them working in the right direction, you can see a lot of deer, and get a lot of shots.  You do need to be very careful.  You must trust everyone involved.  If you have hunters that are not capable of remaining calm, and thinking about safety, you don’t want them involved in a deer drive.  Things can happen fast, and you want to make sure that when you shoot, it is a safe shot.

We are going to have 5 or 6 guys (I hope) out hunting next week.  I look forward to this late season every year.  I am always hoping for snow, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen this year.  Last year was pretty miserable, with a bunch of rain.  I am hoping we avoid that this year.

So, do you all have a late deer season yet to come?

4 Responses to “Almost Muzzleloader Season”

  1. I’ve been done since October 13 or something like that. Oregon is not a good state when it comes to doing a lot of hunting for a long time. If I hadn’t drawn a rifle tag for deer I would have been able to hunt late season – but that would have meant traveling 8 hours to the nearest open unit. I’ll be in Idaho next year and will have lots of late seasons – I can’t wait!

  2. I’m going to be honest and tell you that I hate deer drives. I have nothing against anyone who does them, and I don’t hate them for ethical reasons or anything like that. They just don’t do much for me.

    It definitely sounds like they have worked out for you though. Sweet!

  3. I hope you have good luck during your muzzleloader season – we’re still waiting for luck this year! Fortunately other people we know have had lots of luck and we do have two deer in the freezer, but it takes four deer to get us through the year!

  4. Hey, Arthur, I know that drives are not for everyone. A lot of it has to do with the nature of hunting in the area you are in. We only get a short period of time to hunt here, so it works as a great tool for us. In alabama, where the season is much longer, I don’t use that method at all.

    Blessed, I hope you get a couple more in the freezer before season goes out…we need about 4 in our freezer to be set for the winter as well.

    Tom, I have a friend that lives up there too, and he has the same problem. Having to choose one weapon, one season, and one unit would be really hard for me!

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