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TJ Nagel has been involved in the outdoors his entire life. Hunting and fishing at every opportunity!

Crop Harvest

1007131347aThis time of year is magical to witness. The mystical change of leaves from green to autumn orange, yellow and rusts, soybeans standing at attention in rows looking more like sticks than any type of nutrition. Let’s not forget the ever present corn in the heartland. These endless acres of habitat have the ability to change the dynamics of your hunting area as much or more than any other aspect this season.

As a hunter it is easy to overlook the harvest of these crops as a game changer this time of year. Stop and look at your hunting parcel for just a moment. Do you have any standing corn on that land that will be harvested? In most of the Midwest it is highly possible that if you don’t have standing corn directly on your hunting land there is some nearby. What happens when the acres and acres of standing cover are suddenly taken away from the deer population? Too many, the first thought is loss of a food source to the deer herd, to me, it’s a huge advantage!! Deer in your territory that have had the last 6 months of cover in those fields are now forced to head back into the timber for cover.

DSCN2315If you are familiar with your hunting ground, this is the time to be in the heaviest cover you can find. The deer may not be running willy-nilly because of the rut. They have just had their entire home range changed in a matter of hours, they may feel very vulnerable and exposed.  Right after or during harvest, these heavy covered areas near former standing crop fields may be the missing honey hole you have been looking for. Heavy overgrown fence rows, ravines that project out into a field, a standing woodlot that is isolated from a larger timber. Maybe a heavy CRP area or old overgrown orchard that has been forgotten, these are all areas I have had luck finding big bucks this time of year.

In my experience this time period coincides with the mystical “October lull”. That time period when big bucks all but disappear. I like to have secondary stands placed well before the season in these out of place areas that you might not think to hunt in early season. You are hunting deer that are becoming more nocturnal every day. And why wouldn’t they? A huge part of their range has just been taken away. They are hearing and smelling things in their core area they have not seen or smelled in almost a year. What would you do? Where would you go? In the deepest safest part of your home.

JDI have talked with dozens of farmers that tell stories of the biggest buck they have ever seen just walking row to row in the corn while they were harvesting. These deer don’t want to leave the middle of these sanctuaries. If they’ve been around a few years, they know where to go when forced out of that hideaway. Question is, do you know where they might go. If you do, hold on to your bow, you might just be in for the hunt of the year.


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