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Arctic Opener A Good Thing

Few things on this planet can rival the excitement of  opening weekend of the Nebraska Firearm Deer Season.  Small towns all across the state are a buzz with orange clad hunters making the annual pilgrimage to their favorite haunts to chase deer critters, share stories, spend time with families and just live like outdoorsmen and women for a few days.

The recent arctic blast should prove to be a huge bonus for deer hunters this weekend.  Plunging temps should result in an increase in deer activity and sightings by hunters.   Here are a few tips to help hunters capitalize on this recent change in weather.

1. Dress for success – Successful deer hunters are able to outlast the other guy on stand by staying out all day or at least longer than most.  Many hunters will call it quits by 10am, heading back to the truck or camp to warm up.  This will push deer and favor the well dressed hunter still in the stand.  Dress in layers and bring some hot coffee and snacks with you and plan to spend the entire morning in the field.  It will pay off.

2. Confidence – know that deer now have two very important reasons to move around in daylight hours….love and food.  Under normal conditions, bucks may go over a day without eating in order to chase does.  With cold temps, both does and bucks will likely feed more often in mid to late morning or early afternoon.  Focus on these local hot spots where the does are feeding and you will find deer.

3. Rut – don’t forget the rut is still on in full swing.  Deer are still susceptible to calling and rattling.  Early morning rattling should be successful.  I like to rattle roughly 30 second intervals and then stop to watch and listen for a few seconds and then back to rattling for three to four sets.  Make sure you have an exit strategy for ditching the antlers in your hands as bucks may charge in fast.

4. Cover – throughout the day, deer will likely bed down in areas that provide the greatest protection from cold winds.  South facing slopes that block winds or east facing slopes that pick up early morning sun will be favorite hideouts for deer.  Ask yourself if you would use the area to avoid the cold…if so, deer too would be served well in that location.

4. Safety – remember you likely did  not practice climbing with polar gloves and coats on so be careful when climbing into stands and always use a Fall Arrest System when ascending and descending the tree.  Use a haul line to pull gear to you and always use the three-point rule of contact when climbing.   Don’t forget that rifle bullet can travel several miles so be sure to positively identify your target and what lies beyond it before pulling the trigger.  Also remember that 400 square inches of blaze orange must be visible on the head and torso, front and back, when hunting during the firearm deer season for deer.  This goes for archers too!

Fore more information on deer hunting in Nebraska or to learn about our popular programs visit www.outdoornebraska.org.   Find public access information in our Fields and Waters  atlas.  Here you will find several hundred thousand acres of private land available for access.  Also, don’t forget about our Hunters Feeding the Hungry if you would like to donate your venison to families in need.

This recent arctic blast is really what most of us hope for in the firearm deer season opener.    By taking the time to do a little planning, your success can increase in spades and tip the odds slightly in your favor.  How often do these tactics work you say?  Well…they only have to work once each season.  It is time for the most anticipated day of the year and any time in the deer woods is time well spent.

Mark Matulka and son Joe brave cold temps to harvest a fine buck in western Nebraska.
Mark Matulka and son Joseph brave cold temps to harvest a fine buck in western Nebraska.

About jeff rawlinson

Jeff is the Education Manager in the Communications Division with Game and Parks where he has worked for the last 15 years. He oversees the Hunter Education, Boater Education, Hunter Outreach and Shooting Range Development for the Commission and is a devout hunter, angler, wildlife viewer, naturalist, father and husband. He holds a BS and MS from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has been a Hunter Education Instructor for over 20 years, NRA firearms instructor and range officer, National Archery in the Schools Program Archery Instructor Specialist and member of the National NASP Board, sits on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Hunter Recruitment and Retention Committee and Education Committee. Jeff is an avid handgun hunter, loves to chase turkeys in the spring, squirrel hunting enthusiast and philosopher of the outdoors. He is an avid shooter and loves to spend outdoor time with family and friends. He has a passion for exciting others about the outdoors. A history buff, Jeff is a strong supporter of our North American Model of Conservation and tries to spread the message of its importance and relevance every chance he gets.

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