The numbers prove it. Realtree fans north, south, east and west live and breathe deer hunting. These guys do, too. Hansen’s from Michigan, Brantley’s from Kentucky, and chances are their version of hunting whitetails is a lot like yours.
Dryer’n a Popcorn Fart in These Deer Woods
This morning, I had to step away from my desk and stare outside. It was finally raining, if only for 10 minutes. It’s dry around here—western Kentucky was in moderate to severe drought conditions as of May 22, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. No doubt, many of you are in the same boat. In the Southeast, including Realtree’s home base of Columbus, Georgia, drought conditions ranged from “Extreme” to “Exceptional.”
A long-term drought can have big-picture effects on deer season, including severe EHD outbreaks. Kentucky and many other Midwestern and southern states lost thousands and thousands of deer during the particularly dry summer of 2007. Hopefully we’ll dodge the bullet on that this summer, but only time will tell. A similar outbreak devastated the Milk River herd in Montana last year.
My more immediate worry is the impact to my food plots. The areas we plant are rugged and remote, meaning they’re great for hunting, but a royal pain in the arse to plant and maintain. In the past, we’ve relied on the rain gods to get them to turn green.
But if this season’s weather trends hold up, some form of irrigation will be in order if I want my plots to live. Here’s my situation: a decent-sized creek winds along the edge of the fields where we do our planting. It’s within 50 yards of the closest plot, and a solid 200 from the others. Though it tends to get low and stagnant by August, I’ve never seen it run completely dry. So I’m thinking of investing in a pump and some hose to keep water on my plots. I don’t have the means to do anything on a bigger scale, and I have no idea how well this would work (but if some of you do, let me know in the comments section).
At the end of the day, I hate to be too doom and gloom about the drought. We have a little rain in the forecast for this week. Tropical Storm Beryl just dumped a ton of water along the East Coast. But July and August are still on the horizon, and history shows that droughts can be tough on deer. How are things shaping up in your neck of the woods?