Let the countdown begin for this year’s gun season for whitetail deer.
Michiana’s most celebrated hunting season starts Friday in Michigan and Saturday in Indiana and runs for 15 days in each state.
So, what are the prospects for finding quality bucks?
Well, it depends upon whom you ask
Bow hunters, who have been in the woods since Oct. 1, have been taking deer but successes have been sporadic. There have been a few nice bucks taken, but we haven’t heard of many that were bearing trophy-like racks.
Of course, that’s normal and could change over the next few days. Crops are coming out and the leaves are falling fast, making deer a little easier to find.
More importantly, the rut (mating season) is in the early stages and will progress quickly. Once bucks start chasing does they become more vulnerable to hunter tactics and we’ll see more mature bucks in the harvest.
The wild card, especially in Michigan, has been how badly the herd has been hurt by EHD virus that struck lower counties (especially Cass), over the past two years
The good news is that the disease wasn’t nearly as prominent this year in southwest Michigan, although there have been some reports of dead deer in Elkhart and Kosciusko counties of Indiana.
“It definitely hurt some (Michigan) areas, but the impact is debatable,” said Ken Kesson, wildlife biologist at Crane Pond Game Area in Jones, Mich. “There are still plenty of opportunities out there.”
Kesson said some of the areas hit by EHD are starting to replenish with transient deer moving in from other areas.
In Indiana, DNR District Wildlife Biologist Linda Byer said she’s received a few calls about dead deer from Elkhart and Kosciusko counties but not in great numbers. Those areas also were hit by EHD last year.