October 31, 2012

NEWCOM: Weather is a big factor on early hunting

Early season brings lots of opportunities afield

By John Newcom
Local Columnist

Kokomo — October has come and gone quickly and the weather has been up and down just like it has been all year long.

One day I would be wearing cold weather clothing to hunt in and the next day I could wear shorts while fishing for largemouth bass in an area pond. I never thought I would be using the car’s air conditioning in late October.

The beginning of archery season has been a learning experience for me as I have been using and helping my wife hunt with a crossbow. The past weekend proved interesting as the deer in our woods finally started to move. I think the crazy, up-and-down weather has everything messed up. We have not had any shots at decent deer yet this year and my freezer is empty.

I have spent many hunts this past month trying to harvest my elusive turkey with archery equipment. I have had my hopes smashed with a shot from my crossbow that landed under the unsuspecting turkey this October. I knew as soon as I squeezed the trigger that I had missed, so I chalk my first shot at game with a crossbow up to experience. I have a woods full of turkeys and I have yet to kill one. I still have season opening in December to try again, so hope is still alive for a Christmas wild turkey.

The main commotion early this season was the attention brought to deer being found dead in many counties throughout the state. These deaths were found out to be caused by EHD. The disease happens more often during drought summers and did this year. A lot of people were afraid to hunt deer but this should not be the case. I personally only shoot deer that look healthy and I watch for any signs of something being wrong while field dressing my game. You can find a lot of information about what to look for on the DNR website and I highly recommend it.

I write this as the winds from Hurricane Sandy blow through the area. I am not going to risk hunting in the high winds. They can be dangerous both hunting from an elevated stand or ground blind.

Speaking of ground blinds, I would like to remind everyone that you have to have 12x12 pieces of hunter orange on each side of your ground blind starting Nov. 17, the opening of firearms season. Pick up your hunter orange material now so you are ready for opening day. I found a package of hunter orange squares at Rural King for $10 that included four 12x12 squares. This is the only place I have found this in town. You may also buy material and cut your own as long as it meets the correct size requirements for hunter orange.

I wish all of you the best of luck in the coming weeks and I hope to report some success of my own to you soon. Be safe and have fun outdoors!

John Newcom is an outdoors columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached through the sports department at 574-732-5180 or