After spending countless hours situating stands, filling feeders and planning all the last-minute details of how the opening hunt of the year should go, rains across much of the state poured down, dampening the hopes of many hunters.
The archery and MLDP opener is like Christmas to many of the state’s deer hunters, who awoke this year to a soggy Saturday that hampered access to hunting locations and hurt visibility. Following the lead of the deer, some hunters just stayed in bed.
Areas around Dallas received up to 3.3 inches of rain by Saturday afternoon. Additionally, Erath, Stephens, Bandera and Bee counties reported over an inch of rain. Hunters who stayed in Saturday morning experienced better conditions in the afternoon and Sunday.
Lone Star Outdoor News Founder David J. Sams and his youngest daughter, Mimi, headed north of Abilene to hunt on an MLDP property, and had to change plans due to the weather.
“It started raining about 6:30 or 7:00 on Friday night and it rained 24 hours without stopping,” Sams said. “Saturday afternoon when we got in the blind it finally quit raining, and we saw five very skittish deer that came to the feeder. They basically smelled us and hauled out.”
When Sams and his daughter went out later Saturday night to check and fix clogged feeders, they started seeing deer move at about 11:30 p.m. in the full moon.
There was a silver lining to the weekend rain clouds. Since the deer were on a nocturnal pattern, the pair decided to dove hunt, where Mimi was successful in bagging her first dove.
Bow hunters who braved the conditions shared experiences of getting wet, muddy and seeing minimal movement from animals. Four-wheel drive was a necessity for most hunters, though there was no shortage of hunters who said they got stuck trying to get around deer camp. As many hunters talked about shooting hogs and varmints as shooting deer. Some hunters saw water in parts of their lease that they never had before, further crippling their ability to hunt.
Hopefully next weekend is a little more dry.