Avoiding Cabin Fever: Post-Deer Season Options
The month of February can be rough on the deer and turkey hunters of America, especially if you're in the North and staring at a couple of long, cold months before spring turkey season.
With most deer seasons now closed, cabin fever and the off-season blues can definitely set in. Those other outdoor activities are good and all, but nothing compares to deer season. The tried and true American whitetail hunting tradition. It's depressing to see it go for the next six to eight months, but it doesn't have to mark an end to your outdoor lifestyle. Not even a little bit.
Deer hunting alone can keep you busy during most months of the year if you really apply yourself to it.
February and March mean getting those hiking boots out and hitting the woods in search of shed antlers. Shed hunting has become a hunting season and a sport in its own right. Providing great scouting information and an adrenaline rush when you find that white gold.
April, May, and June can be a blank canvas of land management activities if you have access to private ground and the ability to plant food plots. Even in snowy and largely frozen Ohio, I'm making my initial food plotting plans. I'll even be throwing clover seed for frost-seeding within the next month or so.
Summer scouting, treestand and blind placement, and trail camera surveys can keep us busy until the fall approaches. You see, deer hunting alone can keep us locked in and enjoying the outdoors. We just have to go that extra mile to make it happen.
With that being said, there are plenty of other outdoor activities to keep us engaged in the meantime. Predator hunting, fishing (weather permitting), and scouting for turkey season are just a few things that can help you to avoid cabin fever over the next few months.
Coyotes and other predators, especially feral hogs down in the South, pose a massive threat to all of our beloved wildlife and the land that we cherish. February and March are the ultimate months for really focusing your efforts to predator control.
This could mean getting your favorite rifle out of the gun safe and making some stands for those pesky coyotes. Refining your woodsmanship and marksmanship skills along the way. Hunting coyotes with calls and a rifle can provide quite the challenge for even the most skilled of hunters.
Those who are located in the southern US know that hog hunting alone can be a 365-day adventure. Grabbing your rifle and heading out for a little predator control and hog hunting collaboration could kill two major issues with one stone. Keep an eye out for hogs as you make some stands for coyotes. There are plenty of target-rich environments out there. Dropping some coyotes and hogs could really benefit the land you hunt while providing some good, clean outdoor fun.
The off-season months are always a great time to help your primary game species out by thinning those competing predators.
Another wildly popular "off-season" type of activity would be bowfishing. Bowfishing has exploded in popularity, so it's really not an off-season sport to some. Those of you in the South will have a distinct advantage of getting bowfishing season kicked off early on. Regardless of when you start, bowfishing can be a thrill. It also keeps your archery skills fresh along the way.
As waterways begin to warm around the southern US and ice begins to give way to open water in the North, fishing becomes front of mind for many outdoorsmen and women. Nothing compares to wetting a line and enjoying the serenity of the water. We're quickly approaching the fishing season. Heck, some of you guys have been ice fishing right out through the winter.
All of this and we haven't even made our way to spring turkey season. The true gift of the spring for many hunters.
Spring turkey season comes up on you quickly if you're located in the South. Many seasons will begin to open up throughout the month of March, with some opening at the beginning of the month. That makes February the final month of scouting for many hunters. The time to make those final efforts to acquire spots, scout the areas you can hunt, and to prepare that turkey gear you've had in storage.
Up North the urgency to scout is not quite there in February, as you may be staring at over two months until the season is in sight. Nonetheless, scouting never hurts if you're hunting a new spot or trying to figure out some tricky birds in an area you have hunted previously. Setting trail cameras or getting out on the ground to find some sign is always a good idea.
If you're a certified turkey hunting nut like myself, you probably find any way possible to get yourself out there to prepare for the spring season.
So we can choose to let the month of February drag us into the depths of the off-season blues, or we can get out and make it happen. The choices are plentiful regardless of where you live.
The beauty of the outdoor lifestyle lies within the fact that there truly is no off-season. If you love the outdoors and diversify your activities, you can stay busy and active all year long. So get out and get after it!