The Problem with Buck Fever

February 19, 2009 by  

By Doug Leier

what were looking for

what we're looking for

As October fades into November, for many people thoughts of ducks are replaced by visions of bucks. As we head into another season my mind is full of thoughts of buck fever.

In essence, the fever is an adrenaline rush, triggered by a deer, that sometimes causes hunters to do something that may be out of the ordinary – like miss an otherwise easy shot. While most of us don’t know how the sudden appearance of a deer will affect us, we can plan out the rest of our deer hunt to avoid the unexpected.

Safety is the key

First and foremost, as with any hunting outing, make safety a priority. Beginning with planning the trip, remember that the best outdoors excursions end safely at home. Whether it’s a half day after work, or several days at deer camp, write down an itinerary before you leave.

Make sure your friends and family know how to find you in case of emergency, when to begin worrying if you’re not home, and where to begin looking. Beyond a plan, make sure to have a first aid kit, and any medicine and other basic necessities along in a gear pack.

While wearing seat belts is a law, I’ve encountered many other hunters who for unknown reason don’t use seat belts when hunting. I think it’s an advanced stage of the “it can’t happen to me” syndrome which tends to snowball into other lapses of good judgment.

Safety in the field

As a former game warden, I encountered many deer hunters whose actions indicated they had left their common sense at home. Loaded firearms in a motor vehicle during deer season are illegal. Shooting from a vehicle is also illegal. Yet, some people who call themselves hunters routinely jeopardize their own safety by driving around with loaded guns.

Wearing of blaze orange is also the law and in place to keep hunters safe. But there’s always a few hunters who every year put themselves in danger by going afield without the required visible clothing.

I’ve observed many nonhunters sporting blaze orange hats and vests across the prairie, and wonder why any hunter would choose not to adhere to the rule requiring solid blaze orange clothing covering 440 square inches above your waist.

Every fall I hear an earful of complaints about posting signs being torn down, signs being shot and assorted other problems. The people who do these things are not hunters, they are simply vandals.

As you hunt, if you see others breaking the law, write down the pertinent facts. A license plate and description of who did what will help law enforcement prosecute the violators. Next, call the proper authorities right away. The statewide Report All Poachers hotline is 800-471-2121.

Waiting until winter, or until the next time you see a game warden won’t solve the problem.

The hunt

While scouting and taking the field, make sure you’re 440 yards away from any occupied building, and also double-check an area for any other hunting parties you may have not seen.

As your crew begins hunting, plan in advance where each of you will begin, the direction you’ll walk, and where you’ll meet up, ensure that nobody will cross into another’s firing line.

a small famliy out early

a small famliy out early

Finally, before you squeeze the trigger, remember the golden rule of hunter safety. Know your target and what’s beyond. If it’s not a safe shot, breathe out, stand down and tell yourself there’ll be another opportunity.

After a successful hunt, tag the animal immediately. It’s the law and you’ll be hard pressed to convince a warden your definition of “immediately” is after the deer’s already in the truck and you’ve taken pictures. Besides, carrying your license with you, and following the rules will speed up any check by a game warden so you can continue on your hunt.

Speaking of licenses, do you know where your’s is? If the answer is no, now is the time to call 701.328.6300 and get a replacement.

Staying safe and following the rules and regulations will go along way to ensure “buck fever” doesn’t ruin the 2004 deer season. It should be a great year.


One Comment on "The Problem with Buck Fever"

  1. simcoe_hunter on Tue, 7th Feb 2012 12:01 am 

    I think that buck fever is an issue that can be controlled by nearly everyone. I used to suffer from this anomoly, but trained myself to not let it get to me. It is mostly a case of mind over matter. If you can’t control it you probably shouldn’t be walking around the woods with any kind of loaded weapon. IMHO

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