HomeComment CornerHas Climate Change Affected Your Deer Hunting

young lady viewing low water levels

Call it whatever you like. Climate change. Global warming. The impending doom and apocalypse. You’re free to hang your own label on historical weather patterns that are becoming the norm. And you’re also free to dismiss it all as you please. I have heard from regions where hunters and residents alike say they have never witnessed any significant weather changes. I wish I could say the same. But even in this area of mildy tempered weather the changes are visibly abundant and have diminished the landscape which in turn has changed our deer hunting techniques.

A deer doesn’t simply grow from a fawn being booted from every square mile of habitated forest until it finds a place that’s less hostile and more welcoming. Deer require sustainable elements like food, water, cover, and, at some point, they develop the natural instinct to mate. In the world of a deer all of this often takes place in a square mile. A single square mile. So the choice of habitat is far from being a random conveniece brought forward by growth and age of the animal. Carefully chosen, the deer claims this mile as home. Along with many of the securities that we expect in our own home lives for basic survival.

But what happens when that square mile of lush forest begins to change? And what happens to the deer and your hunting when that mile turns into 20 miles of change?

low pond water levelsI don’t have a term for it myself but I can say without a doubt the landscape here has changed fairly dramatically in the past 10 years and so has the deer hunting. My one acre pond was always brimming to the top and even rolling small ripples across it’s surface for the first 5 years. Ducks, geese, and just about any native critter to the U.P. of Michigan has been documented at that pond. In the last decade it has slowly warmed in this region drying much of the once swampy landscape. We notice new growth of weeds and shrubs, slower tree growth, and a major decrease in water levels. Most notably in the pond. Which for the past 5 years is expected to all but dry up by the end of August. While you can note tracks of many kinds in the soft mud of the pond you no longer find the deeply-rooted active deer trails leading to and from the water source.

While it’s normal for a forest to cycle through stages of growth and re-growth, regardless of the cause, it’s obvious when something goes awry on the landscape. Especially when it happens to be your deer hunting landscape. Obviously as hunters we adapt and move, again much like the deer, seeking out greener fields. But are the green fields of nature slowly dwindling in your favorite deer hunting spot?


Has Climate Change Affected Your Deer Hunting — 7 Comments

  1. we have a ranch in ohio that became our guide business and we have recorded huge changes in the property. because we are a free ranging ranch and guide business we have noticed many of our local deer herds have moved or disappeared. even our drought resistant forage crops have failed in some instances as the soil no longer holds enough nutrient which have become practical dust bowls. pretty bad luck or coincidence for the last 10 years if thats what people want to call it.

  2. We have a chunk of land in Texas that was more forested than anything but in a dozen years has become arid by any standards. I liked this article and think a lot of people just havent noticed the changes yet.

  3. i have the blaze orange carhart coat. they are hard to get becase they dont make many. i have used mine for a couple years and its great. i am going to get one of these camo ones.

  4. i think you posted in the wrong place spike.

    our hunting ranch took a big hit the last few years and once the soild gets too dry it begins to blow away. dust bowl. we have watched scrub and shrub wither and die that we thought were drought resistant. 2 of our 5 food plots are a total loss and the other 3 are in very poor condition. i have been at this for 20 years and this isn’t normal.

  5. If you dont see it happening then the extremes don’t exist in your area. I’ve seen some areas that now look like a tropical jungle in the north. We have to expect that the species will follow these changes. Poisonous snakes and spiders will be able to move further north, migratory birds may change their annual flyways, and deer could change their habits and in time their physical appearance. These are some great observations. My own hunting area has changed immensely.

  6. My little piece of land and a another property use to be crop fields and we have gone with planting fruit and nut trees to provide some shade. It’s too expensive to irrigate for us so we’re looking try to take the land back rather than fighting the weather. We’re in it for the long haul so fruit and nuts and clover for ground cover in the shady areas is our plan. It’s our third year and we’re starting to see some positive results even though we lost several trees the first year.

  7. surely you jest. here in AZ it is always hot and dry. we eat dirt with every meal still we hunt deer as we have always.