WHITE WALKERS. We’ve got snow! About two inches fell in the Bismarck area between yesterday and last night, with more on the way. You may have to dig out in some areas of the state, but the white stuff will make tracking in the field easier. Whether you’re gearing up for deer season, or heading out after upland game, being able to see (and identify) your quarry’s footsteps helps you know you’re in the right spot and gives a clue as to what’s going on and when. We talk about winter tracking in today’s Three Things.
(Featured Photo: Pheasant tracks in the snow provide a clue that birds are present. Get on the trail with your four-legged friend and put ‘em up! Simonson Photo)
WEATHER (Bismarck Forecast):
Today: Sat 11/4 – Fading flurries, frizzle, fall back. Hi 35, Lo 20, Winds SE to NW@10
Tomorrow: Sun 11/5 – Daylight savings ends. Hi 30, Lo 25, Winds NW@11
SOLUNAR (Bismarck Times):
Sunrise: 8:31AM Sunset: 6:21PM
Moonrise: 7:16PM Moonset 8:43AM
Overhead: 1:35AM Underfoot: 2:04PM
Moon Phase: Full @ 12:23AM
EDGE HOUR. 1:30 – 2:30PM. With moon underfoot, winds will drop and start to shift during the Edge Hour. Use this calm stretch at mid-day to start your afternoon deer hunt, as there will be an uptick in movement.
GET A CLUE. While snow is often maligned (especially in May), during the back half of the hunting season, it can be a Godsend, giving hunters a clue as to species and an estimate of how many animals are in a particular area. Step into a slough, or a copse of trees, and use tracks to identify hot trails, and side options that animals are using, giving bird dogs a trail to start with, presuming the tracks are fresh (more on that below). The size of tracks help a hunter know if any big deer (or coyotes or mountain lions) are around.
ON PACE. Tracks in the snow can also provide a clue as to recent travels, and whether or not a deer or other animal was being pursued. A standard walking gait will have hoof prints closer together, while a deer at a dead sprint from a predator or hunting party will leave impressions that are spread farther apart, oftentimes with snow spraying out from the front of the tracks.
FRESH PRINTS OF BEL AIRE. New tracks in the snow will have crisp edges, and possibly fragments of snow around them. Older tracks will melt some and have smoother edges, or may have debris or more snow filling in their middle portions, after being exposed to the wind for a while. Knowing the difference will help keep you on fresh tracks, and off old trails. Though a combination of fresh and old tracks in an area suggests a choice living location or travel corridor which should be marked for future hunting trips.