Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
The season is changing and white-tail bucks are beginning to shift gears. Along the edge of Iowa’s woodlands, fresh scrapes are beginning to appear as bucks mark territories and announce their presence. I normally don’t start bow hunting for deer until the first week of November. This year, however, I decided to do my own gear shifting and take advantage of what has recently turned out to be beautiful October weather.
Settling into the edge of a mature woodland, it didn’t take long to realize that I had made a good choice. From the crack of dawn until I finally left the timber, there was never a dull moment. The timbers were alive with birdlife of all descriptions; everything from noisy crows and huge horned owls on down to the tiny wood warblers. The warbler migration is nearing its end. Following all night flights, the tiny birds are stopping only long enough to sleep and tank up on insects before continuing their journey to Mexico and beyond. The best spot to find these tiny travelers is in stands of dogwood or mature hackberry which seem to hold the greatest abundance of the insects they prefer.
Although I didn’t encounter any monster bucks on my first excursion to the woods, it really didn’t matter. Just being there was all I needed to call the trip a success.
Leaves are falling and the autumn colors won’t last for long. Neither will the mild October temperatures. If you haven’t made your initial trip to the fall woodlands yet, I’d suggest you don’t delay. Frosty mornings and sunny afternoons make for one of the most enjoyable times of the year to drink in the smells, sights, and sounds of Iowa’s Great Out-of-doors.