Story by Tom Pagliaroli

It’s here! That magical two-week window when whitetail bucks go lovin’ loco sniffing and searching for estrus does, i.e. females in heat that drive the antler boys to utter, and oftentimes, fatal distraction.

To be sure, now through the second week in November is the time to be in the woods, tucked next to swamps and along field/woodland edges from a half-hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset, with no break time.

Why? Because a buck can appear any time of day, nose to the ground or up in the wind trailing a doe that left her sex-charged urine response in the little patch of scratched out earth (a “scrape” in deer hunting parlance) in which he allowed his pee to dribble down over his metatarsal glands located in his rear hind hocks. The nose-wrinkling deposit tells the willing babe whitetail the antlered man of her dreams is in the house, and leave your number.

The end result of this lustful game of tag can be frustrating in that there is no way to know when or where the love-struck buck will show. The pre-season patterning that was reasonably accurate is out the window, the corollary being that hey, if you can’t get to the stand or blind for the early morning or later afternoon-to-dusk movement, no worries: Mr. Rack can show at 8 or 9, noon, or just as soon as the sun lights the tips of the branches…or anytime in between. Most importantly, he can appear downright oblivious to any kind of threat as he’s addicted to love.

With the statewide archery deer season concluding tonight a half-hour after sunset, it’s incumbent upon the hunter to procure a permit (available at license issuing agents or www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com) for the extended season (check pages 38-40 in the Hunting & Trapping Digest for dates). The kicker is that if you are after antlers, the cost is $56 and that includes a permit for a doe as well. If you’re just interested in venison as in an “anterless” (doe or button buck) deer the fee is $28.

Make no mistake about it, this is the prime time to lose an arrow, especially if the quest is a respective area’s dominant buck The harvest numbers tell the story: during the 2016 autumn bow season, the take was 15,101 whitetails, with the autumn permit bow season resulting in a take of 10,247, with some of the biggest/highest scoring racks tallied during the rut-influenced period.

Fall Turkey Week Starts Saturday

Ah, yes. The time of year that just keeps giving!

The autumn turkey season kicks in this Saturday and continues through Saturday, November 4. Unlike during the four-week spring season, hens are legal quarry along with jakes (immature, aka “teenage” males) and gobblers.

Different techniques are employed, such as group hunting (no more than five allowed) where a flock of turkeys is rushed and busted so the birds scatter; with dogs, again, the canines rush the flock and it scatters; and also by an individual who can flush a flock.

Then, it’s a matter of getting situated and after a 10-15 minute wait, calling to locate the birds. Autumn turkey flocks hate being separated and soon start sending “Here I am, where are you?” calls in the hopes of re-grouping.

Permits are available at license issuing agents or via www.NJ.WildlifeLicense.com and the ticket is $21. The bag limit is one hen, jake or gobbler, and the bird must be brought to a mandatory check station (page 60 of the Hunting & Trapping Digest) by 7 p.m. Both shotgun (10, 12, 16 and 20 gauge; #4-#7-1/2 shot) and archery equipment (long, recurve, compound and crossbow; minimum pull weight 35 lbs.; 75 lb. for crossbow). Hunting hours are half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset. No baiting allowed, and fluorescent orange not required.

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