Deer Hunters: Don’t Be Stupid, Get Out of the Truck
It's the most wonderful time of year for deer hunters in South Dakota. Despite the horribly warm weather, the rifle season is underway in the Black Hills and select West River units. The regular West River opener is this Saturday and the East river season opens the following Saturday.
If you are hunting one of these seasons, please, don't be stupid - get the hell out of your truck.
Last week a buddy and I were hunting in the Black HIlls. It was great until Saturday.
We were hunting near a forest service road after driving in quietly with lights out at 6:30 AM, about an hour before sunrise. Since it was the first weekend of the season there were more hunters around and many of them never got out of their trucks. They just drove around hoping to encounter a deer. It was absolutely maddening.
The first truck turned off of a more traveled road toward the clearing where I was. They were definitely truck hunting, not on their way to a spot. I know this because the direction they came from meant they drove the whole loop from the other side where the road started. They didn't take the short route.
Also, it was 8:15 AM, more than an hour after shooting time. After the previous two days we knew that between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM was the prime movement time in this spot. They were being lazy and likely scared away the deer that had been moving through that area from the east the previous two days.
When they saw me 100 yards away on the other side of the clearing they went in reverse and drove down another section of road, hit its end and drove back.
I later saw two guys in an ATV drive by. Of course, that is a common sight in the Black Hills on a nice day and I knew it might be a problem for us, but to see an ATV drive by with two dudes in camo clothing and blaze orange hats was perplexing. The vehicle's muffler might as well have been a machine gun. It was loud!
Later when we left the noisy, lazy-hunter-filled area, we saw their truck. It was parked at the entrance to this set of roads with an ATV trailer attached, Realtree seat covers, and deer skull stickers plastering the back window. Highway vehicles were allowed on all of those roads.
I'm not sure why they drove the ATV, which was a model with no back seat or storage, when they had a big F-250 they could have quietly driven back to a place near their spot. This would have served Mr. Bone Collector well if he actually harvested a deer, but I guess it was more important to play with his noisy toy two hours after sunrise than it was to actually hunt.
We left and drove to a spot we had heard was good. It was a 90 minute drive on gravel way back into the Black Hills where we wouldn't see a soul. We didn't mostly because we after the long drive we walked over a mile to get to the spot. My buddy walked even farther scouting the far side of the area. It was the opposite of maddening. It was great hunting and I got a doe on my last day to hunt while there.
The two years I have hunted in Sully County on public land there is a guy in a blue truck who drives in on the access road way after sunrise, sits for 45 minutes, then drives away. Then comes back an hour or so later and does the same thing. I've never seen him get out of his truck. I have seen him scare away deer other hunters and myself had a shot at getting.
Hunting public land in South Dakota is tough. With the exception of the Black Hills, you have to share small slivers of land and hope that game lands in a spot where not only can you shoot it, but also recover it without it running onto private land. We have to share and I don't pretend that I'm the sole owner of a spot on public land. It's frustrating sometimes but I don't get mad about it and I have not encountered too many that weren't good people. That said, I don't share intel on the deer I have seen. (Sinister laugh.)
If you're like me and hunting public land please don't be stupid. Wear your orange, don't be noisy, don't point loaded guns at people, don't shoot over hill tops, the basics.
And please, get the hell out of your truck. As the GFP website says, it's unethical and can be dangerous. By the way, shooting from the road or from a vehicle will get you a hefty fine and you won't be hunting for a year.