I skip Labor Day weekend for hunting

When did the woods get so crowded? I don’t hunt the Labor Day weekend archery seasons anymore, because of all the people.

I went up to the mountains over the Labor Day weekend, but not to hunt. I would have loved to have been out there with my bow in my hand, looking for a nice mule deer or elk to fill up my freezer. But unless I have time to get deep into the wilderness, I don’t bother to hunt until after Labor Day.

Monday was a case in point. To be fair, where I went was an area you can drive to. It’s an area that’s also crisscrossed with logging roads, and those roads are fair game for four-wheelers and side-by-sides. There’s just nowhere to go where you can’t hear the whine of those engines as they zip up and down the roads.

Studies have shown that deer and elk start moving away from the sounds of a pickup truck when the truck is a mile away. But those same deer and elk will start moving when they hear an ATV that’s seven miles away. I could get lucky and be in the right place to have game walk past me as they’re escaping the sounds of ATVs, but with that many of the machines out there, all the huntable animals are probably already holed up in a secluded tree clump miles from anywhere I plan to sit and wait.

I’ve found I have much better luck – and a much more peaceful hunt – if I wait until after Labor Day. After that, most of the recreationists have gotten their fill of forest fun for the year, and quite often, the weather makes that kind of entertainment less enjoyable. Those lower temperatures may not be what the four-wheeler riders are after, but it makes conditions even better for hunting.

So I usually hold off on going hunting until later in the archery season. I’ll maybe take a few days off from work next week, or go up over the following weekend. It’ll be quieter out there in the woods, and maybe I’ll even get to see some elk and deer.