DEER PHOTO

A first trophy Kyle Schmitt, a seventh-grader who mixes football, playing the saxophone and being a member of the National Junior Honor Society with hunts with his dad, George, took his first buck on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. They were hunting on his Uncle Jerry Schmitt's lease in West Baton Rouge Parish. His mom, Dana Ligon, said her 13-year-old son hunts with a 7mm Remington magnum and took his trophy whitetail with a single 90-yard shot.

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You asked for it, all you deer, duck, goose and rabbit hunters out there, and you got it.

And this time Mother Nature added lagniappe to your request for cold weather with a dollop of snow to top off your field, forests and marshes.

So, now that it’s time to start scouting in earnest for the just-right location to spot that soon-to-be-rutting whitetail buck, it’s time to think about a couple of helpful tactics to employ for the next three to five weeks.

Recent emails have been filled with hunting tips. We mentioned a couple in November, the main one being to take care about the scent you carry into the woods and to your stand.

There are lots of others. After talking with a couple of old-time local hunters, it’s clear the next message is to do as much as you can without an ATV.

Boiling down several thousand words on this subject, the gist is deer are smart enough to associated the sound of an ATV with your presence. It’s especially not good when the ATV is used only during the hunting season.

Case in point: We hunted several hundred acres bordering a swamp for years, and because the landowner used an old truck to haul materials for projects on the land and near the swamp, the deer seldom moved at the sound of that truck. Put a four-wheeler or another truck on the headlands, and the deer rapidly sprinted (as only deer can do) from sight.

Another is years ago on about 400 acres near Little Bayou Sara off the Angola Road. For three years we walked to take stands in downed trees or other concealed spots and saw deer on all but one trip (and saw the biggest buck I’ve ever seen three or four times and let him walk — he was an impressive animal).

An acquaintance leased the land the next season, and, two months into the season, asked what I’d done to see all those deer: Baiting? Calling? Doe-in-ertrus scents? What?

Told him nothing special, except I scouted the area — it had some rugged spots. We found places where the deer traveled and set up in those spots. He didn’t believe me, then I asked if he walked.

“Nope. Take the bike in there,” he said.

That was the answer. He was spooking the deer and didn’t know it. He introduced a foreign sound into their environment.

Look, I’m not trying to cut ATV sales. They’re a very useful tool for hunters, but maybe it’s time to walk to the stand, then walk back to get the four-wheelers to bring your deer back to the camp.

All we’re getting at is it might be time to change your approach. At least do something different.

If you're walking in, being as quiet as possible, then think about moving your stand.

How many times, especially on afternoon hunts, have you seen a deer look directly at your stand before moving from heavy woods to a feeding spot. I've had this happen so many times early on, that I decided to distract the deer as best as I could. So I used apples. Cut small apples (you want to pick very fragrant apples) into three pieces and scatter them around the stand with hopes the smell would distract the deer in case it wandered out when I decided to fidget in the stand.

Did you hear?

The last report from the Midwest is snow and the chill have sent ducks packing for southern climes. The State Waterfowl Study crew is scheduled to be out this week for the December aerial survey before Saturday’s start of the second split in all three waterfowl zones.

Com’mon sun

Water loses its heat slowly and tends to regain it slowly, so this current cold snap isn’t likely to cripple the first-rate fishing in most of the coastal marshes.

But, if we get many more stretches of days like we had last week — four days without sunshine and three days with cold precipitation — then we’d best start trying to find the deep holes to take trout and reds.

This week’s sunshiny forecast should help stabilize the conditions. Yes, it’ll be cold, but the sun sure helps chase that morning chill.

Please dress in layers and take warm liquids.

2018 calendar

Dec. 22 is the deadline for submitting activities and events for The Advocate's Outdoors 2018 Calendar scheduled to be published Thursday, Jan. 4.

Please include: Event's name/title, time, date and location including the site, address and city.

Also include all fees, age limits or skill-level requirements and any other particulars for the event, including beneficiaries for fundraising events.

Other requirements are a full name of the contact person with the area code and phone number and e-mail address.

Send to Joe Macaluso, Advocate outdoors, P.O.Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821 or email: outdoors@theadvocate.com.