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Guns and Cornbread: Deer Hunting Questions to the Outdoor Writer

Well there we were watching the latest insanity on TV, it could have been Keeping Up With the Kardashians or a Senate Confirmation Hearing, take your pick and somehow here we are looking down the barrel at deer season. Now most of you know deer season is actually going on now, bow season is in or soon will be in most of the states where you loyal readers see these pages.

It occurred to me after going over the vast amount of correspondence we are receiving (OK, maybe it’s not “vast” and there is no “we”, just me) that maybe another episode of “Letters to the Outdoor Writer” is about due. I mean you guys and girls out there have these burning questions and who better than me to answer them, right? (It’s kind of rhetorical; you don’t have to respond to that)

So being as it is that time of year, we may stick to fielding questions on deer and deer hunting, or we may just see what we pull out of the ol’ mail bag. (OK, there is no mail bag! But I do have a couple on my desk and some guy did ask me something standing in the check-out line at Wally World.)

Dear Outdoor Writer, Last night my husband and I had a terrible fight. Right after dinner he gave me a list of several dates that he says he will be deer hunting. The dates stretch from mid-October to January, he said these dates are during the “rut” and it is very important that he goes hunting those days. What is the rut, why is it so important, and how do hunters know the best days to be out deer hunting? If you can answer me I may call him over at Motel 6 and tell him now I understand. Bewildered in Bluefield, WV

Dear Be, Don’t fret young lady these are common questions from family members of afflicted deer hunters. In short the period we know as the rut is the mating season for deer and during this time male deer display many bizarre behaviors to include rubbing antlers on trees, some will wallow in mud and dust, sparring and fighting with other male deer, and herding females together. (Much like 20 to 30 year old male humans) Hunters know that buck deer will be seen during this period time of year like no other, so they want to be on their deer stands.

Some outdoor writers and hunting show TV personalities have made a career out of predicting the exact day to be in the woods for maximum exposure to the rut. It is still somewhat unclear how they can tell us that October 31, November 4, November 15, (don’t forget, that is your favorite outdoor writers birthday) and December 5 can be the best days to hunt. Some of them will tell you it has to do with phases of the moon, barometric pressure or maybe if wooly worm caterpillars are mostly brown or black this year.

As far as helping with your marital bliss, maybe you can come to a compromise on the number of days he will hunt. I wouldn’t count on it though and maybe you can get used to visiting him over at Motel 6 and he can leave the light on for you.

Dear Outdoor Writer, What is the best rifle caliber for deer hunting? Undecided in Chattanooga TN

Dear Un, This of course it the veritable question of the ages for deer hunters and they have been arguing about this since your Great, Great Granddad laid down his ball and cap rifle and started shooting a rifle with metallic cartridges. The different sides of this issue fall into two camps, the use an adequate caliber side and the “go big” side.

Those on the adequate caliber side tend to stick with tried and true calibers like the venerable .30/30 Winchester and the .30/06. These two calibers alone have accounted for more whitetail deer (and mule deer for that matter) than probably any other. They are accurate, reliable, and have more than enough velocity, bullet weight, and what hunters call “knockdown power” to take any deer sized animal on the planet.

Hunters who may tend toward larger calibers will sometimes go with some of the magnum calibers to include the .300 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum, .338 Lapua Magnum, or even (shudder) the .375 Holland and Holland Magnum. All of these calibers will take your deer just as humanely as the caliber in the “adequate” category, kind of like you can take out a fly with flyswatter, or use a sledgehammer, both will work.   

Dear Outdoor Writer, Is Professional Wrestling Real? Not sure in Pulaski VA.

Dear Not, Yes it is but like deer during the rut some people just go crazy over it, and as in choosing rifle calibers they sometimes go overboard.

– Larry Case w/ Guns & Cornbread. If you would like to contact Larry Case, email him at Larryocase3@gmail.com. See Larry’s online blog at GunsandCornbread.com

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