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Muzzleloading 2013 off to a slow start

By ROGER WILLIAMS, SWT Outdoors

I have been disappointed so far this year.

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The deer seem to be avoiding their regular haunts on the mountain where I seek them.

I have found few rubs, no scrapes yet, and there definitely are fewer acorns on the white oaks.

The turkeys are scattered and are not in gangs as they usually are this time of year.

Turkey scratching is scarce and the deer are close to the fields where the grass is still green.

My feeling is that because of the weather fluctuations the normal travel pa

tterns and feeding habits of the herd have not yet entered the winter period.

The rut has not yet begun and the bucks have not abandoned their caution to propagate the herd so far. When the chase begins, my chances improve drastically.

Since this is one reason I hunt, trying to understand why and where the deer are or will be, this hunting season is going to be challenging.

The deer I have seen appear to be healthy and fat.

I have a question you may be able to help me with. I discovered a white pine sapling with a strip of bark peeled from it at about six feet from the ground.

The strip was roughly one inch wide and sixteen inches long. Freshly done, there was no evidence of the strip lying on the ground nor was there any indication that a falling tree had caused the damage.

I am aware that deer will sometimes pull strips of bark from small trees when food is scarce. I wonder if the resinous white pine might be a source of needed nourishment or contain some supplement needed by a deer or another type of animal.

Your input on this unusual feeding source would be appreciated.

Hope your hunting season is enjoyable.

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