NATCHEZ, Mississippi — Hunters are beginning to get antsy. Even though the bow season for deer is open, they are waiting for the biggest of them all: gun season.
"Gun season is more popular because more people get out in the woods with a gun than a bow," said Daniel Cavin, an employee of Sports Center in Natchez and hunter. "Bow season has grown in the last few years because of the crossbow, but it is still no comparison to gun season."
The long wait is nearly over, with gun season opening in November. But before hunters can bring in a trophy buck, they have to prepare.
"You don't go hunting until you go out and shoot your gun, and get it sighted in," Cavin said. "You get your stands ready and clean them out. There is preparation to be done, like planting food plots. Most food plots are being planted now until the first part of November."
Preparation is key, but too much of it in the wrong way can cost a hunter a good season.
"They go in and want to run and check cameras, and they do that, but they go in on a four-wheeler and on a regular basis, and eventually the deer gets to the point to where he doesn't stay in that area," Cavin said. "It is already hard enough to get deer to come out in the daylight. When you start messing with them, it takes a toll on them."
And of course, what is a hunter without his weapon?
Choosing the right weapon can be tricky, but Cavin said he has noticed some consistencies during his time.
"A 308 is still a popular choice for kids," he said. "For men, .30-06. There are still some of. A lot of the older men want to shoot something lighter and smaller caliber so there isn't as much kick, so a 308 and 708 are both good choices.
"Other guys, that are younger, want to get into the 300 (Winchester) and 338 Lapua, some of the bigger calibers. It all depends on the person and their preference," he said.
Even with all the preparation and proper weapon choice, Cavin said a successful season comes down to one thing the property.
"The best thing to be a successful hunter is having a good place to do it," he said. "The worst hunter in the world can go kill a good deer on a place with a lot of good deer. If there is one thing that helps you in the woods, it is that. To kill a big deer, you have to have big deer."
The youth gun season opens Nov. 8, early primitive weapons hunt Nov. 10, gun with dogs Nov. 22, primitive weapon Dec. 2 and gun without dogs Dec. 16. Rabbit and squirrel seasons are currently open.
Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/