River Valley Hunting
Deer hunters, lucky enough to have already bagged their trophies, don’t need to come out of the woods yet – continue enjoying the woods by hunting for partridge and scouting for next year’s deer-hunting location.
This time of year, right in the middle of the deer season, happens to be the perfect time of the year for scouting out new locations for next year – if you already have your deer in the freezer.
Most whitetail activity can be patterned easily now, because deer will be moving in relation to the current breeding season. Hunters won’t have to guess at where the deer will be during next year’s deer hunt.
Be sure to dress with blaze orange, as the law requires during deer season, and carry a shotgun in case a late-season bird flushes. All of those partridge that were spotted during the early part of deer season are still there, waiting for the persistent shotgunner.
After taking an early-season deer a few times myself, I have found a certain pleasure in hunting for birds the rest of November. While bird hunting, I can roam the woods at will, checking out new locations that I would normally pass up if I happened to be in “deer-hunting-mode.”
I like to fill a small backpack with a lunch, and some supplies in case I find an ideal, far-off hunting location. I even go so far as to carry a lightweight, folding saw to make a quick framework for a ground blind if the location looks extra promising.
Then, when next hunting season rolls around, I’m already more than half way done with preparing the hunting site – all I have to do is clear the ground of leaves and sticks, and fill in the framework with some finishing touches. Setting up a ground blind the year before also allows me to keep the location more free of human scent and activity during the current season.
If there happens to be a little snow on the ground it makes scouting even better. Rubs and scrapes, as well as tracks and beds, show up so much clearer with a white blanket of snow covering the forest floor.
Partridge tracks show up better on a snow-covered forest floor, too. When I find the fresh trail of a November bird winding its way through the snowy forest, it almost gets as exciting as tracking a big buck.
I always take along a few gallon-sized, plastic bags with locking seals. When I do connect on a partridge, cleaning the bird and my hands with a handful of snow makes short work of a messy task. Then I put another handful of clean snow in the gallon bag with the bird, seal it, and tuck the chilled bird in my vest.
At home, I dice partridge breasts into one-inch cubes and sauté with olive oil, butter, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Combine the lightly-browned meat with a serving of wild rice or potato, mushrooms, and a vegetable for a completely satisfying evening meal.
Late November bird hunting, with scouting in mind, creates a perfect combination for those crisp and sunny fall days. Nothing generates a bigger hunger for me than a brisk November bird hunt. Bagging a partridge or two for the suppertime pan fills the belly and comforts the soul – and breaks up the routine of so many scrumptious venison meals.