Spring and Fall are the best times to take a nature walk. These two times of transition offer the finest conditions for seeing things in the woods. Winter is a great time too but it is the middle of hunting season so you must deal with all of that. Summer in the woods here is buggy during moist days, and during dry days the woods are humid and cloying.
But I like the fall the best for woods walking. The weather here is always changing rapidly so the woods also are changing rapidly. The animals are more active and tracking is fun during this time. Our deer travel south east to north west through our woods, I know where they bed, I know where they feed and I know where the boys hang out together. But all that changes when over a million hunters take to the woods and fields. There are a few good ways to hunt and one way to hunt that is not cool here. Many folks will build tree stands on their property and wait for a deer to come by. Many folks sit and stand on the ground and wait.There are also drives done where two or three hunters wait is a specific area as a line of other hunters moves across the landscape towards the waiting hunters. All these forms of hunting are legal. The one form of hunting that happens here that is not cool is road hunting. people drive up and down the roads looking for deer in an open field and jump out to shoot. This is illegal here but it happens all the time.
But my Brother and I are stalkers, just like my Dad and Grandfather were. We hunted by moving slowly and silently in the woods.
This is a harder form of hunting, one that takes patience and foresight to find deer. Deer cannot identify motionless objects and they are instantly alerted to any kind of movement. They also have very sharp hearing and a keen sense of smell. Anything will spook them to run and they sprint away doing 35 miles an hour for a short period and you are left in their dust. You can follow them all you want, they are never seen again but you can hear them playing the game of leading you astray. Deer will crawl on their belly to hide and get away.
We would go out before hunting season started to find paths and movement, where are the deer moving, how are they traversing the land and looking for the buck rubs that show where the boys rubbed off their velvet. Wet days were good because it was softer and quiet where you walked. We also would walk down a stream to use the rocks and the depression created by the running water to traverse the woods. We stayed off the tops of hills and high points so we would not create a moving shape that could be seen for long distances. We walked across the middle of hills instead of up and down them.
And then we took many many stops to listen and look. My brother still hunts and so doe his two boys but I stopped a long time ago but I still track and stalk today. It's the best time to do that here.
In fact I will do just that now that chores are done.