A Deer and a Bass
article by Kenny Covington
As I have gotten older, I find that I still enjoy the outdoors as much as I ever did. To me, there is no better way to spend a day than to be on the water trying to outsmart a bass or two. I used to hunt a little bit when I was much younger, but that was only for animals, such as squirrels and rabbits, because it allowed me to move around much more than it required me to sit still in one place. I don’t have the patience to sit and wait for something to come by and, hopefully, get a shot at it.
To some people, hunting and fishing have nothing in common, but if you really think about it, they are both very much the same. Even the main quarry, the whitetail deer and largemouth bass, while being completely different, are remarkably quite similar.
Over the years, I have listened to enough good hunters to realize the common factors of both animals and it is no surprise to me that many good anglers I know are also good deer hunters. When it comes to being successful in the woods and on the water, both require knowledge of the quarry, skill in both activities as well as a little bit of luck and a lot of patience.
Both deer and bass are creatures of the edge. The deer will use a thick growth of trees to conceal themselves when trying to move from a feeding area to a bedding area. A bass will hide on the shade line of a dock or underneath a canopy of weeds to conceal themselves from unsuspecting prey.
A bass will use a grass line to travel from deep to shallow water in much the same way a deer will use a tree line to move from one area to another. Both will use areas to prepare for a heavy feeding activity or recover from it.
Both deer and bass become heavily nocturnal when temperatures get high, on land and for water, during the summer months. It doesn’t mean you can’t see or catch them respectively at these times but usually the early mornings or late afternoons are better for both.
Larger deer and bigger bass are both usually harvested or caught during their respective reproductive or spawning rituals. Their movements and feeding patterns become more predictable and they become less concerned with human activity making them more susceptible to those who stalk them.
Truly trophy bucks and larger bass, say over six pounds, are often loners and many times are found in smaller areas with a heavy cover base as their sanctuary. These individual animals are often replaced by another larger animal that will habitat the same area or piece of cover. Big deer and big bass don’t become old by being dumb. They know how to put the survival odds in their favor. A good place to hide that will allow easy access to food is at the top of their lists.
Both deer and bass have always been popular when it comes to conservation efforts. The idea is pretty simple: conserve game populations at their ideal numbers. The animals need protection from overhunting and hunters need to be protected from a dwindling deer population. The current state regulation on season limit is six deer per season, not to exceed three antlered or four antlerless deer.
Bass limits are currently pretty well set and have been for years with the exceptions being on certain lakes that impose a “slot limit,” which helps to conserve the more reproductive size from being harvested, resulting in better fisheries. There is not a state defined size limit however, certain waterways designate said size limitations the anglers must adhere to. The same goes for the legal amount an angler can remove from a given body of water. For most of the state that limit is ten per day. However, it can vary based on specific bodies of water.
I have heard on more than one occasion about there not being any deer in particular areas or that this lake or that lake has been “fished out.” As sportsmen, we tend to overstate our greatness as hunters or fishermen and even more so we tend to ignore basic facts.
We, as sportspeople, are not capable of fishing out a lake. We are no longer capable of killing all of the deer. Those that say this, well that is simply ego speaking. We have more fish in our lakes now than we have ever had before. We also have more people fishing for them. The same can be said about deer hunting. The deer population in this country is as large as it has ever been, and there are more deer hunters than we have ever seen. Both bass and deer continue to flourish.
Please be careful while in the woods and on the water. With the extra people on the road, pay close attention going to and coming from wherever your outdoor destination may be. One accident is one accident too many.
Take care, see you next month and catch one for me!