Just like a lot of things in life, hunting in an intensively-farmed area can be a blessing or a curse. If wet weather prevents harvest or a late planting keeps crops in the field until mid-November, deer can hole up in crop fields and make finding them extremely difficult. Conversely, if all the crop fields are out by rut, pinpointing funnels to intercept searching and chasing deer is greatly simplified and success rates usually skyrocket. If plantings are really early and weather enables an equally early harvest, sometimes residual corn or soybeans might be worn out before the late season hits and finding a quality food source can be troubling for the hunters AND the deer. Bottom line – when the crops are harvested can make or break large chunks of the hunting season in the Midwest.
This is not something I’ve had to deal with for an entire hunting season, though I’ve experienced the joys and frustrations of combine activity on a short-term basis on hunts in Kansas and Mississippi. The general consensus right now is that due to the early wet weather and flooding, plantings are generally late but harvest is on track to be complete by the time Halloween rolls around – arguably optimal timing. This gets a little complicated on the public lands that I’ll be hunting as a good number of those fields are left unharvested as food for wildlife. This is great since there is usually food left come January for late season hunting, but it leaves more places for the deer to hide during the best windows of the pre-rut and rut.