Finally, season is here. In this blog I’m going to break down how we tackle every part of the season. This is how we have been successful, but it may not be the same for you.
It’s finally time for the first sit. We normally play it safe this time of year. We are hunting the edge or hunting public deep on bedding areas. We use our cameras a ton this time of year letting them dictate where we hunt. We are waiting on a drop in temp or a buck in daylight before we make a move. Never crushing in to our best spots, unless we are sure we can kill. We will try to take a doe or 2 in this time frame, knock the rust off, and build the confidence.
October 15th – Oct 31st
This time of October we see scrapes really popping up, some in new places and those same ritualistic community scrapes that are in the same spot year after year. A cold front can be really deadly here, as this is usually one of the first times we see temps in the 30’s. One thing we have really keyed on in this time frame is a rain storm. Not a thunderstorm, or a crazy down pour but a nice heavy rain during the day, we will try to slip in to a known open and active scrape. With the rain falling it will quiet our access and keep our scent down. Low and slow is the key when getting to the stand on this type of set up. Them bucks, after the rain stops will come and hit that scrape. My 2017 kill is this exact set up. Last note about this time, is for some reason the last 3 years on halloween night, I have had a shooter on cam. Obviously I am at home filling dad duties, but hopefully this trend can continue for the next 12 years and then I will be able to capitalize. Depending on stand and situation, we are still open to taking a doe, but has the be the right scenario for us to do so.
November 1 – November 20
This time of the year is what we wait on all year. In the last 5 or so years through our observation and trail cam data, we are noticing how deer rut differently according to property. One day chasing hard here, and dead on our next property. We are setting up on those heavy pinch points, draws, and known doe bedding. This time is where we are sitting our best sets. Tried and true travel corridors year after year, and past hunts. All day sits have become a popular decision for us this time of the year, as mid day movement picks up, we have never killed a good buck during mid day (11a-2p) but we can not say it is not from a lack of trying. We try not to shoot any does during this time, as we have already tagged one or banking on late season.
November 20 – December 3
By this time of the year, most states have had a gun season or 2 come in, and the deer have been heavily pressured, a bowhunter’s nightmare. Through all of that, this time is one of the best that we have seen in our short time hunting the deer woods. We have seen the biggest bucks in daylight during this time, Mr. Freeze year before killed, and drop-tine buck Cody lost 2 years before that, with trail cam data to prove it. Its something we have not covered much on the podcast but it has definitely produced for us. As a bowhunter your spirits can be a little down with the gun seasons and the high amount of pressure, you can feel like not going for a few weeks, usually during this time. Them yearling does coming in to estrous, gets those big bucks up and chasing as they know their window to breed is getting shorter by the day. We might take a doe during a gun season but all goes back to that right scenario and stand location.
December 4 – January 15
During this late season time, things can be slow, or they can be exciting. All depends on the weather and if you have a desired food source. During this time I feel like if you see one, you can see a ton, of deer. The herd starts grouping back up and can make for some quick hunts as you watch deer pile out into a plot or food source, and lose track of time. This time of the year if it is slow we reflect on some of our more exciting hunts from the year. Deer are usually back on some sort of bed to feed pattern, if you have one or the other, your chances are still pretty high at having some good encounters. Deer only now have one thing on their mind and that is food, and conserving energy. We focus on food plots and destination fields, or that heavily used trail from bedding heading to a food source. We will take some does if presented an opportunity, to make sure we have a freezer full. Enjoy the journey, keep pushing, and dress warm.
This is how we approach our seasons and what we have noted, and what works for us. Deer transition throughout the season and as soon as you notice the change they are changing again. Keeping good notes, and remembering when those changes happen can keep you in the game longer. We are slow learners, but its part of the journey as a hunter.