31 Jul 10 Early Season Whitetail Tips
The time is coming, at only six weeks away for most of us, the season of 2015-16 begins for most of us bow hunting whitetail addicts! If you are brave enough to battle the heat and humidity, the early season can be an excellent time to be in the woods. Here are a few early season tips and tactics to help you get the job done early.
1) Do Your Homework
So many guys simply find a few nice trials, throw up a ladder stand, hanger or come in with a climber and just wait. On RARE occasion that works, but for most of us that just ends up being 5 to 6 hours of sitting in mother nature’s sauna. If you wanna up your odds, you had better do your homework. This is the day and age of cameras, and if you are able, make the investment to purchase a few good quality cameras. I have close to 15-20 Covert Scouting Cameras that are my eyes come June through the last few weeks past season…to see what made it through the year. There is no need of wasting your time in a tree seat, when big daddy ain’t within 2 miles of your stand.
2)Pay Attention to Details
Let’s go back to the cameras. It is great having a couple of giants showing up on your cameras, BUT if they are all showing up at night, you probably are wasting your time hunting those spots during the daylight hours. I save those spots for late season and do my best not to hunt those areas in fear of spooking that buck of a lifetime to my neighbor’s farm. I tend to look at the camera to see if I can pattern a buck. It try to keep logs of wind directions, moon phases, etc…to see if that buck has a preference to greet my stand location.
3) Glass, Glass, Glass
Come early season, if I have lower standing crops, such as beans, I will spend us much time as I can glassing a particular crop. Early season bucks are VERY easy to pattern for the most part when it comes to feeding time and field entry locations. I often try to pinpoint exactly where that buck is coming out and look for specific trees or ways to mark that location. I also try to keep wind direction in mind. There might be a predominant wind and if the spot is not conducive to a good wind, I will hold off. Spook a smart ole’ buck once, and you will most likely not get another shot at him.
4) Look for the Food
Come early season I look for solid food sources. I am looking hard for white oaks that are dropping their brown beauties. I look for for red oaks when the white oaks are less fruitful. I look for persimmons. Deer love em’, yet I will say I have been in some areas where the deer just don’t mess with them…must be an acquired taste thing?? I also look for travel corridors. If I know a buck is feeding somewhere late, I often try to see where I can catch him headed to that feeding location…in hopes of ambushing him in daylight hours. With that being said, I still put my cameras in suspected travel routes to see if my hunch is correct. I like to be certain as much as possible.
5) Don’t Spook Them
This one is simple. You must make sure that your travel route to your stand or blind won’t spook the deer. That is often just as important as the stand location. If you plan on walking through the bedding area to get to your stand, you are gonna be eating tag soup. Also, if you have to walk across a field that allows deer to see you on the way in, you probably aren’t gonna be bringing home the venison beacon.
6) Practice, Practice, Practice
I practice practically five to seven days per week. Too many guys pull their bows out one to two weeks before season and begin shooting. That is like going to the gym for two weeks and then trying to step on stage at the Mr. Olympia! I often hunt in KY and have stand locations that might allow for a 40 to 50 yard shot. I practice enough that I feel very confident at that range. That make the 20 and 30 yard shots seem like chip-shots.
7) Watch Your Sent
I am a scent free fanatic! I also sweat like a big boy running a marathon. I try my best to keep my clothes as scent free as possible by washing them with scent free detergent after every hunt, especially in the early season. I also douse my close clothes and gear down with scent free spray. If my budget can allow it, I stock up on the scent killing clothing. Man, it ain’t cheap! I also wash myself with scent free soap; use scent free deodorant and keep scent free towelettes very handy. Don’t go to Joe-Shmoes’ Diner for some grub in your camo and then out to your favorite honey hole. That is like going to a Krispy Kreme donut shop before heading over to Weight Watchers…it doesn’e make much sense. Stay as scent free as possible.
8)Keep The Bugs Off
I have learned the hard way with getting LYME last year. It is very dangerous! I wear Sawyers Tick Repellent Spray and the super light weight tick proof undergarment made by RynoSkin or Cabela’s Bugs Skinz. That stuff is AMAZING! However, for mosquitoes I always bring my ThermaCells. Those are also AMAZING! You best have those come early season or you will probably be miserable!
9) Stay Out
I said I used trail cameras a lot. However, if I KNOW a buck is coming out of a thicket or a specific pocket of woods, I will not go in there. I will lie low and find the perfect to put up a ground blind or “possibly” a climber if the spot allows. There is no need of getting in the middle of a bucks territory when you know he is in there and has a fairly common feeding pattern.
10) Know the Range
Finally, I do my best to always bring my range finder. I also often bring it early season and range specific trees or landmarks…in case I accidentally forget it. It does happen to all of us. That allows me to “better” judge a deer’s distance. A good range finder is worth its weight in gold, unless you are an avid 3D shooter and are gifted at distance judging. I for one am not, LOL!
I hope these TEN tips help you bag that buck of a lifetime this year. God Bless and Happy Hunting!
By Chad Davis