A few lessons learned from this season

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A few lessons learned from this season

Unread postby bowmike » Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:27 am

I know this is early but heck for the first time in my life I tagged out in archery so I cant post about anything else really in this forum.

Lesson 1) Hunt the wind, and only if you feel you have the right wind, things can change but this season I can say I was only busted once while hunting because of wind. I was hunting the ground, and the deer had he been a legal buck would have been dead long before he busted me. Also take note of what the actual wind does, on documented winds. It may be totally different than you expect from you 10,000' view.

Lesson 2) Hunt Acorns. If you find acorns early you will find deer. I am not saying your hit list buck will come by opening day feeding on them, but if you find acorns early on, it can set you up for filling your doe tag easy. I love to take a doe early, really takes the stress off of things. One tip I found for locating oaks comes after the leaves of other trees fall. If you find a decent trail in lets say muzzle loader season, or an area you know have deer but didn't locate oaks. Take a minute to stand or walk a little extra, and look up. Oaks will hold their leaves after most others fall. The doe I harvested came about because my buddy had a camera on a deer trail. We knew the deer were using it. I walked up the ridge, and he walked down. I walked and set up on the down wind side of the trail. I kept my eyes upward looking for those few trees that still had green leaves on them. I located two large oaks, and after closer inspection found that they were still dropping. I climbed up down wind of them, and took my doe at 4:30. Oaks alone will not guarantee you a deer, and some areas have a ton of them. But in my area they are kind of spotty and these are the areas that will be really successful for you.

Also another tip for finding oaks on areas if you can see the hillside or what have you from the road is spotting the green leaves when all of the other leaves are either down, or bright colors. This can really help you out if you have a decent sense of direction, and can locate them. I try and find a decent little patch of them, and note it. Where I hunt there is no substitute for hunting producing oak trees.

Lesson 3) Target cold fronts! This year I got to take a few evenings after work, and away from the kids. I would check the weather channel and look for those days where it was 60-70 degrees a few days in a row then a 20-30 degree drop. If you are like me and can pick one evening a week to hunt during the week focus on those ones.

Lesson 4) Always have an East wind set up. Anymore there are going to be multiple days that will have East winds with Tropical storms and such in early October. Having this ace in the hole will help you out big time.

Lesson 5) Getting over not finding a deer you hit is the toughest part of the sport for me. Especially if it is a slam dunk shot in your mind. If this happens you will feel miserable, give it every aspect that you can to recover you deer. Knowing that you gave it every ounce of energy will help ease some of the pain. After that practice with our bow, and rebuild that confidence, and be sure something did not happen to your bow that caused your error.

Lesson 6) This one goes for those warmer Saturdays that start off cool, in Later part of October but warm up. Personally I took a gamble and dropped my deer stuff at 10, and went turkey hunting but really was scouting for deer. Heck you can even take your bow. This would be one of those days where you pretty much know it is before the rut, and daylight activity is down. Form a few educated guesses on areas you want to target. The sign in those areas will be fresh. I would not target suspected buck bedding areas, but target travel corridors, try to find scrape lines, and such. Be precise in your attack, as you don't want to stink up your entire area, do a few spot checks and see what is happening real time. Those early season patterns have changed, and a deer you have on camera may not be in that area any longer. This pay off big for me as I was able to locate an area with a ton of scrapes and such. I had to take a gamble if by the next weekend that sign would be fresh, but try and add pieces of the puzzle together as you make your notes. For me, the scrapes surrounding the clear cut was an indication that does must be bedding in there. My thought was that when I had a wind where the wind would be blowing through the clear cut bucks would be scent checking down wind of that, or cruising within the cut. My idea then was I would either catch them cruising or be able to call them in from the clear cut if they were not with a doe, or they could chase a doe from the clear cut right to me. I lucked out and that wind I asked for was perfect.

Lesson 7) Don't be afraid to call, but if you do ALWAYS look around first before calling. Even if it is perfectly quiet!!! I was also fortunate in my area that the bucks were very responsive to calling this year. But I was unfortunate that the biggest buck I saw all season was spooked when I didn't first look around to check if there were deer on my first. One note on calling though for me is that I kind of wait until Halloween, or a bit before to get any kind of aggressiveness out of it. Kind of guage it off of the amount of buck sign you are seeing, I guess. I have never called one in the early season, and don't call that much. It may be a mistake on my side, but I just don't feel they are that responsive early.

When I call I try to paint a picture. My first calls are just contact grunts. I am doing them quiet at first, nothing very aggressive. I just want the deer to think there is a deer in my territory I must confront. I would say I do this more in that mid to late October, or do it in the rut but lead it into my next sequence.

After I Do contact grunts I want to make is seem like that buck found a doe. I do a few grunts and mix in a bleat or two. After a couple of those I pick it up with a bleat then a few quick grunts like the buck is chasing that doe. Maybe a few longer drawn out grunts like a buck who is ticked the doe wont stand. I don't do them in a deeper buck grunt sound though. I don't want to spook any bucks because they fear it is a bigger buck. But then again I don't trophy hunt.

I will pause a little after to listen. Maybe 3-4 minutes to check. I like this because it does 2 things for the buck. 1 there is a buck in his territory, and 2 there is a doe, that he may be able to breed.

If nothing comes in to that I then go to a stand off between two bucks. A few contact grunts and maybe a longer grunt followed by a snort weeze or 2. Ill wait a minute or so do a snort weeze then start rattling.

By doing these in a progression In my opinion you paint the perfect picture to call a buck in, now there are 2 bucks in his territory he may want to confront, and also there is an unattended doe.

After any of these calling sequences grab your bow right away. They can come flying in if they are in the right state of mind. Be standing, bow in had, with release clipped on.

Lesson 8) Hunt down wind of doe bedding in the rut. I dunno seems like a no brainer, but this year instead of hunting travel corridors, I chose to hunt down wind of doe bedding instead. I can saw I saw more bucks. I guess you need to gauge the stage of the rut your area is in. Heck 5 miles down the road they may not even be sniffing yet. If you see chasing going on, my advice is to set up down wind of doe bedding in lieu of travel corridors, if you see more cruising bucks, hit up the travel corridors. Either way both are productive, but for me the doe bedding areas were the ticket this year. Years past it was travel corridors. Gauge it from what you or others are seeing in your area is my best advice.

Lesson 9) Keep it fun for you and your family. This one is the most important to me. Some times I get too obsessed over things, and can find myself leaving my family in the dust. This year I hunted mornings, and evenings on Saturdays, and only one day a week in the early season. This actually made for a great season for me. I had to be precise on my stand choices, to give me the best chance for success. It also keeps you from being burned out. I know that hunting is a thing that may consume a lot of your lives, and I am not going to lecture anyone, but coming out of the woods early is not so bad. Seeing my kids face light up even if I didn't get a deer is always huge.

I am in no way a pro hunter, nor do I stack up with most of you on this page. I just wanted to share the lessons I learned this year, and things that worked for me. I am sure there will be objections to the advice I gave and such, but I just wanted to share my experiences.

Hope you guys can learn something or pick up something from this that you don't currently do or may try. I know I have picked up a lot from you. Thank you all for the kind words on my season, and I wish you all the best of luck.

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Re: A few lessons learned from this season

Unread postby jwilkstn » Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:59 am

Great tips, thank you for sharing!

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Re: A few lessons learned from this season

Unread postby Kokes » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:28 am

some good stuff here nice write up
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Re: A few lessons learned from this season

Unread postby Stanley » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:30 am

You can fool some of the bucks, all of the time, and fool all of the bucks, some of the time, however you certainly can't fool all of the bucks, all of the time.

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