Editor’s Note: The weather may be hot, and the woods may be dry, but the early part of deer season across the U.S. may be one of the best times to take a buck. However, early-season success may require a different set of strategies from those to which many hunters are accustomed.
Dry weather at the first of deer season can be good and bad news for the deer hunter. When the ground is dry, human scent doesn’t stay on the ground nearly as long as when the ground is wet. But, walking in the woods in dry weather can sound as if you have a herd of elephants in tow, because you will make just about that much noise. During the early dry days of deer season, three basic tactics work best for the deer hunter.
First, since tree stand hunting is relatively noiseless, arrive at your tree stand about 30-45 minutes before you normally do, realizing that you’ll probably spook game on the way to the stand, use a GPS to insure you reach the right spot and not get lost. But, by getting to the stand earlier, the woods will have time to settle down before the prime hunting time that comes just at daylight. Stay in the stand as long as you can, then stay an hour longer, because when you get down, you’ll spook all the game for which you’ve been waiting.
Second, if there are shallow streams running through the area you hunt, use a pair of thigh-high waders to enter the streams and still-hunt for deer. The water will cover the sound of your movement, and usually, the bank of the stream or creek will camouflage the visual impact of your passing. Wading streams for deer allows you to cover quite a bit of ground and see plenty of deer that are feeding and moving in the bottoms.
The only other tactic that may have a reasonable chance of producing a buck, especially a trophy buck, during early-season, hot-weather conditions is to float creeks, streams or rivers where you have the permission of the landowner to hunt. The key phrase here is, “Where you have the permission of the landowner to hunt.” Taking deer from a boat is only permitted on lands where the sportsman has permission to hunt. Various regulations apply to hunting from a boat, a canoe or a kayak in each state. Be sure you know the rules in the state where you’re hunting. Also, in some states, a motor cannot be used – or even be in the water – when hunting from a boat.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, Print and Audible versions, at (http://amzn.to/YpoQHA).
Tomorrow: Pinpointing Big Buck Deer Early