The hunter, entrepreneur, and major league pitcher shares his tips.
Patrick Urckfitz is the owner and operator of Beaver Creek Game Calls. Business has taken off during its three years of operation but Urckfitz still hand-makes and fine-tunes every call that goes out the door.
And that’s when he’s not busy playing as a pitcher for the Florida Marlins.
We were excited to get the opportunity to ask this avid hunter what it takes to harvest a giant buck on the very first day of archery season.
Alright Patrick, what steps should we be taking right now for opening day?
“Assuming that hunters have been practicing different shots they will encounter in the field, I like to create a checklist of things that need to be covered before opening day. Covering your bases, while making sure all your gear is tuned up and dialed in so when a buck does present a shot, nothing equipment-wise will go wrong.”
What goes on that checklist of yours?
“I am very methodical about my gear because of the fact that when hunting, especially with a bow, a lot can go wrong. Something as little as a weathered peep sight or worn out D-loop can bring a hunt to a screeching halt. Once you know your gear is up for the hunt, you then need to prepare yourself for the hunt.
You do this first by determining where you will sit opening day. Remember, the best spot during last year’s rut doesn’t mean it’s going to be the best spot during the early season. I like to target areas with a lot of oak trees and acorns on the ground. This seems to be a huge food source for deer in the early season as they haven’t transitioned to the more hearty cold weather forage, such as corn.”
Considering you know where a big buck lives, how do you pattern him for opening day success?
“Patterning bucks this time of year can be much easier than trying to pattern them while they are chasing does across the county during the rut. You need to keep a few things in mind when patterning a buck during the early season.
First, figure out what these deer are eating. In my area in Upstate New York, they seem to hit acorns very hard. Therefore, I will hunt areas with producing oak trees. Once you figure where and what they are eating, you are in business.”
What about multiple food sources, or maybe you just don’t know?
“If you can’t figure that out, water is always a good option to find deer signs this time of year. Hot days force them to drink more water than normal. From my experience, bucks this time of year will be more predictable than any other time of the year as they haven’t been hunted or pressured for months. With that said, if you find where your trophy buck is eating and getting his water, you will have a good chance at him.”
When would you try to take him?
“I prefer to hunt the afternoons in the early season as you can sneak into the woods quietly while your trophy buck is bedded down and ambush him on his way to feed in the evening. Once I get to my spot, I will wait a couple minutes and then give out a few contact grunts with our Herd Multi-tone Grunt Call.
Bucks this time of year are on good terms and travel together. A contact grunt is a short grunt that just lets deer in the area know all is well. Another great vocalization to make this time of year is a fawn bleat. That’s another non-aggressive sound bucks are used to hearing during the early season and another sound that can be easily produced with the herd grunt call.”
Check back soon for part two of our interview with Patrick Urckfitz. In the next segment, you will see how he sets up when there is going to be a lot of pressure from other hunters.
He will also share what to do if you just flat out don’t have any time to prepare for opening day.