Can you ever really be too early?
The peak of the rut is fast approaching and the orange army is very close to taking to the woods. When this happens, thousands of hunters will all take to the woods well before sunlight to get set and ready before first light. Well, some do. Some though, they are out there long before the rest of us. That's all well and good, but, how early is too early to get out to your stand? Does it even make a difference?
Where I hunt, we mostly pattern the hunters that hunt around us. Every year like clockwork, one group of hunters make their way to their stands about 20 minutes before first light. We know this because we normally see their lights slowly walking on the horizon through their woods across a nearby field.
Our goal is simple; no matter what, we have to beat them out. The reason? They push a lot of deer our way.
We all know deer move at first and last night. So when it comes time to get out to your stand in morning, is there a too early? As long as you're warm and hard-headed enough to gut it out through at least late morning, what's it matter?
In most cases, I prefer to make it out and be settled about one hour before civil sunrise. Yes, it's cold. Yes, it sucks sometimes. However, almost always the first one out there. In my opinion, that makes a difference.