Each hunting season, hunters face obstacles that prevent a successful deer season. Here's how to take them on.
Before we dive in, determining whether a deer hunting season is successful depends on how you define success.
Are you successful if you kill one deer? What about if you shoot a mature buck?
For some of you, it might simply be getting into the woods and enjoying time with friends and family. Whatever your definition of success is, we're going to cover several ways that'll help create a successful deer season for you.
While this may seem elementary, the reality is we all tend to put items off until the last minute. For example, have you checked treestands straps yet? Have you even hung a treestand or set up a ground blind?
If you have the ability to accomplish these before the season or before you plan to hunt, this is one less task you'll need to worry about opening day.
After hanging your stand, be sure to clear shooting lanes so you'll have a clear shot when that big buck comes strolling by.
Similarly, we say we plan to go hunting, but do we actually carve out time on our calendar to go? At a minimum, I recommend picking one or two days and writing (or typing) them on your calendar. This way, it's planned, and if anything last-minute comes up, there's some accountability to stick with your planned hunting days.
This will look different for different deer hunters. Whitetail deer boast some of the best noses in the woods. This means if you want to maintain a successful deer season, you have to beat their nose in one of two ways.
First, play the wind direction. If you're not using the wind to your advantage, you'll likely get busted and the hours you spend in the woods will be for naught. Hunting success depends heavily on outsmarting these intelligent creatures. Secondly, take measures to diminish your scent in case deer walk downwind of your position.
This might look like spraying down your hunting clothes with a scent reducer, or utilizing an ozone machine or maybe even an old remedy your grandfather taught you. However, you feel most confident beating a deer's nose do it.
Trail cameras are likely to be your friend, however sometimes they will be your enemy. If you use them correctly you will be able to pattern deer in the early season and late season. This will increase your odds of a successful deer season. Sometimes it doesn't always work though because hunters check their cameras way too often. Minimize your ground scent. Place these cameras on edges or along paths to your stand. When a deer begins showing up during legal shooting light go in for the strike.
Key in on food sources. Deer have to eat. Look for acorns, fruit trees and other sources of protein and carbs deer need during different parts of the season and set up on them.
If you're able to plant a food plot, even if it's a quarter-acre, this will increase your odds of seducing a deer into range. Especially during archery season when hunters need to be up-close and personal, these food sources come in handy.
Finally, if you're out of options, find the deer's travel routes. Most of the time, this will be between bedding areas and food sources. Try to do some off-season scouting to locate these areas when possible. This will heavily increase your odds of a successful deer season.
Don't forget, a successful deer season doesn't always mean killing a deer. It might mean enjoying camaraderie in deer camp, or it might mean enjoying the deep woods or the open country. Have fun and enjoy the outdoors.