As the close of season draws near, it is almost time to slow down and reflect on the blessings of the season. Those blessings are not always wrapped up in harvests. Much of the time spent reflecting is looking back at the memories shared with others and lessons learned from the Creator while afield.
I recently moved to the Midwest from the mid-Atlantic region and some noticeable differences in hunting strategies became apparent to me. While back east, I had the opportunity to hunt in many urban areas. At first it was a new style of bow hunting for me. It was not only unique and intriguing, but offered new challenges. I found myself taking less time to strategize about food sources than ever before. I spent the majority of my time focused specifically on bedding and bottlenecks. This was due to the lack of cover available. I identified this as the limited resource and took advantage of it. I noticed many times deer feeding in ball fields, golf courses, or even backyards. Obviously I wasn’t able to focus hunting efforts there, so my approach differed from hunting in the mid-west.
This year our approach hunting throughout the Midwest changed drastically as the season progressed. Early season our focus was on white oak acorns, then transition areas, and then back to food sources (which depended on the weather to determine what food source was preferred at that time). Differences like these can be seen throughout much of the whitetails range, different properties within the same region can witness different types of deer activity. Differences in deer activity where you are hunting can present a unique set of challenges. These challenges force us as hunters to strategize and execute plans with the fullest intention of being successful.
No matter the location or size of your Proving Grounds, it offers areas or times of the year when you can be successful. Your property may hunt best during early season or perhaps it’s a small property with a main travel corridor and hunts extremely well during the rut. Whatever strength it may have, take time to note the patterns you see on your Proving Grounds. Begin to strategize how you will approach the next hunting season. Plan out your management projects for the year and start preparing for the season opener! If you wish to have different results in the hunting seasons to follow, then a new approach should be taken. Make the most of this period of reflection!
Enjoy your season of reflection,