Many states will be opening up bow seasons in the next few weeks. This is an exciting time for deer hunters to capitalize on late summer deer patterns. The days are long during this portion of season, therefore daylight activity is more common. A typical early season stand may be positioned near a food source where hunters have seen their prize feeding for months. This is typically a great location to be hunting when conditions allow.
As deer begin to shed summer coats and put on their winter coats, changes in activity can be seen. The food source may not change, but the activity level of deer do. Early season is known for its warm temperatures. As hunters we experience this as we attempt to not sweat, while deer may alter their movement patterns. Their heavier winter coats tend to make deer move more during the last few moments of light when the temperatures are cooler.
Just as the deer are adapting, we as hunters must as well. Hunting closer to the edges of bedding cover may result in more punched tags. Cutting the distance between feeding to bedding is a great option when the thermometer rises. Although this may sound simple, a few extra steps should be taken to ensure your success.
The approach and exit to this setup should not interfere with any deer. In some cases it may be the best practice to cut in a trail to the stand before season begins. Blowing out the trail of any sticks or leaves will result in a silent approach and exit. Being cautious of your scent is just as important. Just as you play the wind during a hunt, make sure the wind allows you to move safely without alerting deer.
Understanding and anticipating how deer will react to changes in conditions will make you a better and more successful hunter.
How well do you know the bucks on your hunting grounds? Taking time to get to know their individual personalities and patterns pays huge dividends during the season! Watch to see how the GrowingDeer Team works with past and present Reconyx images to develop strategies for intercepting mature bucks this fall. Then stay tuned for tips on how to capture your hunting adventures on video!
Are you catching the bow season fever? Check out Raleigh tag her first buck with a bow.
New Weekly Video Blog: Scent Control Techniques
You are ready for season, is your gear? Watch to see the steps we take to control our scent in the deer woods.
Tip of the Week:
You've practiced your form all summer, now it's time to step it up! Shoot from an elevated position.
Hunting during the early season can be tough. It is typically warm and humid, a scent cautious hunter’s worst nightmare. Despite the conditions there are a few techniques that can be used to reduce the amount of scent produced. Follow the tips below during early season for better success in the deer woods.
- Wear a lightweight t-shirt for the walk in.
- Wear a hiking boot instead of rubber boots, they are much cooler.
- Leave early, walk slow, and take breaks if needed to limit perspiration.
- Remove the t-shirt once you’ve arrived at the treestand and store in a scent tight bag.
- Apply field spray and use camp clothes once in the stand.
This week is filled with hunting strategies! We reveal a secret weapon for early and mid-season hunting. Plus, our new method to maintain that secret weapon for years to come. Watch as we share techniques to hunting small properties in cattle county. See deer in season when your neighbors aren't!
Test your eye! Can you spot the hit list buck in this clip?
New Weekly Video Blog: The Center Of Attention
Want to know why we let deer reach maturity? Adam walks us through the development of an impressive buck we call Handy.
Tip of the Week:
Back it up! Once you master the close range shots, step back and gain confidence at longer distances, extending your range this season!
Do you have your eye on any bachelor groups this summer? Go into deer season with a harvest plan! Watch as we'll show you how to build a hit list with the bucks your trail cameras are capturing now. Plus, see the progress of the key tool for our cold weather hunting strategy. The Hot Zone fence is a game changer for late bow season!
We are looking forward to the GrowingDeer.tv Field Days on August 12-13, 2016! Come join us for the best field event we've ever offered! Click here for more information or to register today. After registering we have several special sponsor discount offers that are available ONLY for Field Day participants. Don't miss out – Register Now!
Want to be a wildlife biologist? Here is our advice for you. This will get you the experience needed to work in the wildlife field.
New Weekly Video Blog: Hunting Strategies – Ponds!
Tip of the Week:
Is your hunting gear scent free? Now is a great time to treat, wash, and store your gear for success on opening day.
Deer hunters are busy across the whitetails’ range preparing for deer season. This week we have been trimming out shooting lanes around our Summit Treestands. Here in timber country we have plenty of limbs to trim, but we also have plenty of acorn producing trees. One of the most important pieces of equipment we carry along with our trimming gear is a pair of Nikon binoculars. During this time of the year acorns are visible. It’s important for us to know where the acorns are located before season opens. Our hunting strategy each season revolves around acorn production.
After covering much of the property, we noticed the majority of acorns were on ridge tops! We suspect a late frost occurred in the bottoms during the late spring. Don’t worry, this is good news. When a large majority of the acorns are located on the ridge tops we can hunt more successfully for a few reasons.
- The food source is more concentrated
- The winds are more consistent on ridge tops
- There are more huntable locations and pinch points on the ridge tops
Hunting terrain with sharp elevation changes has its advantages and disadvantages. The common problem is dealing with thermals. The temperature changes throughout a day in areas with terrain change can alter the wind directions. This causes swirly winds – a hunter’s worst nightmare. On the flip side the elevation changes can strongly influence deer travel patterns when compared to flat properties.
For all these reasons we are excited for deer season! With these conditions it is shaping up to be a productive season here at The Proving Grounds. Have you trimmed or scouted your property yet?
Praising the Creator,
What is your hunting property’s limited resource? Click here to watch how to find or create the most attractive areas on your farm! Don't miss out on what could be your best hunting location for many falls to come.
Plus we have a new hit list buck that has shown up! We need YOUR help to name him! We can't wait to hear your ideas!
Fall food plot season is just around the bend. Are you ready? Check out the benefits of using a no-till drill to plant your plots.
This week Adam discusses the proper way to setup a trail camera. This checklist will help you capture those bucks in full velvet this summer!
Tip of the Week:
Summer scouting pays off! With many more hours of daylight during the summer, deer can be spotted feeding at dusk. This is a great time to get your eyes on bucks to chase this fall.
Get your summer time archery practice sessions started right! The last thing you want to do is form bad habits. I recommend practicing from a distance you feel very comfortable with. Starting off here will allow you to focus on your pre shot routine, step by step. This type of focus minimizes the chance of bad habits forming. As you continue with this method of practice, you will build muscle memory. Both your brain and your muscle need to go through the motions time and time again to ensure lethal shots are executed during bow season. Starting off early and correctly will train you to become a more successful bow hunter. Remember “Perfect practice makes perfect!”
Finally you’ve found the needle in the haystack! For some this is a common success, but for others, not so much. Shed hunting in crop country is different than mountainous timber country. Simply navigating the uneven terrain can be tough. This added level of difficultly makes each find a true trophy. But does the game end there? No, the hunt has just begun!
Finding a shed is just one piece to the entire puzzle. New smartphone technology allows us to document the routes we take, distances we cover, and save specific locations. Once the shed is found we mark and save the location on an aerial map. This provides us with the exact location of the find. Once marked, we continue to search hard for the other side. After returning to the office, we transfer the location onto a topographical map. This determines the most likely travel routes.
We typically prefer to hunt deer in transition. This means not hunting directly over food plots or bedding cover. Here in the northern Ozarks, the terrain plays an enormous part in this tactic. Terrain determines where deer travel while limiting where we can hunt. Quick changes in elevations means thermals determine where our stands are located. The area where the shed was found is a great indicator that Swoops may commonly travel there. But can we hunt there?
Once the location is analyzed on a map we return to get boots on the ground. Immediately we start looking for specific trails deer may be using. After this, we determine if we can approach, hunt and exit the area undetected. If not, then we continue on the trail to find an area where we can. Once a huntable location is found we check the wind! During scouting trips we carry Dead Down Wind Wind Checker. Using this allows us to visualize how the wind moves through the timber and hills. If we see swirly movements in the wind, we move on. Hunting areas like this almost always results in a bust. The search continues until the perfect ambush location is found.
All this work comes from a nice shed found lying on the ground. This work may now result in success during the upcoming hunting season. If you are out shed hunting, take the time to focus on each find. Use this information to assist you in closing the distance on a mature buck!
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,