With the opening day of bow season quickly approaching everyone is confident that he/she will fill their tag on an early season buck. Sure, some will. However, if your game plan includes the following mistakes….you won’t.
Getting Up Early
The opening days/weeks of deer season revolve around one thing… food. And, for the most part, your best chances of success will occur in the late evening hours just before sunset. Hitting your tree stand in the pre-dawn darkness with the zeal of a middle school boy attending his first homecoming dance will only cause more harm than good.
Slacking On Your Scent Control
Early season means hot, humid and sticky hunting conditions. The result is an abundance of sweat. Sweat equals odor. Odor will kill your odds of filling a whitetail tag no matter what phase of the season you’re in. However, it’s more easily manufactured during the early season.
You Shot All Summer From The Ground
Unless you plan to hunt from a ground blind on opening day then practicing for weeks standing flat footed in the back yard can be counterproductive. Only through “situational” practice, shooting from an elevated positions, can you see firsthand which angles present the biggest problems and which will lead to a short blood trail.
You Don’t Know The Favored Food Source
Speaking of food sources it shouldn’t come as a surprise that if you don’t know the preferred food source of the deer then you probably aren’t going to be able to formulate a solid early season game plan. It is important to stay one step ahead of the deer by understanding which food sources will be available not only when the season opens but in the weeks that follow too. This applies to those hunting over food plots as well as the hardwoods.
You Dismissed The Attraction Of Water
Unless you’re hunting in areas that harbor creeks, streams or ponds, you really should consider the importance of a water source. Dry, humid conditions will certainly drive deer to any nearby watering holes.
No Exit Strategy
Hunting near food in the early season means you are going to get caught in your stand while deer are feeding nearby. How are you going to handle this situation?
One option would be to have a landowner or friend drive up (if your stand is on a field edge) and push the deer off of the food source once the sun goes down. Another option would be to use a predator call to push the deer away.
Checking Your Trail Camera Too Often
Trail cameras are a double edged sword. On one side they are an awesome scouting tool. On the other they can lead to tipping off the very buck you are chasing. However, that is usually the result of checking the camera too often in the weeks leading up to opening day.
You Didn’t Test Your Broadheads
Why go through all of the above steps and then miss your shot because your broadheads didn’t fly like your field points? The point is you shouldn’t.
And while poor broadhead flight can be attributed to many different things you’re never going to know your broadheads aren’t flying well until you shoot them. That shouldn’t be the first arrow you loose during the season.
The early season can be a great time to simply put some fresh venison in the freezer or arrow the buck of your dreams. It can also be a nightmare. The choice is up to you which scenario has the likelihood of playing out