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With opening day of bow season quickly approaching, it’s easy to let excitement build and allow some of the basics slip past you. While early season bucks are as easy to pattern as they will ever be, that doesn’t mean they’re pushovers. It’s easy to let a few details slip past you, and when it comes to bow hunting, those slip-ups will cost you big. Harvesting whitetails, especially bucks, are all in the details. Here are three tips we all know, but for some reason don’t follow religiously.

  • Stand Entry Routes: Getting into and out of your stands is a critical aspect of hunting your property. You can only hunt a stand but so many times before every deer in the woods has you patterned, instead of the other way around. You can’t walk through the woods in darkness and not expect to spook some game, but by checking out an aerial map and determining the best ways into your stand. You can increase the life span of your hunting stands. Another tip: the shortest route to and from your stand is rarely the most effective. Don’t be afraid to walk out of the way in order to arrive at your stand.
  • Stand Burn Out: Don’t hunt all of your stands the first two weeks. It takes a lot of time and effort to erect and situate a proper treestand. Why ruin all of your sites in the first two weeks of the season by hunting them hard right off the bat? Early season bucks that have shed their velvet are still fairly predictable. By tromping around the woods you are doing much more harm than good. The absolute worst thing you can do is alert deer of all of your stand sites.
  • Play the Wind: For some reason we tend to think because early season whitetails are easy to pattern, we can take a lackadaisical approach to hunting them. Playing the wind is always critical, and it increases exponentially when attempting to get a deer within bow range. A whitetail’s olfactory senses are incredibly effective and if there was ever a time to keep the wind in your face and avoid walking through your shooting lanes, this is that time. Never hunt a stand if the wind is not favorable. Similar to tip number two, this will do more harm than good. We all want to see a buck when hunting, but bow hunting is different, and seeing a buck in no way means tagging a buck. Play it safe and hunt stands only when a wind is cooperative.

By following these three simple steps you will have a better chance at not only harvesting that buck you are after, but also increasing the productivity of your hunts in general by exerting less pressure on your land and increasing deer activity.

                                                                                                                Andrew Walters