As Cody reminded us last week, the hunting season isn’t over. There is still good hunting left to be experienced. But, for me, the season is practically over. I’ve got a few hunts left, but for the most part I am already transitioning – assessing what worked this season, what didn’t, and what I am going to do next year.
I knew from the beginning that this season was going to be an experiment. Sure, I was hoping to shoot a mature buck, but that wasn’t my only goal. I took the “big picture” approach this year. My goals for this season weren’t about this season; my goals were about the future and building better skills and experience as a hunter. I wanted to try new tactics, get a better understanding of the land that I was hunting, and ultimately grow as a hunter. Of course I wanted to put some meat in the freezer, too. And fortunately I was able to do that.
A lot of articles are written about success stories, as well as tips and tricks that work well for the writer. But today I want to take a different approach and tell you what I did wrong. I want to learn from my mistakes, and hopefully you can too.
Don’t Hunt Pretty
Here, I’m talking about the “pretty” spots. You know – the well-groomed plot, the perfect open oak ridge, or the active sign (scrapes, rubs, etc). The “pretty” spots look ideal, and often they do see a good amount of deer activity, but many times that activity isn’t during legal shooting hours. It can pay to hunt near these spots, but don’t just hunt on top of them – assess travel routes, entry/exit points, and staging areas that deer use to get to them.
You know that spot that is hard to get to, difficult to hunt in, and presents a lot of logistical challenges? The deer are probably there, and you should be there too. Speaking of places that are hard to reach…