Where to hunt early season? As most avid bowhunters know, season is upon us. There are plenty of things to look at here, so, let's get started!
One of the biggest decisions is where to hunt. You can't harvest a whitetail without seeing one first. Many of us have scouted, ran our trail cameras and put out our mineral/attractants. Pay attention to those photos you've logged. Keep track of the weather and moon phase at the time you were getting pictures of deer at that site. Compare it to your hunting situation. This goes a long way.
Next is what to harvest. Call me crazy, but I am not the only trigger happy bow hunter in September. Harvest what makes you happy, filling the freezer or trophy. Remember, though, the pre-rut and the rut are exciting things to see so tagging out early will effect this! I prefer a doe harvest early, to fill my freezer, and if a chance at a velvet buck produces itself, then I'll let the arrow fly! Have a game plan guys/gals, but do what makes you happy!
Next is to identify food sources. Though you may be supplementing mineral or feed, acorns are everywhere this season. Take note of that. If you haven't much success seeing deer, find your oak trees that are producing. You will find deer this way. Let’s talk a little bit about the acorns. You have the white oak, pin oak, red oak and black oak. There are many discussions on which acorn that deer like best. White Oak acorns are preferred above all, and here is why. These acorns are low in tannic acid, which make them the sweetest of all. Next in line, pin oak, then red oak and lastly, black oak. Yes, deer prefer them all over any other food source, but White Oak acorns are definitely the favorite. White Oaks produce a heavy crop every third year, but they crop every other year. Just because the deer where devouring acorns on the left side of the ridge last year, doesn’t mean they will be this year. Monitor your White Oaks, find the heavy cropped trees and key in on these. Pin Oaks crop every second year as well Red Oak. Keep in mind, deer will not feed primarily on Red Oak acorns due to their bitterness. Your Black Oak, in the whitetail world, is mostly preferred in the spring, after a good thaw.
Lastly, early season is hot guys. A whitetail deer, during a week span of seventy-five degree temperatures and up, need water more than once daily. During your warmer hunts, key in on your water sources. Whitetail deer normally have a home range between 400-800 acres. A water source is required about every one square mile to hold your deer on a property. However, deer do you metabolic water, which basically comes from the food they eat, meaning deer do not need surface water in cooler temperatures daily. In your warmer temperatures, however, deer need around 3 quarts of water per 100 pounds of body weight. Winter months the requirements drop to around 1 ½ quarts per 100 pounds of body weight. Key in on your water sources. Deer are not picky, either. They will drink from springs, ponds or the dirtiest of mud holes. The smaller, more secluded the water source is, the better chances of your deer using it. If anything, I promise you'll be seeing a lot of wildlife during these stand sits.
Enjoy the outdoors guys, and remember, early season temperatures means scent control is a key! In the warmer months you will obviously give off a lot more scent, due to perspiration. Sweat masking clothing and product’s like the Vapormaker and 33 Point Buck cover scent, from Vaportrail Scents, will go a long way. Thanks again guys, until next time, happy huntin'