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Early Season Archery Is All About Food and Sleep

This latest bout of cooler weather came just in the nick of time for us archers. Cooler mornings mean more comfort for the hunter and better movement by deer. A lot of hunters like to wait until later in the season to hunt and you are missing out if that is the case. Early season can be a great time to connect on a deer.

Right now, deer are somewhat predictable. They are set in normal feeding/bedding patterns and can be fairly easy to pattern. If you have not done your scouting, now is definitely the time. Why Jeff….whatever would we be looking for? Start by looking for trails connecting bedding areas and feeding areas. Bedding areas can be a bit tricky but generally the thickest, most undisturbed areas on the property suffice. From these areas, trails lead to feeding areas. These are easy to find. Now that the season is on, I don’t recommend invading bedding areas. These should be protected from disturbance at all cost.

Hang a stand in between bed/feed areas based on your time of day to hunt. For morning hunts, you will want to have the stand closer to the bedding area and be ready when deer meander back to bed in early morning. For evening hunts, I like to hang stands inside cover on trails leading to a corn or grain field. Deer that may not venture into the field until dark may hand up in the timber near your stand.

Things will be changing in deer behavior soon. Acorns fall, fruit trees drop, grain field harvests all can change deer patterns over night.  Once this begins, be willing to move your stand as many times as it takes to get in range. Successful hunters are not afraid to move their hunt to the action.  There is no magic in determine what deer are currently feeding on.  Good old scouting can tell you that.  To me, the most exciting hunt is the first morning from a moved stand knowing deer ARE using that area.  Oh the anticipation!

Tree Stand Safety

Here are some facts on tree stand safety:

1. 90% of hunters hunt from elevated stands at some point

2. Approximately 25% of those who fall will be injured

3. Deaths due to falling often equal or exceed firearm deaths

4. 55% of stand users do not use a fall arrest device……

Tree stand accidents are of concern as they are easily prevented by using a tree stand and fall restraint system approved by the Tree stand Manufacturers Association (TMA).  We don’t bounce like we used to.  Now, I know that body harness can be a bit invasive in fit, but so is a 90 mph decent to the ground…besides, I think they look stylish!   WEAR IT!

Have fun this early season.  There are deer to be had and great weather upon us to do so.  Never ignore the wind as it will take you every time and send deer running.  Sloppy hunters don’t see many deer and believe me…to a deer, you stink!  While carbon suits and cover scents can help,  the best defense is to keep your nose to the wind and just hunt.  Good luck!

Get Em’ Out There


Early season does are usually easy to pattern….this one had a tendency to hang out in the corner of a field until dark.
Bucks can be fairly predictable too early in the season…boy howdy that will change soon!

About jeff rawlinson

Jeff is the Education Manager in the Communications Division with Game and Parks where he has worked for the last 15 years. He oversees the Hunter Education, Boater Education, Hunter Outreach and Shooting Range Development for the Commission and is a devout hunter, angler, wildlife viewer, naturalist, father and husband. He holds a BS and MS from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has been a Hunter Education Instructor for over 20 years, NRA firearms instructor and range officer, National Archery in the Schools Program Archery Instructor Specialist and member of the National NASP Board, sits on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Hunter Recruitment and Retention Committee and Education Committee. Jeff is an avid handgun hunter, loves to chase turkeys in the spring, squirrel hunting enthusiast and philosopher of the outdoors. He is an avid shooter and loves to spend outdoor time with family and friends. He has a passion for exciting others about the outdoors. A history buff, Jeff is a strong supporter of our North American Model of Conservation and tries to spread the message of its importance and relevance every chance he gets.

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