If You Always Do What You Always Did,
You’ll Always Get What You Always Got
It’s a little confusing but a little profound at the same time. This is somewhat of my motto this season. I’ve decided that since I haven’t been extremely successful in the past it’s time to mix things up. I’ve always been incredibly conservative as a hunter. I tend to hunt the safe spots. Those that I’m familiar with and have seen deer before but despite hunting the wind haven’t always produced for me. So, this year I’m mixing it up and have decided to be a more aggressive hunter.
I’ve done way more this preseason than seasons past to get ready and understand the deer and the deer movement in my area. I’ve gotten a new property and another property that this is only my second season hunting. If there was ever a time to be aggressive it’s now. Last Saturday I covered over 5 miles after the morning sit to get a better look at what sign is showing up and where. This also showed me a few things about the property that I didn’t notice in scouting during the preseason. While I don’t suggest everyone just go crashing through the woods each weekend, targeting areas and being careful about your entry and exit can be extremely helpful in targeting areas for the upcoming rut.
Always consider how the landscape is changing. Some areas get thicker each year others might have had other changes from storms or even logging or clear cutting. Also, with fall in full swing and leaves starting to fall it can completely change how you’ll set up in certain area based on visibility and cover. So understanding those changes can greatly help your season and help you understand likely deer movement.
Lastly, and this is something I’ve never really done, I’ve decided to be more of a mobile hunter. If a spot isn’t working out I’m moving instead of just waiting it out. I’m not going to switch stands if I don’t see a deer within an hour of getting set up but I will be more willing to move to new areas and try different tactics. One of those tactics being still hunting. For some reason I always thought still hunting meant sitting still but it’s really stalking the woods very slowly. Whenever it rains this is going to be my tactic. It provides a little noise to cover the sound of your movement and softens the fallen leaves to make your approach even quieter. I gave this a shot last Friday morning trying to also get a look at an area of the property I had never been to because I was unsure of property lines until recently. We actually caught a deer crossing a the trail ahead of us and if we weren’t so set on getting a look at a certain area while we could do so relatively undetected, I’m sure I would have gotten a shot at her if we had looped around to another trail where we knew she was headed.
If you’re like me and hunt some difficult properties where you are pretty lucky to see a deer much less get a shot, I challenge you to mix it up a little this season. Break your habits and try new things. If nothing else it will be more fun and you’re likely to learn a lot about the property.
Image courtesy The Will to Hunt