'); } -->
Finally, it’s here! This Saturday we’ll welcome in the 2012 South Carolina deer season in our unit with the opening of archery season and I couldn’t possibly be happier about it. After all, it’s been a long, long time since we last climbed into a tree stand.
From the conversations that I’ve had with folks, lots of you are as fired up as I am about getting the chance to hit the woods but there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration if you’re to give yourself any real chance of finding success in the early season. This is especially true since it’s still hot out there and the deer are still in their warm season mode.
If you’ve used the previous month or so to get your scouting done, you’re already ahead of the game. You’ve pinpointed all of those early season food sources, such as the white oaks, and the perfect stand set-up is ready and waiting for you to get there.
On the other hand, far too many hunters do nothing in the weeks leading up to the season and expect to just take care of it when the season opens. That’s a huge mistake.
You see, if you haven’t bothered to do any scouting up until right now, you’re actually much better off to skip it altogether and rely on pure blind luck. This is because tromping around the woods and spreading a lot of human scent in the area is only going to work against you by pushing those bucks more toward moving at night. No matter how little pressure a piece of property usually gets, it only takes one good day of disturbing it to make the big boys go completely nocturnal.
Don’t risk it. Instead, consider it a good lesson that you’ll remember come next summer when it’s time to put your footwork in.
Now, we all know that it gets miserably hot around here and, like us, the animals are often affected by it. During years of terrible drought, placing a stand near a water source is not a bad idea but that’s not necessarily the case all the time. We’ve had a fair amount of rain this year which makes 2012 a perfect example.
Unlike humans, deer don’t do a whole lot of drinking to begin with it. They get quite a bit of their water intake from the high moisture content in the foods that they eat and simply don’t need to run to a stream for any more. This means that a hunter that has decided to place his stand by the water might be in for a long sit before he even gets a good glimpse at a deer.
Your best bet is to be hanging out around that big oak when it starts dropping or in a tree just off one of the heavily used trails that run between their bedding areas and planted agricultural fields or food plots.
Taking this approach is guaranteed to put far more action in front of you even if what passes by isn’t something that you intend to sling an arrow at. I know that I would rather pass the time by watching deer that I won’t shoot as opposed to relying on the squirrels to keep me entertained.
Hunting in these higher temperatures calls for a little more action on our part when it comes to keeping our scent down, too. To begin with, only a foolish hunter goes into the deer woods without doing everything that’s within his or her power to eliminate that odor.
Proper scent control is always a must — but it’s not a bad idea to carry a bottle of scent eliminating spray into the tree with you and re-apply it occasionally while you’re hanging out up there.
The only thing that you want those deer to be smelling is the natural world so that they’re either completely at ease or curious about that aroma that they’re getting a little whiff of. That curiosity can be created by using the right attractor scent around your stand location.
Don’t even think about putting out some sort of doe estrus such as Tink’s 69 or one of the hundreds of others on the market. It’s far too early for that and all you’ll end up doing is sending the deer scattering away from you. Just save it for the rut.
Instead, place a little buck urine in the area. You have to keep in mind that during this early part of the season the bucks are still running in bachelor groups. There’s always a strong chance that the smell of another buck in the area will bring them in to investigate this new intruder, offering you the shot you’ve been waiting on. Just don’t be in a hurry to shoot the first buck you see! Never forget that these old deer are smart and know better than to take chances.
Those young bucks? They haven’t quite learned it all yet and the big boys are more than happy to use them to their advantage. When traveling around in bachelor groups, the first bucks you’ll see are most often the ones that are still “wet behind the ears.” Hold off on that shot and wait to see if there’s a mature buck in the group that doesn’t wander out until he’s comfortable that it’s safe to do so.
Last, but certainly not least, is putting a little thought into how you plan to get into and out of your chosen “honey hole.” Paying attention to things like wind direction can be the difference between going home happy and just going home.
There are some great tools at our disposal these days and one of the best is a little smart phone app put out by Primos called the “Wind Checker.” This thing is absolutely awesome as it allows your phone to pinpoint your location and show a satellite image of it along with how the wind is traveling across the land.
By utilizing this little piece of computer wizardry, you can find the best route to take while getting to the stand so that your scent isn’t carried directly to where the deer are.
Scoring on that big buck in the early days of deer season all comes down to incorporating a good bit of what you were born with — common sense. By putting the proper thought into what you’re doing, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be raising the odds of success tremendously and maybe impressing your hunting buddies with a “wallhanger” this year.