Every year hunters hit the woods in search of the elusive whitetail. Some will succeed at killing; other will never get an opportunity. The hunters that don’t succeed then look for an answer or somebody else to blame. However, is there anyone else to blame but possibly yourself?
I believe the key to great hunt is knowing when the right opportunity is to hunt your spot is. The best time could be early in the year, late in the year, morning, afternoons or even just mid day. The only way to know this is by scouting and running trail cameras. Certain areas have peak opportunities no matter where you’re at. Sneaking in there as quietly as possible at the right time will greatly increase your chance at harvesting a deer of any size. Many hunters hit the woods before the right time, hunt the stand hard and turn the deer nocturnal before it even gets good. They over-hunt their stands and don’t wait for the right time. Below are 3 examples of 3 different hunts that practiced patience.
I will start off with my own experience from earlier this season, actually October 2nd. My dad and I worked hard to put in a food plot of Oats and Brassicas on our 12 acres. Only three of those acres are huntable. After we planted the plot in August, we stayed out the entire rest of the year. I put trail cameras in non threatening areas so I can sneak in and out without leaving any scent. In the middle of September, we started to see numbers of deer show up. The two weeks before the opener we had two bucks that would spar and fight for dominance multiple times. October 1rst the wind was completely wrong so we waited. On October 2, with a Northwest wind, my dad and I climbed into our tower stand. Within 5 minutes, one of the biggest bucks we had been watching showed up. To make a long story short, my dad shot high and wounded the deer. Luckily, I had seen him again 18 days later.
Staying out of the plot and having stands ready played a major role in this opportunity.
Since then I have hunted that stand on every cold front. I also hunted it hard during the rut but never seen a shooter again. Last year we had a pretty nice buck hitting the plot hard. From October 29th was the first day I got a picture of him. I had an encounter of him on November 12 but had no shot. I finally passed him on November 20th . Last year we never hunted the stand till sometime after Halloween.
After 6 years of managing this property, I am realizing we have two specific times to kill a big deer on this property. The first week of October and during the rut. All other times I am putting unnecessary pressure on my property and spooking mature deer and ruining opportunity in the future. I am going to try and stay out of there for most of October next year, other then the first couple of days.
The second example is my buddy Luke Bakker. His family has access to some amazing property. They have been able to manage this property for a number of years. They wait for the perfect opportunity and attack, preferably around the timing of the rut, or pre-rut. They are not putting pressure on the property before the time is right creating great hunts. They play the wind and are very careful about entering the property. If they hunted the property hard during the early season, they might not be as successful as they are.
The past several years Luke has been putting up some nice Michigan bucks on the gun opener. This year was no exception. He was in his stand an hour before first light in a spot that had not been hunted all season. He had seen some smaller bucks early in the morning. Around 12 o’clock he was going to get out of his stand but decided to give it another half hour. 20 minutes later a nice buck came charging in which he shot.
Now many of you will say I don’t have that kind of property. However, Jason Selle has proven the last two years that you don’t need a lot of property to kill nice deer. Actually, killing a deer out of your own backyard is not out of the question. Jason has killed very respectable deer the past two years by using extreme patiences. Last year he killed a nice 3 ½-year-old buck out of his own backyard. There is not much to this property and most would probably look past it. However, after a field camera tipped him off to this buck, he decided to start hunting his back yard during the first week of November. On his 3rd sit, he was able to shoot a very respectable buck.
This year Jason had been hunting his girlfriend’s parents property. He had hunted it several times during the rut and had good hunts seeing bucks just about every single time. But, he didn’t get a shot off until November 22nd after a neighbor told him that he had seen some deer coming into the backyard. So Jason sat in a pile of scrap metal as his blind waiting for a deer to come by. Within a short amount of time, an 8-point with two broken points came walking by in which Jason dropped it.
I want to note before you run into your backyard to hunt to make sure it’s legal. Some cities and counties have certain rules to hunting in your backyard. Make sure you are always legal before you hunt in your backyard.
These three hunts happen on three different properties. Anyone can duplicate this success on any piece of land they hunt if they practice patience and know when to hunt it. Use past experiences and trail cameras to know when that time is right. Keep the pressure off your spots till the right time and you should have more enjoyable hunts.
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