Taking steps to accurately pinpoint and pattern mature bucks is what separates deer hunting legends from the hunters who occasionally get lucky. This is especially true during the early days of the season when excessive heat can drastically decrease daytime deer activity.
Bucks commonly escape the hot temperatures by moving primarily at dusk and throughout the night. Unfortunately, many of these nocturnal bucks will also hit their beds well before daylight and stay locked-down until dark.
To make matters worse, whitetails enjoy almost unlimited access to food throughout the early season. As you can imagine, focusing on a preferred food source can really be tough any time of year when bucks have multiple snack options. Early-season foliage also creates an abundance of thick cover and green browse that can be exploited by deer. In this situation, textbook feeding to bedding setups are basically obsolete because bucks can bed down just about anywhere they like. This is why it’s so important for you to take your early-season scouting skills to a whole new level. Here’s how.
- Monitoring the daily habits of deer will enable you to pattern a shooter and capitalize on the prime times to hunt a particular stand or setup. One of the quickest and most efficient ways to nail-down a buck’s timetable is strategically hang several trail cameras near high-traffic areas. Camera stations should be placed over possible big-buck travel routes, bedding locations, staging areas, mock scrapes, rub lines, watering holes, and available food sources.
Setting up numerous trail cameras within a given hunting area can be very expensive. Fortunately, the boom in trail cam manufacturing has produced some very affordable compact trail cameras that are loaded with features with descent trigger speeds. Basically, hunters can purchase several of these cameras for about the same price as one of the high-priced models and cover a lot more ground.
Photo by Ron Sinfelt
Have some tried-and-true early season tactics of your own? Share them with us on Facebook!