Does Seeing a Shooter Now Really Matter?

Does Seeing a Shooter Now Really Matter?
(Jeremy Flinn photo)

If you are anywhere near social media during this time of year, the velvet is flying. Bucks from across the country are posing in front of millions of trail cameras. For some, it’s a start to the bucks we hope to see during the season, but for others, it’s the “one” we’ve been waiting for. It’s almost like watching a good boxing or MMA fight. You have to wonder if coming out of the gates so early and good we may have burnt ourselves out before the real fight, the season, begins.

Think of it this way. For many of us we have a month before we get into the stand. With most bucks still humming along on their summer routines, we know a lot will change between now and then. So there’s a chance the buck could disappear, often what people associate with the “fall lull.” There’s also a chance his home range will just expand and he will remain on your property, just for a lesser percentage of his time.

Personally, as much as I want to see big bucks starting as early as mid-July, I’d rather not see them until just before the season starts. I’ve experienced both, and it always seems the later I first see shooters in the summer or fall, the more likely I am to have a chance at tagging him.

I grew up in the heavily hunted state of Pennsylvania. I was fortunate enough to have access to what I always considered the best 60 acres of deer hunting in the county. Well to most it would seem that way. It was about as reliable as the rise and set of the sun to see some big bucks in August roaming the crop fields. However, as the season drew closer, the bucks became fewer.

After the first week or so of the season it was often completely void of any shooters. Why? The 4 weeks between the late August buck parades and the opening of the season, also correlated with a lot of changes in food, cover, and behavior. It also left me with tag soup a lot.

On the opposite spectrum is my new Kansas lease. Although it will likely lead to a great season, I have yet to get a shooter on camera. They are there for sure, as big bucks have been spotted around neighboring farms, but they haven’t shown up once on my lease.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t twitching over it, but like last year it was nearly the opening day of bow season before the first two shooters showed. And it would be another month before the two biggest ones showed up. One of which I arrowed in late December. So am I worried? Of course, I need to see a shooter soon. But, from history on the property, I know patience will likely pay off and the big shooters will begin to show soon.

So is it important to see a shooter right now? Maybe it is for your sanity, but in terms of better harvest opportunities, the closer to the season opener the better.

Recommended for You


MLF Pros: What's With the Moon?

G&F Online Staff

We're told to pay attention to the lunar phases. What do bass pros think?


Find and Fish Bluegill Beds Efficiently

Terry Madewell - May 22, 2019

You can catch bluegill faster with these strategies.

Fishing How-To

Why You'll Lose Your Next Big Bass

Larry Larsen

Now that you know you might screw it up the next time a big fish bites, let's fix it.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

Lowrance Enters Trolling-Motor Market with Ghost

Lowrance's Lucas Steward shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead what all of the fuss is about in the brand new Ghost trolling motor being brought to market by the Tulsa, Okla.-based fishing equipment manufacturer.

MLF Pros: What's Your Go-To Lure?

When all else fails, here's what these pros tie on.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


10 Best Long-Range Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? There's more to successful long-range


Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.


Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson - February 13, 2018

Veteran bass anglers often dismiss urban fishing opportunities as "kid's fishing ponds," but...

See More Stories

More Whitetail


Quick Tip: Bypass Whitetail ‘Dead Zones'

G&F Online Staff - August 05, 2019

Deer move less, avoid certain areas, as hunting season progresses.


Plan It, Plant It for Your Food-Plot Future

Drew Warden - August 07, 2019

Ideally, you want a variety that provides whitetails with foraging options all year.


Tactical Planning for White-Tailed Deer

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 31, 2019

Intercept wary whitetails by focusing on areas where bucks are, not where they're not.

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.