Early Bow Season Strategies

Early Bow Season Strategies
(Jeremy Flinn photo)

Although we still may be enduring some hot days, every once in a while we feel the cool breeze of autumn upon us. The days are getting shorter, and college football stadiums across the country have started to rumble from cheering fans on Saturdays.

That can only mean one thing; deer season has finally arrived. For most, the opening of deer season starts with bow hunting. The thought of sitting in a tree is becoming, or already is, a reality. But the anticipation can quickly turn to frustration if you have not adapted your early bow season strategy to the ever changing whitetail woods.

After watching bucks cruise lush crop fields all summer, it’s easy to get wrapped up in planning to ambush a buck on his summer pattern. But over the next few weeks, things will dramatically change. Crops will be harvested by combines, acorns will begin to rain down, fall food plots will begin to grow, and a buck’s behavior will change. From hanging out with his buck buddies in a small section to roaming over many acres and letting his buddies know that this is his territory. With all the changes, it’s critical to have a strategy that mimics the changing whitetail world.

For those states already open, or opening in the next couple of weeks, you still have a shot at encountering bucks on their summer pattern. But if this is your game plan over the next month, you will quickly find yourself battling the fall/October lull.

Sure there are things out of our control that play into the lull, but often it is self-induced. If you continue to sit on the same crop field that was once lush with green soybeans, but now looks more like a desert, then you likely will experience the lull.

One person with plenty of experience at beating the October lull is Nick Mundt of Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector TV show on Outdoor Channel.

“It’s important to be mobile,” says Mundt. “The more you are willing to adjust, the more likely (you are) to find deer.”

Part of the adjustment strategy is to think about the changing food sources. If you migrate towards oak flats, you will likely continue to see deer. In other words, what lull?

So what’s the best strategies? The most flexible ones.

Start with areas you have seen the most deer in the last few weeks. Even though it may not last, a crop field could be the best place the first week of the season, or until crops are harvested. As action begins to die off, start to ease back in the woods, particularly near dropping red or white oaks. If you have some food plots established, this also could be good, but I wouldn’t recommend battling acorns; you will lose.Hold off on those plots until mid-October. Scrape action will begin to pick up and you may get lucky and catch a buck cruising in the daylight hours.

If nailing down deer on acorns is tough, maybe because you are hunting big tracks of forested land, identify known bedding areas. Set up on the fringes of these areas, this will increase the likelihood of encountering a buck coming back from feeding areas in the morning or heading out to feed in the afternoon.

In order to succeed early in bow season, especially after the first week, be mobile with your strategy. The more flexible you are, the more likely you will be to tag a buck early in the year.

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?


Quick Tips: How to Spot and Stalk a Hog

Ian Nance - May 28, 2019

Try these tips to improve your wild boar hunting skill set.


MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat

G&F Staff

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.


How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...


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

See More Stories

More Whitetail


Ground Zero: Virginia's Record Bucks

Mark Fike - February 16, 2019

Virginia has some giant bucks for those who know where to look for them.


Early Shed Hunting Tactics

Dan Cole - February 26, 2019

February signifies the start of shed hunting season for many whitetail hunters. Here are some...


High-Tech Optic Choices for Deer Hunting

G&F Online Staff - August 08, 2019

Modern optics are high-tech machines equipped with everything from onboard computers to...

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.