Bow hunting seasons are now open in most states. Here in Wisconsin we have been hunting for a few weeks now. We have passed up shots at some smaller bucks. The bigger deer have failed to show themselves yet.
Now is the time to hunt close to the bedding areas. The deer have sensed the change in the seasons and have noticed the increased human activity in the woods. The mature bucks will most likely stay bedded until just before dark, so set as close to the bedding area as you can without spooking the deer. I watched a doe come out of the swamp h hour before dark, but no bucks came out.
This weekend us here at AWH will be heading to Iowa for our first hunt down there this year. Our goal is to bring back three big does. The farm we hunt has a lot of does and we need to our part in trimming the herd. By shooting a few does, we will help keep the buck / doe ratio more balanced. This will cause more competition for the breeding bucks, come November. This will make the bucks to respond better to calling, rattling, and decoying. The second thing that shooting does will do is that there will be less deer eating the farmers crops, and it's good to keep the farmers happy. He will be more apt to let you hunt if your do him a favor by shooting more deer. So if you have a doe tag, now is the time to fill it. You can then be very selective with your buck tag.
October is also a good time to hunt different stands then you normally hunt. I have a tendency to hunt a certain stand that has always produced good bucks in the past. But it is set close to the bedding area and I believe that the bucks will sit tight till dark and then they here you get down from your stand and walk out of the woods. When this starts happening it's time to let that stand rest for a while. I will then hunt other stands that I do not hunt too much. You may catch deer leaving the bedding area from a different direction and get a shot at them by hunting the other stand.
We have scouted out some new hunting areas the last time we were in Iowa, so this weekend we will hang a stand or two in the new spots and hunt them a few times. You must always be looking for new spots to hunt, unless you buy the land yourself, you will ever lose it. We always are looking at new places to hunt. On this hunt we will hunt the mornings and evenings, and then scout during the middle of the day. Hopefully we will come across and great, new honey hole.
As October progresses, It will be the time that I start hunting mornings, I do not hunt mornings too often during the early part of the season. I have found that the mature bucks have usually gone back to the bedding area by first light. But as we get to the later part of the month you will start to see some scrapes and rubs made by the younger bucks as they start sensing that some does coming into heat. This is the time to start doing some calling and rattling. This technique has worked for me in the past. I hunted a Saturday morning in late October, I was sitting in my funnel stand and I decided to do some rattling. A half hour after I rattled I looked to the north toward the funnel and a deer with nice polished antlers was looking my way. I got ready and as if on cue, it moved in front of me and I drew when it went behind a tree. It stepped out into one of my shooting lanes that we had cut way back in August, and I put the pin on it and I watched my arrow disappear into its chest. It was a great feeling when all are hard work paid off and everything went to plan.
Are you still shooting your bow? It is always a good idea to keep shooting during the season to keep sharp. I keep a target in my truck and before I go into the woods I shoot a few practice arrows to make sure that I am still on. You do not need to shoot 100 arrows every day; you just need a few here and there to keep yourself sharp.
If you are experiencing the dreaded "October Lull" have faith the deer will be on the move again. Hunt some less disturbed stands, hunt at different times, keep shooting and remember that the rut is only a few weeks away.
Good Luck and shoot straight,