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Whitetail strategy (Still/Stand hunting)
I developed a whitetail hunting strategy for early, mid & late season excursions. I am in southern NY and the season opens on October 1st and ends on December 31st. The weather changes drastically in that time so I start by still hunting/scouting in October. Its usually warm so I use my re-curve bow as its simple and lite so I can cover a lot of ground while looking for late season stands. Mid/late season (Nov/Dec) I hit the stands I selected with the compound bow. However, if its snowing or raining I revert back to re-curve as its also weather proof. It has proved to be successful for me. Thoughts?
I mostly rely on info obtained on all day excursions in February. I do in-season quick scouts to see if big new rubs showed up, but try to limit this to middle of day, rain or windy days. Get in get out. I grew up hunting in the late 80’s using the 7.5 minute 24k scale Topos and know how deer use the features on them. So i gps all my rubs and Feb. sign, mark all that on topo and figure out what that deer is doing, where the does hang out at, where the other hunters come in at, how good or bad those others are, and how the local deer react to them. This is easy if the others are standard first lite entry peeps with white headlights.
The toughest thing is being there. Our rut peaks right at Christmas, with the 25 & 26 often being good days depending on weather . But you must also keep the home fires burning. Wife , family, in-laws, you really should be on stand. This why alot of legends are divorced, and many are loners during the hunting season. I try to maintain a happy medium. Being self employed , semi retired from a State career, i hope to increase days in stand.
Most of success hinges on opportunity- being there. Once you get the woodsmanship down, and are hunting where decent bucks grow, its about keeping up with sign, and being there.
I like your topic.
The best strategy or technique for you, (anyone), is the one that works the best. I do 90% of mys scouting in Feb,/March. I do 5% in August-emerging food sources-and 5% during the season as I walk in and out or blood trail. I hang stands in August I do not plan to hunt until Nov. When I was guiding and outfitting, I spent over 100-days a year in the woods. Now, that is no longer needed.
If hunting strictly for enjoyment and venison whatever works for you. Sometimes method is more important than size. I envy the longbow guys that hunt often with a very limited shot distance. Many of them enjoy great success but I think get immense satisfaction from the chosen technique. I think ultimately meat hunters and method hunters gain greater satisfaction than the guys that always are thinking in terms of size and score. Just my 2 cents.
For me, at this stage, its about the woods game and catching up to a decent buck ; one that has a few years of survival, and does not run with the others. As long as i get my sausage meat which i get early, i let many deer pass by. I like the one-on-one of getting on a specific buck, not necessarily a 150, but that is ok too.
In the late 80’s & 90’s i was a meat hunter. There is a deer- kill deer. The 5 Stages of a hunter is accurate.
This is a great post, its real..... I hunt 2 different areas. SW Wisconsin bluff country and remote western UP, wolf country, but big body deer,,,, Spring scouting in Wis, and same in the UP, but with wolves, in season scouting is even more important......
Most of my hunting is with a long bow, it is effective, and simple, and I love shooting it, and to be in the woods with it, while scouting is the way to go..... However as much as I shoot, I limit my shots to 15 yards and under, and rarely not get a pass thru....
I also have a Hoyt carbon spyder, and the compound was made for ground hunting and late season, because of the let off, and use it, all of late season...... Late season is better than the rut in the UP, but not in Wis....... In Wis area I hunt, bucks are a little easier to pattern..... In the UP, bucks travel many miles, so hunting is not easy during the rut, but late season, they concentrate more, in the better feed areas......
In Wis, late pm, is prime time, like in a lot of areas..... But in wolf country, I have learned that prime time, is mid day, because them old bucks, know them wolves are out on the hunt, at twilight, and they move, as little as they have too..............
I could write pages, on how my strategy has developed for me, after a lot of years of trial and error,,,,,,,,, I love bowhunting
I am fortunate, to be in an area, that when the snow flies, which is usually early November, I can track, and track a lot of undisturbed areas, since so few do it anymore, and sit on baits.......... Tracking is very effective during the ML season, where your lucky to see another guy or two even hunting.................
The cross bows, have allowed hunters to fill up early, and leave the woods,,,,,, which is fine with me
I get your strategy and it's a sound one. The only exception I would take is that if you're, "cover(ing) a lot of ground while looking for late season stands", then you're not really stillhunting. That's the exact opposite of stillhunting, or at least the way I do it.