Opening Day Deer Hunting Game Plan, Part 2
Bob McNally 09.06.16
High-traffic deer travel corridors like creek draws and overgrown field fence lines can shine during opening week hunts when animals are pushed by hunters on the move. In many public hunting areas it’s often wise to climb high in a tree stand long before daybreak during opening week hunts, then stay put until you collect venison.
Choose a spot that overlooks a number of different trails in a travel corridor where scouting has shown deer activity. Use quality optics, and stay constantly alert.
Deer spooked by hunters rarely are seen running flat-out across open country. This is true of bucks “pushed” even during opening week. They learn fast what’s happening and know they’re vulnerable. So they’ll be slipping along slowly and quietly in the shadows, sticking to cover. Their survival antennas are way up, and you’ve got to be watching, listening, and waiting carefully to detect them.
Sometimes the best places for opening day hunting are on border edges of private land, abutting public hunting areas. Wildlife Management Areas can crawl with hunters during opening week, so deer that had been living in the WMA quickly vacate the place, heading to cover in private surrounding lands.
A good game plan for opening week hunting is to get on stand early near a property “peripheral” area, or a “funnel” close to a deer bedding zone. Stay as late as possible. Bring a day pack with plenty of food and water. Have the right clothing and accessories to make your stay comfortable. If you’ve got to get down and move around, walk at mid-day and do a little slow stalking into the wind. Be scouting, too, and use binoculars often. Get back on stand by early afternoon, perhaps a different spot overlooking a feeding area where you’ve seen deer.
It’s easy to get discouraged during opening week. You’re likely to see lots of hunters, hear plenty of shooting, and maybe have too many people too close to spots you prefer to see no one. You’re also likely to see other hunters with good bucks they’ve collected not far from your honey holes.
But be positive.
Think about how you can improve your effectiveness while hunting and what deer are doing to try to avoid the onslaught of people in their domain.
Start hunting early, quit late. Scout, glass, and don’t give up. Not ever. It’ll pay off.