Ending the season with unfilled tags is not a failure, but not learning from your mistakes is. As I reflect on the past season, I am still trying to determine what mistakes, if any, I made. I am not talking about lazy mistakes, such as not paying attention at a critical time. I made plenty of those. I’m referring to strategic mistakes like interpreting sign wrong, moving too often, and hunting the same areas over and over to name a few.
Someday, I am going to devote an entire article on the most important ingredient required for a successful hunt. The ingredient? Time.
I can’t remember a year when I have hunted over such an active scrape line, complete with fresh rubs and extending over 650 yards. It felt like I was finding fresh sign each time I hunted it. As near as I can tell, the scrape line leads to his bedding area and he checks them during the night. This works out well for him but not for me. Big bucks can be very frustrating.
It’s true, I finally shot a deer. It wasn’t the biggest deer, but hey, it was a great time in the woods. The kill was extremely quick and clean. What more could I ask for?
I was perched in an oak tree over some very fresh sign from deer feeding on acorns. The leaves were all torn up and a fresh rub was twenty yards to my left. The weather had finally turned blustery with snowflakes striking my face as the wind carried them past me. To put it bluntly, it was awesome. So much anticipation wrapped up in one hunt.
Well, what do you know? I finally saw some deer, but thanks to the wind (and perhaps a bad scent control strategy), I am still empty-handed and frustrated.
I decided to switch up my strategy. As you are aware, I’ve been hunting over nuts since the start of the season. My thinking was that I had a better chance of shooting a buck in the nuts, but it has been so hit or miss (mostly miss) with deer sightings that I’d finally had enough. It was time to near some apples for a change of pace and hopefully a deer sighting.
I have confirmed that the deer use their trails when I am not there. After my fourth and fifth hunts of the year, I feel no more clued in to their whereabouts than I did before the season started. Perhaps some preseason scouting would have helped prevent this problem, but it’s too late for that now. I can’t live in the past.
I was not able to get out all week for various reasons, thus the reason for no update last Thursday. But after a successful squirrel hunt with my son on Saturday I met up with a friend and we hit the woods with great anticipation. I was planning to hunt one of my favorite stand locations situated among towering oak trees that are currently raining acorns like it’s their job. Deer sign is evident everywhere. It would lead one to think the deer frequent the area and that it makes sense to wait for them there. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy.