4PT16.6 – Insane Hunting
My preseason plan is in danger of completely falling apart. I was supposed to have a New Hampshire archery deer in the freezer already and well on my way to a Vermont archery deer. I haven’t seen much of anything in New Hampshire but did come close one night (Stupid Wind), and blew a chance in Vermont when my arrow hit a sapling (Broken Arrow). Rough start.
Despite two opportunities, the season has yet to have any real excitement to it. I have all sorts of excuses reasons for why this is the case, but at the risk of sounding like a whiner I don’t want to mention the warm weather, excessive amounts of food, and lack of quality time to invest. In New Hampshire, these same reasons (except for time) are used to explain the 23% drop in archery harvest over last year at this same time. At least I’m not alone, right?
I hunted three different properties over the weekend – two in Vermont and then one in New Hampshire for a change of pace. I was skunked each time. To make matters worse, trail cameras at these locations don’t make me feel any more optimistic about my chances. There is very little activity on them.
If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then my strategy to date is dangerously close to being labeled as such. I know my trail cameras are not showing much for daytime activity where they are located, so why do I keep hunting there? I think it’s time for a change of course.
My plan moving forward will be two-fold. First, I am going to try another property I haven’t hunted yet this year to see what the deer activity looks like. Of course, this time of year it can be very difficult to see fresh sign because of the freshly fallen leaves, but I know the area fairly well and will focus my attention on popular travel corridors. If step one falls through, I plan to focus more on scouting than hunting. Lately, I’ve been arriving at my hunting locations so late that I only have time to race to my stand and get settled in. This leaves zero time for scouting. Relying on last year’s deer patterns for this year’s stand location is probably not the most effective plan.
On my next opportunity I have for a last minute hunt, I plan to put on some miles to find fresh deer activity instead of climbing a tree and settling in. The way I see it, I can keep hunting the same stands and hope for a miracle, or I can spend some time scouting and increase my chances of making something happen in the future.
In the picture at the top of this post you’ll see a number of acorn cups but no acorns. Many moons ago I read an article in a reliable outdoor publication (unlike this one) that said once deer start feeding at a particular oak, they’ll continue to feed there regularly until the acorns are gone. Unless the oak is located in a natural travel pattern of the deer why would they come back to the tree if the food is gone? Odds are they won’t. I’m going to find that oak that has a few eaten acorns, as well as some that have not been eaten yet, and hunt there.
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