To effectively hunt bucks on travel routes, it is important for you to subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications. By doing so, you will stay updated with the latest strategies and tips. Additionally, you can show your support by ordering a shirt, which will contribute to the growth of our channel. For more hunting content, make sure to follow us on Instagram and stay connected on Twitter. If you’re itching to get out and start hunting during deer season, but not sure how to tackle the early season challenges, this article has got you covered. With high temperatures and pesky pests to contend with, early season hunting can be tough. However, by identifying travel routes between water and food sources, you can increase your chances of spotting deer. While setting up directly on food or water sources might work for hunting does or young bucks, targeting travel routes is more effective for targeting bucks. It’s important to avoid hunting near bedding areas during early season to preserve good pre-rut and rut stands. Soft mast food sources like persimmons, apples, and american plum become particularly important during the early season as deer’s nutritional needs shift to carbohydrates and fats. Look out for soft mast food sources with nearby cover, as these spots are ideal for early season hunting. By following these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to a successful start to the season.
Identifying Travel Routes
During the early season, deer are in need of water to survive the high temperatures. While deer typically get most of their water from their food, they still visit water sources. Identifying these water sources and setting up near them can increase your chances of spotting deer. Consider digging small water holes to entice deer to come closer to your hunting area. Keep in mind that water sources can vary depending on the region, so it’s important to research the specific water sources in your area.
Food is another essential resource for deer during the early season. They require ample nutrition to sustain their energy levels, especially as they transition from seeking high protein food sources to food sources that provide more energy through carbohydrates and fats. Acorns from oak trees are a popular food source for deer, but if you don’t have oak trees on your property or if the acorn production is low, it’s important to identify soft mast food sources like persimmons, apples, and American plum. These soft mast food sources not only provide nutrition but also act as attractants for deer.
Travel routes between water sources and food sources are prime locations for deer activity during the early season. Deer tend to follow familiar routes as they move from one resource to another, making them predictable targets for hunters. These travel routes, also known as natural funnels, can be identified by studying the terrain and local topography. Look for features such as ridges, valleys, and pinch points that funnel deer through specific areas. Setting up along these natural funnels can significantly increase your chances of encountering deer during the early season.
Sitting on Travel Routes
Advantages of Sitting on Travel Routes
Sitting on travel routes between water sources and food sources has several advantages for early-season hunting. Firstly, it allows you to intercept deer as they move between resources, increasing your chances of spotting them. Secondly, these travel routes are often used during daylight hours, meaning you’re more likely to see deer activity during your hunting sessions. Finally, by sitting on travel routes, you can avoid pressuring deer by not setting up directly on food or water sources.
Choosing the Right Location
When selecting a location along a travel route, it’s essential to consider factors such as wind direction, cover, and visibility. Choose a spot that allows you to hunt with the wind in your favor, reducing the chances of deer scenting you. Additionally, look for areas with good cover nearby, such as thickets or brush, as deer prefer to stay close to cover for safety. Lastly, ensure that your chosen location provides sufficient visibility, allowing you to spot deer from a distance and plan your shots effectively.
Effective Strategies for Targeting Bucks
Understanding Buck Behavior
To effectively target bucks during the early season, it’s crucial to understand their behavior. Bucks are still in a somewhat patternable routine of seeking food and cover, which continues until the pre-rut phase begins. They are more likely to stick to familiar travel routes and remain predictable during this time. By studying their behavior and knowing their movement patterns, you can strategically position yourself along these travel routes to increase your chances of encountering a buck.
Hunting Bucks on Travel Routes
As mentioned earlier, hunting bucks on travel routes is more effective during the early season. Bucks tend to be more cautious and will often wait until nightfall before visiting food or water sources, especially if the available cover in the area is inadequate. By setting up along travel routes, you’re more likely to encounter bucks during daylight hours. Choose a location that allows you to observe their movement patterns and plan your hunting strategies accordingly.
Hunting Bucks vs Does or Young Bucks
Targeting Bucks on Travel Routes
If your primary goal is to target mature bucks during the early season, focusing on travel routes is key. Bucks, especially older and more experienced ones, tend to be more cautious and wary of their surroundings. They are less likely to expose themselves in open areas or during daylight if the cover is not sufficient. By sitting along travel routes, you have a higher chance of encountering these mature bucks as they move between their bedding areas and food sources.
Targeting Does or Young Bucks on Food or Water Sources
On the other hand, if you’re targeting does or young bucks during the early season, setting up directly on food or water sources can be more effective. These younger deer are often less cautious and may visit these resources during daylight hours. By positioning yourself near food or water sources, you increase your chances of encountering them and potentially harvesting a deer.
Preserving Good Pre-rut and Rut Stands
Avoiding Hunting Near Bedding Areas
During the early season, it’s crucial to avoid hunting near bedding areas to preserve good pre-rut and rut stands. Deer, especially in hot weather, need places to cool down and rest. These cooler bedding areas are typically found on northern and eastern slopes, providing more shade and moisture. It’s best to steer clear of these bedding areas during the early season to avoid disrupting deer movement and potentially pressuring them away from these areas. Save these good stands for the pre-rut and rut stages when their full potential can be realized.
Soft Mast Food Sources in Early Season
Identifying Soft Mast Food Sources
As the early season progresses, deer’s nutritional requirements shift from needing more protein to seeking more energy through carbohydrates and fats. Soft mast food sources play a crucial role during this time. Persimmons, apples, and American plum are some examples of soft mast food sources that deer are attracted to. Identifying these food sources on your hunting grounds and setting up near them can greatly enhance your chances of encountering deer during the early season.
Nutritional Shift in Deer’s Diet
Deer’s nutritional needs change during the early season as they prepare for the upcoming rut. The shift from high protein to energy-rich food sources is essential for their overall well-being and energy reserves. Soft mast food sources provide deer with the carbohydrates and fats they need to sustain themselves during this transitional period. By understanding this nutritional shift, hunters can target areas with soft mast food sources to increase their chances of encountering deer.
Importance of Soft Mast with Nearby Cover
When scouting for soft mast food sources in the early season, it’s crucial to consider the presence of nearby cover. Soft mast food sources that are close to thick cover, such as thickets or brush, are ideal hunting spots. Deer feel more secure when feeding in close proximity to cover, as it provides them with a safe retreat if they sense danger. By setting up along trails leading to soft mast food sources with nearby cover, you maximize your chances of encountering deer during the early season.
The early season presents unique challenges and opportunities for deer hunters. By identifying travel routes, sitting on these routes, understanding buck behavior, targeting bucks strategically, and preserving good pre-rut and rut stands, hunters can increase their chances of success during this time. Additionally, paying attention to soft mast food sources and their nutritional importance, as well as considering nearby cover, can significantly enhance hunting opportunities during the early season. Remember to always prioritize safety, ethics, and responsible hunting practices while enjoying your time in the outdoors. Happy hunting!