Bowhunting tip: don’t overhunt your tree stand
Know when to say no.
Just say no.
Those two ad campaigns – Anheuser-Busch and the federal anti-drug effort – have remained popular phrases even today, even though both slogans are now over 30 years old.
But both can – and should – be applied to your archery hunting efforts.
Probably the most common blunder I see today – and I know, because years ago I was guilty of it as well – is overhunting a stand or hunting it when the wind is all wrong.
Trust me. Take it from a guy who has been there and seen seasons blow up in his face like a bad 10th grade chemistry class experiment. It’s not worth it.
Especially if you’re targeting a specific buck (and if that’s the case chances are good it’s a mature whitetail), hunting a stand when you shouldn’t can unravel your efforts in a hurry. Ever hear a hunter complaining about deer “going nocturnal?” Well, it’s likely just a product of overhunting an area and hunting it when the wind isn’t in your favor.
Let me give you an example. I know a group of guys in Pennsylvania who have really taken to crossbows, about 6-8 hunters who all use the implements during the regular archery season in the Keystone State and have a heck of a good time. They’ve killed some bucks, including one wall hanger if I recall, but prior to picking up a crossbow most were not bowhunters and had never before hunted during the archery season. They didn’t have that bowhunting mentality.
As a result, these guys will, every season, just about every day, head out to the same stand each evening. With no regard to the wind or other conditions, they will hunt. They have a great time, and kill the occasional buck and a few does, but invariably after a week or two I’ll hear them start talking about how the deer have “gone nocturnal.”
Sure, you can use all the scent-control tactics available today, and there are many. But it’s tough to beat a whitetail’s nose with any consistency. The best way is to back out when conditions aren’t in your favor.
It’s not an easy thing to do, especially if you know there’s a big buck in the neighborhood, one you’ve watched evolve from a yearling to a bruiser. Followed from afar with the binocs as he grew all summer, then saw him with his velvet gone and his rack hardened. It will keep you awake at night.
But steering clear of a stand when the wind is all wrong will also keep you in the game. It’s not easy staying home and catching up on home front duties, especially when you know the deer are on their feet. But it’s a risk not worth taking if the wind isn’t in your favor.
That’s perhaps the biggest reason why it pays to have several stand options. If the wind isn’t right in one, it might be in another. It probably won’t help you if you’re focusing on a single buck, but then again there might be an option that will keep you in that game.
Bottom line, and with apologies to the folks at Anheuser-Busch and to Nancy Reagan, know when to say no. And just say no.