Use hunting pressure to your advantage
New York state’s archery season is a lengthy one, especially since the Southern Zone kickoff was rolled back to Oct. 1 a few years ago. While some archers have ignored that early opener and waited until cooler weather arrived and fall foliage thinned out, many have taken advantage of it to pattern a buck on a food source before hunting pressure – from other bowhunters as well as small game enthusiasts – knocked him out of his routine.
For sure, by mid-October just about everything is in season, and it’s not uncommon for bowhunters to share the woods with other hunters pursuing turkeys, pheasants, rabbits, squirrels or even predator hunting. And with all that activity there’s a good possibility it will influence deer movement in your hunting spot.
Instead of grumbling about it and whining about how other hunters are invading “your” hunting area, the much better option is to deal with it and make it work in your favor.
It doesn’t always work out according to plan, but savvy bowhunters will size up the hunting pressure and act accordingly. No better example comes from South Dakota, where bowhunters regularly deal with the flood of pheasant hunters from across the country who come to experience some of the finest hunting anywhere. Bowhunters there often react to those hunting masses not by staying home, but by altering their stand locations to best take advantage of the pheasant hunting pressure and sizing up anticipated deer movement.
It doesn’t work all the time, but nothing does in the whitetail woods. Still, getting out there and hunting beats staying at home and watching TV.
New York hunters can do the same, but it takes a little work. Try to get a handle on who is going to be hunting where and for what species, and size up factors like wind direction and hunter movement to figure out where deer may go to avoid it. Set a treestand accordingly and you’re still very much in the game despite the nearby hunting activity.
Don’t get discouraged when you see other hunters out there doing what they love, whether it’s running rabbits with a beagle, setting up on a fall turkey flock, or pursuing stocked pheasants with their retriever or pointer. It’s their hunting spot, too; they just have a different passion than yours.