I’ve never been able to sit still for very long. At least, not until I started bow hunting. Training yourself to move your eyes before your head is not easy. Keeping your movements close to your body is not easy. Timing your draw without being detected is not easy. But then again, if bow hunting were easy then everyone would do it. It’s about the challenge and close proximity more than the weapon. You can have 10 acres or 1,500 acres. As a bow hunter, most can only hunt a 50 yard radius at once which can be both frustrating and rewarding at the same time. I call this “Micro Hunting” and refer to the property I hunt as an “Arena”. Who will win this round? The deer are in the lead.
A lot of my rifle hunting friends tell me about how many deer they see when they go. “I saw 18 does and 4 spikes before 9 am”. I’m happy for them, but that does nothing for me. I would be foolish to compare the number of deer they see to what I see. I can’t see further than 50 yards in my woods. I would rather see an old doe at 22 yards that is actively looking for me, than 22 deer at 200yds in a clearing. Currently I see deer one in every four hunts and am successful one in every ten hunts. With stats like that you have to learn to appreciate the small things about each hunt. Did I get busted? No? Small victory.
Does this resonate with you? If so, you get it. You know how much consideration and self-awareness is behind every single move you make. Scent control, which path you took to your stand, and which stand the conditions allowed you to hunt are all an important part of the hunt. Yes, killing a deer is the ultimate victory, but I’ve left the woods many times feeling accomplished without ever drawing back my bow. When you hunt where the deer are, you must remain undetected. That may sound obvious, but when you hunt the same parcel of land repeatedly it is an art to not push the deer into the nocturnal abyss. Being non-disruptive is paramount and should be your ultimate goal. If you want to kill your target buck outside of the rut then your best chance is to not alert him of your presence. Find sign, be mobile, hunt correct winds and cut as little brush as possible. Often times doing less is the best thing you can do to boost your chances. If you ever get the feeling that you are pressuring your area, then leave it for a week or two to allow the area to normalize.
Micro Hunting is not about to the size of your property. It is about you and your decisions. It is about possessing a heightened sense of self-awareness. I do not believe in chance or fate. I believe in positioning. Good things have the opportunity to happen every day, but you have to position yourself to be able to take advantage of them. Anyone can kill a big buck once and get lucky, but can you do it over and over again?
If you are new to bow hunting, new to deer hunting in general, or are a convert from the land of rifles and box stands, I am excited for you. I hope you get busted. I hope you get blown at. I hope you get the white flag waved at you. But most importantly I hope you get hooked. Because success without failure is boring. If failure is not a motivator for you, then bow hunting may not be your sport for very long. It’s a humbling experience, really, because you never actually get good at it. You just get less bad. No matter what you do you still smell like a human and you are still hunting the deer’s living room and they are better at this game than you. But, I learn to play the game a little better each year.
Kyler Moppert- LABH Brand Manager