The rut. The infamous time of season that all hunters look forward to and sometimes literally drool over. I’ll admit, it’s a great time of year; however, opening day is not it. Opening day can be great. In some cases, it can set the overall tone for the season. Here are some tips that may facilitate lasting good-vibes for your season:
End of Summer Intel
The last bits of intelligence are key. What these creatures were doing a month or two ago may no longer be valid. Know where they live, how they get to and from and where they eat. Many individuals view the weeks leading up to opening day the same way they view the NFL preseason, unimportant and a waste of time. Take advantage of all the time you’ve put in and your determination will carry through to the “regular season.” Remain vigilant in your preparation and especially when you step foot into their dwelling. Take the same precautions you would on a day during the regular season. If you don’t think that they know it’s about that time of year, you’re wrong. Deer generally hang out in cliques and leave signs of their presence. Don’t dwell on an area with no signs of life. If there are no signs of anything, will it change between now and opening day? Put the computer to use, besides reading these well written articles. Break out the cameras and mini SD cards, track em’!
We have them in the military and they have them in the woods. As a human, you’re not going to be hot to trot directly into the thick of things. Much like us, deer are going to halt prior to the objective to bunker down and move under the cover of vegetative concealment and light. Staging areas can sometimes make for a great pre-dusk intercept point. Deer need water too; if it’s hot outside, chances are it is to them as well. Stalk those watering holes, catch one while it’s taking a sip.
PRACTICE and Extend Your Range
Practice your craft. It takes roughly 5-8,000 repetitions of something for it to become muscle memory. Everyone’s juices are flowing at the beginning of the season, making you more apt to push patience to the side and take that longer shot. Extend your practice range and start shooting past and breaking your current comfort-ability barrier. It will make it that much easier if the situation of a longer than usual shot should produce itself.
Take Some Stocking Stuffers
When a “normal” person thinks about hunting deer, they generally think of colder weather. If you’re a Louisianian, you know that is not the case. Bow season is rapidly approaching and the heat is not rapidly declining. Gloves/masks will only contribute to another safety concern, dehydration. Grab a chunk of coal out of the grill (I know they’ve been in use) and use that as camo. Charcoal also serves as an odor masker…some of you may need two chunks.
Stand or Stalk? That is the Question.
If every deer in the wild established a monotonous pattern, there would be a consistent dwindling of tag allocations. Deer change and they change often. Depending on your level of preparedness, you may not hold the title of, “Nostradamus of the Woods.” With there always being a certain level of unpredictability, some have higher levels than others. Maybe now is the time to get out on the ground and hunt.
Break out the ThermaCell. Nothing gives away your position quicker than smacking a selfish blood sucker off of your neck in the middle of a hunt. Save your cartridges, I know plenty who soak them in attractant and roast em’ later on in the season.
Everyone wants to tag something on opening day. I wish everyone (including myself) that luck, but it’s unrealistic. Be patient. It’s the first day of the season, there is plenty of time after opening day to fill the freezer. Besides, regardless of your location you can still go home and watch LSU whoop some in the gridiron hunting grounds. Depending on the opening day date in your location, it’s either Mississippi State or Missouri. Geaux Tigers!
Charlie Anable- LABH Contributor