Last week we discussed a few ways to practice low-impact deer hunting. Let's look at a few more ways minimize your impact and maximize your chances of tagging a big buck this season.
Always Maintain Stealth
Take the same precautions when you are scouting, setting out trail cameras or putting up treestands and ground blinds as you would when actually hunting. This means keeping as quiet as possible, staying out of sight and following good scent control practices, including wearing gloves and rubber boots. Just because hunting season has started yet doesn't mean that deer won't be spooked by you.
Keep it on the Edge
If you plan to hunt does on your property, try to minimize the disturbance you'll create by doing so either during the early season or well after the rut, and preferably with archery gear. And try to limit it to the outer edges of your property, rather than in the core, big buck areas. Similarly, don't take low-percentage shots that may lead to a long tracking job right through a big buck's bedding area.
Stick to Deer
Where possible, consider hunting with a silent bow rather than a loud rifle, shotgun or muzzleloader. Similarly, I know it's tempting to take a whack at that turkey, hog or coyote that may come ambling by your stand, but when you are hunting a big buck, that's all you should be hunting. Not only will trailing, retrieving and field dressing something else take time away from your buck pursuits, but it will also create disturbance.
Hunt Smarter, Not Harder
Probably the biggest key to low-impact hunting is to only hunt a particular property, stand or ground blind when the conditions are right. Hopefully you've chosen your stand locations with prevailing winds in mind, but if the winds shift and are no longer favorable, you simply don't hunt that stand that day. If you do, you risk blowing that buck right off your property. Sometimes it may take weeks before conditions are ideal for a particular location, but that's the discipline it takes to tag the biggest, wisest old bucks on your property. The only time you can consider violating this rule is on the last day of the season. Yes, it's true that you can't shoot a buck if you're sitting back at camp or on your couch, but hunting harder is not the same as hunting smarter.
For more tips on low impact hunting, visit Tips for Low-Impact Deer Hunting: All About the Scent and 3 Smart Ways Deer Hunters Can Stay Out-of-Sight and Out-of-Mind at Bass Pro Shops 1Source.
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