As deer season approaches, over the next few weeks we'll discuss ways to minimize your impact and maximize your chances of tagging a big buck this season.
Go High Tech
Trail cameras are extremely useful, but they can also be an impediment if mis-used. If you're out daily or even weekly before the season, you're leaving an awful lot of human scent in the woods and causing a disturbance each time. This leads to deer patterning you big bucks avoiding your property, and it simply isn't necessary.
Also Read: Don't Overuse Game Cameras When Scouting
Channel Your Inner Ninja
When scouting for a treestand or ground blind location, consider how you'll get to and from your location and where deer may be at those times. You may have the perfect stand location, but if you spook every deer on the property on your way in, it's probably not going to be a good hunt.
Consider taking the long way around or accessing via a neighboring property, or at least use areas of non-bedding cover or low-lying areas where you will be out of view, keeping prevailing winds in mind. Same goes for when you leave your stand at night. If you think that spooking does and fawns out of a feeding field is no big deal, see how many of those deer will be back the next night. And remember that the bucks will often be where the does are. Look for the shortest, quietest route that will keep you hidden and keep your scent away from the deer. Clearing some brush to allow you to move quietly is also wise.
Get Stand Up Early
Getting stands/blinds up well before the season allows deer to get accustomed to them, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't still try to hide them, as deer will notice you sitting in a previously unoccupied treestand that's too exposed. Pick a tree that's wide enough to cover you from behind, and keep some branches above and even below you for concealment. Consider some sort of netting or other camo material to wrap around your treestand. Make sure your blind is adequately brushed-in to disappear into the surrounding terrain. Once the hunting starts, if you need to move or put up a new stand/blind, do it during mid-day when deer are less likely to be around. Place your stand with the prevailing wind direction in mind but, especially if you're limited to hunting just one property, consider putting up another stand or two that you can hunt if the wind is blowing from a different direction.
For more tips on low impact hunting, visit 4 More Tips for Low-Impact Deer Hunting and 3 Smart Ways Deer Hunters Can Stay Out-of-Sight and Out-of-Mind at Bass Pro Shops 1Source.