January 26, 2023

Do You Vary Your Hunting Techniques?

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Pursuing deer is by far the most popular form of hunting among hunters in America. This is probably true for several reasons – challenging, rewarding, relaxing, abundant deer populations, etc. Depending on where you live and hunt, you might be scratching your head a little about the “abundant deer populations” listed in one of the reasons you and I chase deer.

If you’re like me, hunting in other parts of this country comes from reading stories and listening to those who have been there and done that. We all know that being able to visit other states to participate in their hunting requires quite a bit of money. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t much to learn and share with others.

Reading I do a lot of and many years ago I learned that there are a lot of differences in hunting from state to state. Deer populations vary considerably, even within one state, as well has terrain, habitat and size of deer.

If we discuss the whitetail deer, there are some things that are pretty consistent about it no matter where you go hunting. Similar things would include its wariness of man, elusive skills, food and the rut to name a few. Two more consistent things we can add to that list are deer eat and they need a place to hide out.

Hunters will sit around the kitchen table, a campfire, over coffee or most anywhere during hunting season and talk deer hunting. When they do, someone is going to make the statement that deer are a creature of habit. This is true to some extent but I will argue that man is a bigger creature of habit, perhaps to a fault.

We are all guilty of doing the same things the way we have always done them whether that action was productive or not. How many times have you gone to the same “favorite hunting spot” only to find nothing is there? Under the right circumstances we can find deer in the same spots year in and year out but what’s going on when there are no deer there?

Simply stated the deer were either driven out by some source, wolves or coyotes, hunters, or maybe they ate themselves out of house and home. If an area becomes over populated with deer, they will destroy the habitat that provides them food and cover. When that happens they move on and you’re left in your treestand reading a book and watching the squirrels.

Obviously it is time for you to make a change. Time to move someplace where the deer are. We are such creatures of habit that we refuse often forcing the blame for no deer onto our wildlife biologists and anyone else who would become a likely target of our anger and frustration.

How you hunt may need to be re-evaluated as well. Treestand hunting is very popular in many parts of the country and has proven a successful way to take a deer. Growing up and learning to hunt in Maine is some different than other parts of the country. I almost never sat in a treestand for various reasons. The major ones being lack of deer and cold weather. It is no secret that in the northern two-thirds of the state, deer are not real plentiful. Sitting in a treestand, unless you have spent countless hours scouting for a sweet location, isn’t a real productive way to hunt.

One also has to take into consideration the amount of woods in relation to how many hunters. In some states, they deliberately shorten the deer hunting season in order to make sure there are many hunters in the woods. This congestion of hunters forces the deer to move improving the chances of hunters seeing deer.

If there are ample deer and ample hunters then a treestand or ground blind might be the best way to go. What if you are hunting in an area where there are not ample deer or hunters? What then? Or what if the area you hunt in has suddenly changed and there just aren’t the same amount of deer at your disposal? You have to change your tactics or go home.

For a hunter to be successful, they have to know how to adapt their hunting techniques to what is presented them the day of their hunt. When deer aren’t plentiful and they’re not moving by where you are, you need to go find them. You need to know how to stalk and still hunt. You need to learn what the deer’s habits are when pushed by other hunters. You need to learn where the feeding areas are in relation to the bedding down areas. For those who mostly know just treestand hunting, stalking and still-hunting is extremely rewarding not to mention challenging.

Anyone can sit in a treestand and have good success when you can pick and choose which deer to shoot. When you don’t have that luxury, your knowledge will set you apart from the others.

Think about it for a minute. We all know someone that always shoots big bucks. It would be shocking if they didn’t. There is a reason that they do. If you’re not seeing deer and shooting the deer you want, maybe it’s time to change your tactics.

Tom Remington