Hunting Tips From Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland
Hunting in Hot Weather
In many parts of the country, early hunting seasons mean warm weather. This calls for some special tactics to help control scent and also and change in hunting strategy. Like any creature, deer will move less when temperatures are high. They will utilize the early morning and late evening hours more than ever. They also tend to center their activity near or around water. All of us tend to focus our scouting on the food sources in the early part of the year but don’t forget to check water sources when the heat is on. Creeks, ponds or any fresh water source is a good place to do some looking. When hunting in hot weather, carry your hunting clothes or scent lock suit along in a plastic bag and change into them once you’ve arrived at your stand. Take a few minutes to cool down and them put on your outer layer. Wear rubber boots and stalk your way to your stand. Try and pick your way in slowly avoiding contact with any brush. Just like the deer, when the weather is hot, just slow yourself down. Check those over-looked water holes and keep yourself as cool as possible.
Ever wondered what you sound like to a deer when you’re walking to or leaving your treestand?
Some hunters spend days searching for that perfect stand site and then blow their chances by alarming deer on their approach. Once you located fresh sign be it a trail, feeding sign, fresh rubs or scrapes, spend some extra time planning the best way to approach your stand. Determine where you feel the deer are coming from and make sure your walk-in avoids that area. Try and find the quietest route. Look for open areas where you avoid brush and go ahead and clear a path in the leaves if you have time. At the very least, leave early and stalk your way in making as little noise as possible. If your approach is through heavy leaves, break your rhythm when walking. Walk, stop for while walk further and stop again.
Preparing your stand sites before the season opens.
Go ahead and open up some shooting lanes that may offer you more than one shot option. The best way to cut shooting lanes is to utilize a partner. Once you’ve selected the spot you going to hunt, go ahead and place your stand and get in it. Have a friend on the ground with a portable saw and point out to them what obstructions need to be removed. Make sure you have two or three shooting lanes but don’t go overboard. The key is to open up some reasonable lanes without removing too much natural cover. Deer are creatures of habit and know the woods like you know your living room. Always check your state and federal regulations before cutting limbs or brush or before using any type of treestand or screw in steps. Some types of treestands and steps are illegal on public land. Shooting lanes can pay off big time when you’re hunting deer in thick cover. If possible, try and get your scouting and sawing done well before you plan on hunting.
The most critical time in most bow hunts is ‘the draw” especially with close quarters whitetails. I practice at extended ranges, out to 60 and 70 yards but 90% of my shots on whitetails are going to be 30 yards and in (I Love 15 to 20 yards). My EVO is not only unbelievably accurate, fast and smooth but also quiet, but there is quiet and then there is big buck at 20 yards ears cocked, looking around, not a breath of wind quiet. At that moment quiet has nothing to do with the sound the bow makes when it goes off but what if any sounds you and IT (the bow) makes coming to full draw. To see if you are truly silent coming to full draw you must do a test. Dress in full hunting gear, gloves, head net, jacket, everything you might have on while hunting, then get inside your house late at night and turn off the air conditioner, TV anything that makes noise. Once your house is totally silent, come to full draw with an arrow and listen. In these conditions any small sound from clothing, arrow rest etc. will be VERY apparent unlike while shooting outside. Many times the arrow will make a sound coming across the rest, sometimes it may be clothing that scratches or buckles on a release aid. If you can hear it, so can the deer. For arrow noise (if any) PSE has a product called scorpion venom that I apply to all my arrows that TOTALLY stops any friction noise I may have on the Whisker biscuit. They also have great lubricating oil for cams if you have any noise there, (my EVO is quiet as a mouse). Clothing is an ongoing test to see what works for you. Lots of great choices out there but the bottom line is soft is silent. Cotton, chamois, polar fleece all work for me. This may seem like a lot of trouble to go through but over the past 3 decades of bowhunting and filming bowhunters I have seen many times the sound, not the sight of getting to full draw blow the deal.
Wear an arm guard
Again I have seen so many opportunities blown while filming bowhunters because they did not practice with the same gear and especially clothing they may end up hunting with. Today many people hunt the full season in some very cold weather with archery gear and I’ll promise they ALL have 2 things in common, one is they at some point missed a shot because the bow string hit their arm and second they now have 2 arm guards, one on their arm and a spare in their pack. If you get in a situation where you left your arm guard, and you’re going to be bowhunting with extra layers, bust out the duct tape. I killed a mule deer in North Dakota “on camera” with black duct tape on my arm and it worked great. Bottom line, practice in REAL hunting conditions and find your flaws before your trying to close the deal.
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