The big question I get asked a lot is, “How do you harvest big deer with your bow every year?
I’m lucky if I ever see one like that”
I think the all-time answer is, I see deer all year long. I hunt all year round. I can be working like everyone else but I never stop looking for deer. My passion for hunting began when I was young. I hunted for pleasure and to sustain my family. I’ve learned to see animals when most people would drive right by these critters. You have to have passion. It’s proven when you are passionate about something you pursue it until you attain it.
For me the greatest challenge is to see deer before they see you. Then you can study them at a distance and even pattern a specific animal, but deer are not just everywhere. You have to have a knowledge of the animal you are hunting and that means knowing where to look. Food sources, certain terrain, water, and cover are good places to start. After years of studying deer behavior, you get a sixth sense of knowing where to look, and if your wife is not in the truck while you’re driving that’s a big bonus because your eye’s are rarely on the road. I can usually spot deer at great distances because of the odd shape of a horizontal object in a stand of vertical trees. Colour that is out of sync with the surrounding terrain, a white patch in a green field etc. Obviously certain times of the day and weather all play a part in seeing deer.
“You have to have passion. It’s proven when you are passionate about something you pursue it until you attain it.”
If you’re after mature deer, they are a little harder to see. Doe’s can be seen quite frequently in open spaces, fields, etc. However, to see bucks regularly, concentrate on spots in the corners of feeding grounds. Usually shaded areas tucked back from the does. Often times I will just park and grab my bino’s and scan these hidden spots. Of course just before dark and early in the morning are the best times to catch a glimpse. More times than not you will find a buck lurking in the shadows waiting for dark to come so he can feed. Bucks like transition zones which are staging areas where they feel safe to hang out before entering into open areas. If you could imagine yourself feeling like you’re being watched all the time you would stay concealed before exposing yourself too. Big bucks live every day to survive and rely heavily on their senses to keep them safe. The older they get the more elusive they become and they are big on picking spots that make them feel comfortable. Many times I’ll see a small piece of bush that the majority of folks would never suspect anything to be living in, much less a mature buck, but these guys will pick these sanctuaries because they don’t receive any pressure. Don’t count out small patches of thick willow either, I’ve seen deer squirt out of those areas quite often. Time of year also plays a giant role in seeing bucks. The last months of summer always reveal bucks out in the fields during daylight pampering the sensitive velvet antlers before rubbing starts. This is, in my experience the best time to spend behind some quality optics glassing for your target animal.
Once you find what you’re looking for then all the other dynamics come into play like permission to hunt, scouting, camera location, stands etc. I will speak about these topics in the next two blogs.
Put your eyes on and always be looking I guarantee you will see more deer.