You’ve put in the grueling work, endured sweaty days in the hot summer, all in the pursuit for that one trophy animal you can’t help but daydream about. Your trail camera has captured his movement, and you are anxious and set on arrowing your stud.
A lot of hunters, myself included, have seen this scenario all too many times, and if we’re honest, it never works out like the daydream did. But why? It seems like such a simple task. You have the buck's pattern, you know where he is and what time he passes through, but yet you can’t get a shot off at this brute.
We become impatient and greedy as hunters. We’ve waited all summer, shot day-in and day-out, and as soon as opening day rolls around, you can guarantee we’ll be sitting in a stand in the territory that this stud owns. Unfortunately, one sit becomes two, then two becomes ten, and by the time the rut rolls around, the deer know you are there. Whether you think you’ve been quiet getting in and out of the stand, and you’ve watched your scent control, you have hunted it so much that every deer that comes through instinctively looks up to your tree. Hunters become so invested in hunting one buck in one spot that they completely disregard wind direction and the idea of overhunting.
So, how do we fulfill our anxiety to hunt our stud, and stay in control as far as overhunting? Personally, when we find a mature buck on camera, and we have a stand hung in the surrounding area, we tend to do a few things to ensure he stays comfortable and stays in the area throughout the season.
We find a good day within the first week of the season and sit the stand set once, to try and catch him while he's still in the summer pattern. After we sit the stand (unless we have a close encounter with the target buck), we leave the area almost completely until the rut starts to heat up.
We also hold each other accountable based on the wind direction. Even if it is a picture-perfect day, we try and refrain from sitting a stand set if we have a bad wind. A bad wind can ruin a spot without you ever knowing, and it’s not worth the risk of bumping a mature deer for who knows how long.
Archery hunting, like anything else in life, is always a learning experience. That’s what keeps us going back to it. No matter how much you think you know, and whether you're a professional or an amateur, you can learn something new each and every time out in the field. Impatience can kill a season, but let’s be honest, every hunter has done it, and we have become better hunters because of it. That is what sets archery hunting apart from anything else. Let us know if you have any questions, and as always, shoot straight.