Planning For Success


The month of February is a good time to sit back and reflect on the past deer season. Analyzing the things that worked for us-and also the things that didn’t turn out so well-can help us as we plan our strategy for  future seasons. If we killed a good buck, we can try to figure out why that particular setup worked. We can ask what the deer was doing there, and also why he was there at that particular time. This allows us to make intelligent decisions as we look for additional spots that hold the potential for producing similar results.

Deer hunting, particularly with a bow, is a game of inches. Paying attention to details is a necessity, and can often be the difference between success and sitting on stand for a lot of long, unproductive hours. And attention to detail is important in every element of the hunt, and never more so than during  planning and preparation. A stand mispositioned by a mere twenty yards may often just as well be a quarter mile off. Planning is literally most of the battle. By the time we climb into a tree stand, most of the proactive part of hunting is already done. At that point it is too late to make significant changes and all that is left is the passive, or reactive, part of the hunt where we have no choice but to wait for the deer to make his move and then respond accordingly.

Therefore, the things we do during the off-season are often more important than what we do once the season finally opens. The best hunters are constantly thinking about what worked and what went wrong, and tweaking their setups accordingly. Very rarely will they hang a stand and then leave it in that same spot year after year. The habitat changes, and the habits of the deer change with it. The most successful hunters are never satisfied with the way things are. They never stop trying to improve their methods and adapt to the behavioral changes of the deer.

For many of us, our summertime preparation consists of practicing our shooting to the point where we are deadly accurate out to forty yards or more. That is all well and good, but in order to take advantage of that pinpoint accuracy we must first get into position for a shot. And that should all begin well before opening day. It can be difficult to stay in the hunting mindset during the summer months but once we understand how important that preparation is it becomes second nature. Being consistently successful on mature bucks requires a more or less year-round commitment.

Henry Hershberger
Hillcrest Lumber

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