Thursday, September 24, 2015

Go farther. Work harder. Hunt smarter.

With Ohio's bow season just days away I find the anticipation level is as high as ever. Certainly not because I have a booner buck patterned and the forecast is perfect for an opening day hunt, but rather to simply start another season and experience the adventure that awaits.

One of the most intriguing aspects of bowhunting deer in the Midwest is knowing the unknown. To further clarify, it is knowing that at any moment you can find yourself hunting an unknown deer that calls your hunting grounds his home. Quality whitetails aren't hiding behind every tree, but there are enough around that you know anything is possible.

Even with trail cameras deciphering much of the unknown there are still deer taken every year that hunters are completely unaware of until they lay eyes on them during a hunt. More often than not this happens during the whitetail rut when bucks throw caution into the wind, but it can also happen as bucks shed their velvet and shift from summer ranges to their new fall and winter homes.

In an attempt to locate a quality buck in heavily hunted areas I reanalyzed the grounds I have been hunting and focused on where I felt deer would feel secure. Under the blazing summer sun I trudged to isolated pinch point where several wood lines intersect, out of sight from any nearby road. The rolling terrain bottoms out at the creek flowing through a small section of swampy woods criss-crossed with active trails. A camera was hung and quickly the results provided confidence.

Bachelor group frequenting the secluded bottom.

The Dude. 

Once I knew quality deer were comfortable roaming the area, I returned to prepare a tree stand. On my return trip I decided to work smarter using my old mountain bike to reduce the time it takes to hike the 8 tenths of a mile back. Dry ground along the unplanted area between the fence row and beans helped me cruise through without issue.

The stand is located at an inside corner, situated in a mature tree to hide my outline as deer approach from the neighboring property to the south and provides a nice view out into the field to watch deer cruising the edge.

The mountain bike will be deployed again when forecasters call for a SSW wind. Time will tell if going farther, working harder and hunting smarter will pay punched-tag dividends. Grandpa told me anything that comes easy in life isn't worth a damn. I can honestly say that nothing easy will come from hunting the 8 mile stand and it sure feels like a good spot to shoot a quality deer. Let's hope that these ingredients mix for a successful season.