Lesson Number Three: Wind.
In all hunting venues, the wind seems to affect us all. For long range hunters, wind affects trajectory and bullet impact. For archers wind affects the deer’s defenses. Anyone who has hunted knows that a deer’s sense of smell is very keen.
Therefore we must use the wind to our advantage at every moment. In the Western Rockies it is especially important because the wind often circles. Yes it circles. I have seen many times when you ascend a hill the wind will be blowing one direction and within a few paces it will have completely shifted. An archery hunters best friend is his “Squeeze Breeze.” Several companies make this product. It is simply a little plastic bottle filled with a white powder. When the bottle is squeezed some white powder is blown into the air and carried in the wind current. This allows one to always be aware of wind direction. You can make your on by loading some cornstarch into a plastic bottle with a small flip top.
Lesson Number Four: Camouflage.
What you wear during your hunt is important to your success. However, realize that oftentimes products are made for hunters as much as game. I would recommend only a few things in this area. Consider the type of habitat that you will be hunting and shop for your camouflage accordingly. In the West the tones of your camouflage will be much lighter than they are in the Midwest and Eastern States. Here quaken aspens, sagebrush and evergreens dominate the landscape with patches of scrub oak mixed in.
I have had success wearing differing camouflage patterns and oftentimes mixing one with another (i.e. digital woodland upper with traditional woodland lower). Most importantly I stress the need to cover the skin with long sleeved shirts and head net or camouflage paint. Facial hair works great, too! For you older fellas that feel bad about some gray in your beard, be happy that you have some all natural face camo.
Camouflage can also be applied to your method of hunting. This could include either a ground blind or a tree stand. I love tree stands because they often help or eliminate the issues faced with wind. They also put you in a different space that game can be less aware of. Buy a quality, comfortable stand if this is your choice. Life can be hard if you’re uncomfortable 20-30 feet up a tree.
Lesson Number Five: Close is Better than Far.
One of the most rewarding things in hunting is to harvest an animal with a bow, especially a trophy! Being close has its rewards. The opportunity to use an animal’s senses against them and to fool their better judgment is a serious challenge. Archery hunters generally take their animals at under forty yards. At this distance you have the chance to observe the habits and actions of your quarry in their very home. When was the last time that you were close enough to read a big game animal’s face? Well, now may be the time to give it a try.
Having spent several seasons in the field with my bow, I can say that it will be some of the most fun and rewarding time that you may have hunting. Remember, quality equipment will help you to have the confidence needed to be successful. Your local pro shop can help guide you in selecting the necessary tools needed for your next hunt. Don’t be afraid to ask around and listen to what others may suggest. Archery hunters may just be the most dedicated and committed hunters you come across.
Scouting in advance will help save precious time during the hunt. Plus it is fun to watch your trophy through the summer as you strategize how to get him in the freezer. Make sure when you are in the field to be aware of your surroundings. Often times they can give you cues as to what to do next. The lay of the land will direct game in certain patterns that you can use to your advantage. Make sure to take constant note of the wind. Concealment is your greatest ally. A big buck will know of everything that is happening around them. Choose your gear carefully and you will have every advantage necessary to be successful. Good luck and good hunting.
Until next time,
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