Avoid being a 'last-minute deer hunter'

With the opening of the regular hunting season for deer just a couple weeks away (the season opens Nov.15), the days prior to that are probably more critical to hunters' odds of success than are those of opening day and week. Why? Because the average firearms deer hunter has probably not shot his firearm or scouted where he plans to hunt since last fall.

Certainly luck always plays a part in successful deer hunting being in the right place at the right time but the hunter's odds increase proportionately with the amount of time they've spent scouting the area they plan to hunt. Just plunking down on the same log you saw deer from last fall is no guarantee you'll see them this season. Things like logging, food source changes and hunter movement patterns all play a role in where deer are and how they react.

With so many hunters choosing to sit on watch, if there are no hunters moving about in the area they're in, the deer will not be forced to move unnecessarily. So effective stand locations boil down to those routes used early and late in the day as deer move to and from feeding areas. If a sufficient number of hunters are moving, then the best routes are those the deer use to avoid or escape the hunters. If either the primary food source locations or moving hunter density patterns have changed since last fall, so will the deer movement patterns have changed.

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