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Advance work helps net deer during archery season

KENTUCKY BOWHUNTERS came off a record deer harvest for September in 2020. The excellent archery season last year will have hunters more than ready for this season. The 2021 Kentucky archery season opens September 5 and gives archery hunters a chance to harvest a buck still in velvet. 

Hunting in September can be daunting. The undergrowth is still healthy and blocking any breeze that might ward off the heat, and the mosquitos are seemingly at their peak. The best way to beat the heat is to hunt in early morning and late evening. Another great time to hunt is when it’s raining. A light rain gives you relief from the heat and muffles the noise you make while moving through the woods. 

During the early season, deer are still in their summer pattern for feeding and bedding areas. Locating where deer are feeding will put you on the right track. Look for feeding areas and the travel routes to bedding areas to increase your chances of harvesting a whitetail this month. 

Another strategy is to find a buck’s bed. If a mature buck is your target, the trail leading to his bed is a great place for a stand. Look for a large and well-used bed by itself and you have likely found a mature buck. Even though bucks are running in bachelor groups and are often together in feeding in fields, mature bucks are loners and will bed solo and away from other deer. 

It’s best to find the bed while the buck is not in it, but in my experience, if you do spook a buck from his bed once, he’ll still return to use it. Once the stand site is identified, do not return until opening morning. Get there early and quietly set up. The buck is probably nearby. Deer haven’t been pressured all year, so they don’t travel far from their feeding area to their bedding area. 

Scouting is just part of getting ready for archery season—practicing with your bow is another part. Shoot with the same clothes and equipment you plan to use in the field. This is especially true if you’re using new hunting clothes or equipment. Opening morning is the wrong time to find out that your new hunting shirt is too tight to draw your bow or a new broadhead flies off the mark. 

Use a checklist to prepare all the gear you plan to take with you so you don’t forget crucial items. Getting on the stand before daylight only to realize you forgot your release can ruin the hunt. Be prepared this season to increase your odds at a successful harvest—and enjoy the season.

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