The bow season is long, but here's what I recommend for opening weekend, especially if you're hunting public land. Look for low-lying areas away from the high hardwoods because of these three reasons:
- It will also be opening weekend of squirrel hunting. Squirrels tend to stick to higher lands and there will be hunters tromping through the woods in pursuit.
- Field crops are not ready for harvest, so find early-season food sources. Deer are browsing animals, not grazers. Look for wild berries, persimmon trees, grapevines, jasmine, honeysuckle, and poison ivy. Yes, that's right, deer love to eat poison ivy. There are also two oak varieties that can be an important food source: water oak and overcup oak. Both thrive in wet, thick areas that deer prefer to inhabit in the pre-rut, especially in drought years. These trees drop acorns much earlier than many other oaks.
- In early September it can be hot! Look for a water source and low-lying areas where deer can escape the heat. But along with wet comes bugs. Make sure you have a Thermacell when scouting and hunting or you may not ever want to do either again after the mosquitoes find you.
Good luck and be safe!
Read more about food, habits and safety in Pat's most recent article, Bow Season: What to Look For to Help Harvest Your Trophy, published in the September / October 2015 edition of Badger Sportsman Magazine. Download the complete article.