Deer quickly change patterns in response to discovering our presence
As deer season approaches hunters are busy getting ready to take to the woods. The effort we put into our preparation varies widely depending upon the hunter, but we all share one thing in common; picking out the best place to hunt that we feel gives us the optimum chance to be successful. Ideally, we pick out more than one spot to pin our hopes on. These spots can be chosen based on past experience since some places historically have produced sightings more than others. Maybe you rely on information from others to zone in on good places to hunt. I feel the best way to choose a spot is to do the scouting yourself and formulate a strategy based on facts you have gathered. Whatever way you choose a place to hunt we tend to have a favorite or two, and they will be places that we will want to hunt as often as possible. Too many times I have been guilty of loving a spot to death by hunting it repeatedly, turning a honey hole into a skunk hole. Those experiences have taught me a thing or two about over-hunting my spots.
Hunting during bow season means we will be encountering deer on their normal patterns as they move about. Hunting with a gun all too often finds deer movement altered by the influx of the blaze-orange clad army. As conditions change, be it pressure from other hunters or a new food source becoming available, deer movement changes, causing us to relocate to “stay on the deer”. Having the mindset of sticking it out on your favorite spot in hopes that your deer will return typically makes for a poor hunting experience with progressively fewer deer being seen as a result. Finding where the deer have relocated to can take a bit of effort and once we do find them we naturally tend to concentrate our hunting there. All too often we also hunt these spots repeatedly until deer sightings drop drastically before setting out to find out where the deer have again relocated to. It would be much better to have other spots picked out ahead of time to hunt, spreading out your efforts by hunting once or maybe twice in a spot then moving on. This keeps you from over hunting your favorite spots. Alternating your hunting by hunting a spot one time then moving to another spot the next day and rotating each time out through your chosen spots, as conditions permit, is a much more productive method of hunting. Choosing to hunt one spot for multiple times in succession before moving to the next and doing the same thing is a recipe for over hunting your spots and educating deer to look for you there.
Over hunting a spot can ruin it for more than just the current time period. It can ruin it for the season or even carry over to multiple seasons after that. Over hunting a spot increases the odds a deer will have seen or smelled your presence there. Once deer repeatedly detect human presence in a place, they will avoid it. Years ago my number one spot used to be a thrill to sit. Over hunting it made it a waste of time to hunt to this day.
Having multiple spots to rotate your hunts through allows you to hunt fresh sites and decreases the chances of deer detecting your presence. Where deer have not detected our presence they move about naturally in daylight hours giving us a chance to effectively hunt them. It takes access to a fair amount of land to keep from over hunting our favorite spots. As usual, in addition to private land I have permission on, public land figures into my plans to accomplish this.