Taking Every Change of the Early Season into Account

Don’t let velvet fool you! While you may have had tabs on that buck, there are many more changes than velvet shedding between summer and the season opener. If you’re not aware of every change you will be left in the dark, once again entering firearms season with a tag in hand. This year take every change of the early season into account while bow hunting.

Depending on the state, your biggest concern may actually be velvet. Catching these bachelors still in velvet on summer patterns is all you need to know if you have the right setup. This will get your tag filled before the changes even take place. But for most bow hunters, the breaking of the bachelor groups and shedding of velvet mark the first of numerous changes that need to be taken into account and considered with your stand placement and hunting strategy.

With shorter photoperiods, the bucks begin to switch gears from summer to fall. Resulting in the biggest change that seems to throw every hunter off…a buck’s home range. The truth is his home range hasn’t changed at all, just his preferences in smaller core areas of it. This drives every hunter to one of three conclusions. One he’s gone nocturnal, two he’s been killed already, or three he has picked up and gone far away. While any and all are possible, chances are he is still close, and all that has changed is the portion of property he is using and his pattern in which he does it.

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Why has he done this and more importantly where can you find him?

The appeal of the protein-rich soybean leaf begins to lose its appeal, and about that same time a dinner bells ring in the form of acorns hitting the forest floor. During the spring and summer months, woody browse and crops like soybeans or alfalfa can make up more than 60% of a deer’s diet. However, those numbers drastically drop as mast like white oak and red oak acorns comprise of more than 50%. A complete flip in the deer’s diet might throw a hunter off, but what’s louder than the rain of acorns in the woods?


The sudden increase in human and hunter activity during August through to October is enough to bump a deer, or cause a slight avoidance for a week or two. Checking cameras, hanging stands, relentless scouting, and of course hunting can be detrimental to a property of any size.

While you may think you are in good shape with tabs on a buck going into the season, everything can and will change. There are many factors to consider, take into account, and use towards your stand placement and hunting strategy. Bow hunting the early season is much more than summer patterns, it’s a confusing mess unless you know what to look for.

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