I am a 56-year-old hunter who has been chasing whitetails for 35 of those years.
Bowhunting is a passion, and early in my career I learned to work hard to stay undetected by deer within spitting distance.
Like most serious bowhunters, I shower with scent-free soap/shampoo, wash every item of my clothes in scent-free detergent, avoid smoke or perfume, fuel my vehicle the day before the hunt to avoid gasoline odors, and spray my clothes, boots and backpack with scent-elimination products. I also pay close attention to wind direction.
Over the years, these measures paid off in the bow stand, and I’ve had great success remaining undetected by whitetails within 30 yards, and often by those directly beneath my stand.
But then gun season would roll around.
I wasn’t nearly as concerned about allowing my clothes and boots to come in contact with foreign smells since I could now shoot deer over 200 yards away. And I didn’t wash my clothing regularly or shower before each hunt. I started slacking off.
I noticed the number of deer I was encountering at close range fell off dramatically and immediately. The only deer I did see were a long way off.
One day it dawned on me: Why not hunt with a firearm using the same routines I used during archery season? Just because I was holding a .270 instead of a stick-and-string doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive to get as close as possible to deer.
If you think about it, there are more hunters in the woods during rifle season and the deer are spookier, so instead of slacking off, I should be working EVEN HARDER.
Once I returned to bowhunting mentality, I began to see deer at close range again, and my success rate climbed.
If you find routines that work for you in archery season, don’t change. Take them with you during gun season and you’ll put more venison in the freezer.
– Photo Courtesy of Bryan Smith
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