Forget shooting lanes and cut shooting windows instead.
Last week we discussed the importance of keeping your bow shots makeable but not too close to where you expect to see deer. The premise is it’s great to see deer, but you still have to be able to move enough to get off a shot.
Another aspect of that same philosophy is keeping shooting lanes small and understated.
My best friend Doug and I used to go out before deer season, taking turns sitting in our stands while the other trimmed branches at deer level. By the time we finished, no deer was safe no matter where it came from – or so we thought at the time.
Experience has since taught us cover is a hunter’s best friend, and the more you remove, the easier it is for a buck to detect you.
Instead of cutting shooting lanes, cut shooting holes – and keep them to a minimum. You want to be able to shoot in any direction you might see a deer, but you don’t want to be in the open for 360 degrees around your stand.
How much to cut depends on how much clutter is present. If it’s really thick and you have only one small opening in each direction, a buck might appear in an opening and be past it before you ever get a chance to draw.
The ideal situation is when you can see and identify a deer in limited cover before it walks into an opening. When you can tell whether a buck is a shooter and get your bow drawn while the deer is still behind some cover, you’re golden.
Also keep in mind you don’t have to shoot higher than a buck’s vitals, so if you can get a shot through and still let some foliage at a deer’s eye level, that’s even better.
Also keep in mind leaves will fall in October and November, reducing cover dramatically. What appears to be light trimming in August will look like a bull dozer went through in November.
Read Recent Tip of the Week:
• Too Close for Comfort: Don’t set up for 20-yard shots if you can shoot well out to 30.