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Early Season Bow Hunting for Whitetail Deer

A monstrous white-tailed deer may leave evidence of its existence in an area as early as late February or early March when it sheds its antlers from the previous year. In late March and early April, most of the males lost their hoofs and began working on their new antler growth. Although it can be like “finding a needle in a haystack” at times, it never hurts to cure yourself of a little winter claustrophobia and take a walk around your hunting property to see if you’re lucky enough to find a side or in some cases, both sides.

Know where the water source is and find out where they come to drink. If you’re lucky enough to have a stream or river running through your property, scan the banks to find where deer have a beaten path leading to the water. This would be an excellent location to place a tree stand about 15-20 yards from the trail, as this is evidence that deer frequent that particular location because it allows easy access to water. If you don’t have a water source on your property, you can create one by purchasing a fairly inexpensive outdoor pond and burying it. It will catch and hold rainwater, eventually deer will take notice and associate this as a place to drink when thirsty. Water sources are extremely essential for deer early in the rainy season, when temperatures are still quite warm in most regions of the United States.

Much like a water source, whitetails develop a pattern throughout the year with their eating habits. If you have woods on your property that adjoin a field full of crops, walk along the field about 20 yards into the woods and look for a “funnel” of deer trails that come together and out into the field. Deer are very cautious animals and have a primary vantage point which they normally use before entering an open area and becoming vulnerable to attack by predators. Deer are quite routine during early archery season, typically feeding mid-morning and late afternoon until the routine begins. Find the trail funnel and place your mount right next to it around 15-20 yards, also, allow yourself a clear line of sight down the field and set up shooting lanes in that direction as well.

The beginning of archery season can be rewarding if you take the time to learn the feeding and water habits of the whitetail. However, you should also spend your time outside of the woods. When you finally get the perfect shot, you certainly don’t want to hurt the animal. Make sure your compound bow sights are in fine tune and that you are hitting where the sight pin or crosshair lines up with the target. If you can keep a group of arrows within a paper plate sized area, then you won’t have a problem hitting one of the vital organs and hopefully getting a quick and clean kill.

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