By Mark Kenyon
It’s October 1st and bow season opens today in my home state of Michigan. To say I’m excited is an understatement. To say that I drove to work today with Fred Bear jamming in the CD player and me hooting and hollering would be a true statement. How about you? Pretty pumped?
For most people, with that excitement comes the urge to get out hunting as soon as possible. That’s natural. But as you might have read in my article last week, sometimes it’s better to hunt less if the conditions aren’t right (click here to read about why hunting less may help you kill more).
That said, sometimes when the conditions ARE right you do need to hunt. In fact, especially during the early season, when the iron is hot you need to strike right away.
What’s A Hot Iron?
So in the early season, what constitutes as a hot iron? In my opinion, the best early season situation would be to have proven confirmation of a buck moving in the daylight.
If you know a buck is moving during daylight, and you know where he is, you need to get in there and hunt right away. Usually after a week or so in October mature bucks get really stingy about daylight movement, and in some cases almost turn nocturnal. This timeframe is typically referred to as the “October Lull”
That said, if you get on a buck before the “October Lull” and you know he’s moving in the daylight, you have to get after him when you have the chance.
How To Measure The Heat?
So all that said, the next question is how can we get an idea of daylight activity. From my experience, the best two ways to do this are with trail cameras and with actual observations.
Placing trail cameras on food sources can be a great way to get an idea of what bucks are visiting in daylight. And if you have a camera, such as the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD (the one I use), which has a field scan or time-lapse mode, you can actually get pictures of the entire field. This can give you a great idea of what deer are moving through a large area. If you get a daylight photo of a mature buck, you know it’s time to move in. Just remember, when placing trail cameras during hunting season, you need to be very careful not to put undue pressure on the local deer. Don’t invade bedding areas, be mindful of wind, and keep your scent to a minimum.
Additionally you can determine daylight activity through actual observation. Glass fields from the road, if possible. Or even move in to an “observation stand”, just to get your eyes on open areas in your hunting property. Again though, be very careful not to push in too far and pressure the deer.
My Iron Is Hot
I bring this whole topic up because it is very relevant to my own situation. You see, on September 26 I got a daylight trail camera picture of one of my hit-list bucks, Six Shooter, less than 100 yards from one of my stand locations.
Then, last night, I sat up near the road on a hill overlooking a large CRP field and powerline on this property. Around 6:30 PM, well before it got dark here, I spotted a large deer moving across the opening. Once my binoculars got pulled up, I immediately knew it was Six Shooter. For the next 20 minutes or so he proceeded to slowly nibble his way across the grassy field, slowly heading towards my food plot and stand.
Needless to say, my suspicions were confirmed. Six Shooter is in the area, comfortable during the daylight, and hanging out right where I want him. I think it’s safe to say, this iron is hot as hell.
The first chance I get, which will be this Saturday, assuming the wind is right, I’ll be moving in for the kill.
Strike While The Iron Is Hot
Over the next week or so, you’ve got a great chance of killing an early season buck if you play your cards right.
Don’t rush in and hunt willy nilly. But if you can confirm daylight activity of a mature buck, you need to get in after him now. Make sure the wind and weather is right, hunt smart and kill that buck.