By: Nathan Unger
With each new hunting season comes new obstacles, new challenges and hopefully new trophies. That’s why each hunting season is just as exciting as the last if not more exciting. Sometimes this means that unexpected scenarios occur that one needs to be aware of in order to be put in a position to put the big buck down. Here are five things I learned or was reminded of this year after nearly a decade of hunting.
1.) Preparation = Success.
This might be a no-brainer, but the little things that are done correctly ahead of time can put you in a position to succeed when you’re on stand during the peak time of the season. Those that hunt out of box stands can make sure to clean out leaves, wasp nests and other clutter that can make noise when you’re hunting. Make sure that stands are tightened and seats are oiled somehow. WD-40 is easy to use in order to eliminate squeaks and unnecessary sounds when hunting. Be sure that rotten wood is replaced and loose wood is properly tightened. These simple tasks can be avoided during the season and can provide great success when the hunting is hot.
2.) Spooking deer will not always ruin your hunt.
It’s always a hunter’s nightmare when he or she spooks deer walking into a stand. Unfortunately I learned this the hard way this year when I had a late start to my stand and spooked a herd bedding in the woods on a hillside on my way in. These deer either winded me or saw me or both, but either way it was not a good beginning to my hunt. However, a separate occasion I started walking into my stand and spooked a group that was bedding down in a thicket. Later that morning, my brother killed his biggest buck to date near where I had spooked the deer a couple hours earlier. The key to this success is playing the wind. This might be obvious, but it’s the solid truth. This was the first year in my hunting experience that I really paid attention to the wind, and nearly every time we had success was because the wind was in our favor.
3.) Know the food of choice each season
This year was an exceptional year for acorns which in my neck of the woods, pun intended, made it hard to hunt over food plots. Typically we’re fortunate enough to take a deer or two over our food plot each season, but this year we didn’t take a single one. Given, there were a lot of variables involved for not hunting the plots as much such as more deer on a certain portion of the property, hunting more often on or near the woods and hunting a deer we had patterned near a stand on a treeline. However, these variables all had three common factors: ample acorns, a water source and a bedding area. Piles and piles of acorns layered the ground this year which allowed deer not to have to travel as much, especially later in the season.
4.) Never take your property for granted
I think sometimes we forget how blessed we really are. Some hunters may have the means to hunt thousands of acres, and some may have less than one hundred. Either way it could all be gone in the blink of an eye. Whether it gets sold, ravaged by fires, cut for timber or the deer simply just leave it doesn’t matter. The point I’m trying to make is to enjoy the time you have while you have it. Enjoy it with friends or with family but don’t forget to take a moment to sit back and be thankful for the blessings given to you.
(Written by Mr. Nathan Unger. Nathan is a Senior at the University of Georgia majoring in Public Relations. Nathan is an avid hunter and a passionate outdoorsman from Southwest Virginia)