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Early Season Deer Hunting Tactics
Deer hunting in the early season generally means hunting the pre-rut period. This is why, even when buck hunting, that it is best to pay attention to food and water sources during the early season.
Hunting in warmer weather in early season means that deer movements are often concentrated in different areas. Many sources of food are present in warmer weather that will not be available when it gets cold. Agriculture fields that are harvested before cold weather may still be present in the early season. Check out the primary crops in your area and plan your early season hunt accordingly. Nature too offers different foods before it gets cold. Both deer and squirrels (and other animals) prefer white oaks acorns over red oak acorns and they often feed heavily on them in the early season. Identifying white oaks on your hunting property and setting up nearby is one of the easiest and most effective tactics for any season, but is especially useful in the early season before they are eaten up. Pay attention when you are in the woods for late hanging berries and other preferred foods as well.
If the early season deer hunting in your area happens to offer both warm weather and dry conditions, find and hunt sources of water. Springs, larger streams, ponds, and other sources will draw deer when it is dry and hot. If you are experiencing a drought in your area, hunting near a water source will often quickly help you fill your tag.
Deer hunting in the early season generally means hunting the pre-rut period. This is why, even when buck hunting, that it is best to pay attention to food and water sources during the early season. However, those hunters in the woods from the early season on through to the rut will be there when the rut gets going. As the rut begins, buck deer often are running wild trying to find a doe to tend. This often means bucks will show up quickly to check out the does and a hunter watching does in food areas need to be ready and observant. Hunting rub lines is another effective early season tactic. In my area of the country the rut is generally well under way by the time gun season opens, but early season bow hunters can be present for some great hunting.
Early season deer hunting offers some challenges, but it also offers some great opportunities. You can use the tactics above to get started, but always adjust your hunting style based upon your own experiences in your area.