One of the most effective methods for creating incredible herd and hunting results, is by controlling the timing of the deer hunting pressure on your land. When should your hunting pressure be controlled the most during the deer season? There are 5 important portions of the season, that offer a variety of timing strategies, to keep your level of hunting pressure below the boiling point.
Be sure to check out my Whitetails By Design Book Series; which includes Mature Buck Success by Design!
1) Early Season Flurry:
The early season can be a great time of the year for a few different strategies, because you have several weeks of forgiveness, before the serious portion of deer hunting pressure timing, begins. Do you have a monster buck hanging around your land? Give it a try because he may be gone soon if his Fall habitat is somewhere else. Would you like to take a youth hunting or try to harvest a couple of does? This is a great time of the year to get into the woods without disturbing the quality of your rut hunting opportunities, which are in some states, still 6-7 weeks away. The bottom line? This is the time of the year when you can afford to release as much hunting pressure on the land, that you see fit. I have to admit, that this period of time hasn't escaped a portion of my stand installation activities, depending on the year.
Here is a great video on Low Impact Stand Rotation.
2) October Lull Build-up:
With the beginning of the annual rut just around the corner, this is one of my favorite times to employ highly effective, limited sit tactics for mature buck opportunities. My doe harvest missions reduce from fairly aggressive to non-existent during this time of the year, and my level of hunting pressure although steady, is only lightly scattered throughout.
3) Mid Season Protection:
We have to set one important aspect of hunting pressure management straight, during this portion of the year: Low hunting pressure does not mean "No Hunting", it just means smart hunting. Unless I already have a buck on the ground and can immediately turn my sites on a doe, I avoid shooting does at all costs during this time period. Why? Because every pull of the trigger leads to panic in the deer herd, spooked deer by 200-300 yards or more, and (often) highly invasive Deer Recovery efforts. Many hunters think of the "loud bang" of a firearm for the potential of spooking deer, when what happens after the shot, does far greater damage. It is during this period of the season, that the reward for owning the land that features the lowest level of noticeable deer hunting pressure, can lead you quickly towards grasping all of your whitetail goals and dreams. During this time of the hunting season, the amount of human pressure that you apply on your land, should be at the absolute lowest level possible, when compared to the rest of the year.
*It is extremely important to manage the levels of hunting pressure on your land, because chances are, very few of your neighbors are doing the same. If you can remember to keep your levels of pressure at the lowest (at least in the eyes of the deer) during the heart of the season, and not as much during the beginning or the end, then you will be on the right track. To begin to develop your own pressure management system, make sure to read,"Hunting Pressure Secrets for Mature Bucks".
4) Post Gun Opportunities:
A sure sign that your hunting pressure management strategy is failing, is when the number of deer you see while hunting during this period of the season, is drastically shrinking. Whitetails, including mature bucks, gravitate quickly to low-pressure habitats, even if the habitat is one of the lower quality parcels in the neighborhood. During the last several years I have personally enjoyed a high level of mature buck kills on the 3rd day of gun season, the 4th and 5th days, as well as the 9th day. The 9 day muzzleloader season that follows the traditional day WI firearm season, has also featured not only some of my best "later" season mature buck opportunities, but some of the my largest deer sightings in a single sit. When you learn to manage your levels of deer hunting pressure to a bare minimum, starting during the beginning of the October lull, be prepared to enjoy steadily increasing deer numbers, instead of disappointingly decreasing deer numbers. In WI, we are extremely fortunate to be offfered a 4 day "Doe Only" season, following the end of the 9 day muzzleloader season. This is my absolute favorite time to control herd numbers,When Needed,with high volume, one day doe harvests, on an unsuspecting herd. Keep in mind that although you will not have harvested does to effect the current season during this time of the year, you can accomplish enough to fully manage herd numbers for thenextseason, while maintaining extremely low levels of hunting pressure every season.
5) Late Archery Habitat Connections:
When you combine adequate Fall habitat with an effective season-long deer hunting pressure strategy, you can create some of the best late archery mature buck hunting opportunities, in the area. But this is also a time when you can let your efforts fly wild, because you really have nothing to lose. Even mature bucks have short memories when they are pressured during the closing weeks of the season, so this is a great time to push the envelope to help burn a buck tag on a wise old monarch that made it through the season. States like OH that offer bowhunting opportunities well into the New Year, can be a great place to extend quality hunting opportunities, on well managed parcels.
*Even your deer recovery efforts should be as non-invasive as possible, in particular during the heart of the season. For a complete strategy of how to manage your hunting pressure after the shot, check out "Deer Recovery Tips For Small Parcels".
What is the #1 way to manage the levels of deer hunting pressure that you place on your land?
By pressuring your land the least, at a time when the rest of the hunters in the neighborhood are pressuring their lands the most, you will have the greatest ability to influence your own level of herd and hunting success. In fact, some of the best hunting grounds do not actually have the best habitat, but instead feature the best management of deer hunting pressure levels.