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Heartland Outdoors

Archery deer hunting Q&A

Mon, October 04, 2010

Tim Walmsley, Fowler
walmsleymug
Walmsley is a well-known Boone and Crockett Club measurer and founder of the Illinois Deer & Turkey Classic.

Q: What’s your outlook for the season?
A: My outlook is pretty much the same  as last season. We’re still rebuilding our deer herd after the huge EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease) die-off of 2007. The bucks I hunt were not hiding in standing corn like so much was talked about last year. They lived in the timber and I chose not to shoot any of them, so hopefully they’re still here — but one year older, and much bigger!
 
Q. How will the early corn harvest impact the season?
A: Early corn harvest only allows better visual sightings of the deer in general. However, I would rather hunt the edges of standing corn, as adult bucks feel much safer feeding in and out of the corn than they do showing themselves in an open-picked field in October. The standing-corn excuse of 2009 doesn’t fly with me.
 
Q: What will the impact be if temperatures remain high?
A: The corn being out early is moot if October weather is hot. All the corn shelled in the world won’t matter if it’s 80 degrees every day. Movement will be very late or after dark.
 
Q: What will your strategy be for October?
A: October is evening hunting mostly, from “observation” stands, trying to find a certain animal and learn his daily habits without getting too close and spooking him, at least until late October.
 
Q: What will your strategy be for November?
A: If I find a particular buck I want in October, I go after him in November — moving close into his home range for the first time — but carefully. I’ll do this the first of November, hopefully before the first does come in heat,  causing that  buck to get moved by her to another location. It’s go for broke time!
 
Q: Any other advice you can share with bowhunters this season?
A: Don’t fall out of your tree. And if you want to kill a truly big buck, let the young ones walk! Shoot a doe for meat. If you eat an either-sex tag this year, so be it!  You may be highly rewarded for doing so next fall. It’s not the end of the world!

Larry Whiteley, Springfield, Mo.whiteley mug
Whiteley is communications manager for Bass Pro Shops and host of Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Radio.

Q: What’s your outlook for the season?
A:  I think it’ll be a good season. In the Midwest, we’re seeing more deer right now. We’re excited about it.

Q: How will the early corn harvest impact the season?
A: I think it can only help. It’ll get them out of those cornfields where it’s hard to hunt with a bow, and get them into the woods more.

Q: What will the impact be if temperatures remain high?
A: The temperature can’t help when it’s hot like this. They’re going to be moving early-early or late-late. You’ll have to get in those stands earlier and stay in those stands later.

Q: What will your strategy be for October?
A: If you’re hunting after the big bucks, I’d be deep in the woods where those acorns are. They love acorns. The big bucks are going to stay deep in the woods.

Q: What will your strategy be for November?
A: November, of course, is the rut. Look for the does, find the does. And again, remember, unless he’s gone completely crazy, the big buck isn’t going to walk into an open field. They’re not going to be right on the does’
trail, theyre going to be off to the side of them.

Q: Any other advice you can share with bowhunters this season?
A: Stay in that stand longer. Be prepared to stay all day if you have to. When other hunters are moving, they’re liable to drive the deer toward you.”

Chris Coyne, Troychris coyne mug
Coyne is a police officer and pro staffer for TimBuckTu archery shop in Troy.

Q: What’s your outlook for the season?
A: I‘ve been seeing a large number of deer already, including some really nice bucks.  A majority of the does I’ve seen are with twins or triplets, so it would appear that the deer herd is thriving and very healthy.  Of the bucks that I’ve observed, several have been what most hunters would consider a “shooter buck,” mature enough to harvest.

Q: How will the early corn harvest impact the season?
A: The early corn harvest this year is going to be the main contributor to hunting success for all of us. Last year, some cornfields had yet to be harvested in December and even January. When you have standing cornfields, it offers the three basic elements that deer need to survive: food, water and cover or shelter from hunters. They really didn’t have to leave the corn fields and take their movement into the woods to survive. 

Q: What will the impact be if temperatures remain high?
A: If temperatures remain warm, the deer movement may slow a bit. Still, deer need to eat and drink, which does require movement. Numerous hunters have taken some really nice bucks when temperatures were in the upper 80s and even close to 90 degrees. Some states, like Missouri, have moved their opening day of hunting season to mid-September, yet hunters still harvest deer. 

Q: What will your strategy be for October?
A: I have some stands that I purposely stay out of until early to mid-November, when the rut comes into full swing, or until temperatures become downright cold.  When the temperature is hot, we tend to sweat,
leaving behind our scent.  This will ruin your hunt faster than anything else.  Every deer hunter I know has a “honey hole” or special area in the woods where they seem to have better luck. Minimizing hunting pressure in
these areas during the early season can increase your odds of harvesting a good, mature buck.

Q: What will your strategy be for November?
A: During November, I try to stay in my stand as long as possible. I have some stands that are comfortable enough to sit in all day long. I also pay close attention to the wind direction, which will blow your scent all over the woods. I’ve been hunting the same woods for many years, and have found that deer movement, for the most part, is the same each year. I try to hang my stands to account for the wind and the travel routes I think the deer
will take. When the weather becomes extremely cold, I try to hunt a spot either on a food source, or between a bedding area and the food source. 

Q: Any other advice you can share with bowhunters this season?
A: Have your bow checked for any wear and tear, and to make sure it’s in proper working condition.  Choose equipment that is right for you. There is more to this sport than just buying a bow, some arrows and broadheads, a deer stand and then going hunting. You have to make sure the bow you choose is set up for your draw length and draw weight, the arrows you choose are cut to the proper length so that they perform correctly, you choose a bow sight and arrow rest that you like and finally practice as much as possible. Also, make sure to check your stands, ladders, etc., for any wear and tear. And finally, wear your safety harness. The last thing we want to hear
or read about is a hunter being injured, or worse, from a fall.

Kyle Lamore, Stauntonkylelamoremug
Lamore is a middle school science teacher and pro staffer with Drury Outdoors.

Q: What’s your outlook for the season?
A: As with the beginning of all archery seasons, we are always pumped to get it started. However, the latest trends and downward slide of Illinois deer numbers have me more than concerned.

Q. How will the early corn harvest impact the season?
A: Considering last year our corn was getting cut during the last day of muzzle-loader season, it can only benefit both shotgun and bow hunters alike. I know first-hand how a late corn harvest can impact success rates by
adding additional habitat to the deer’s core area. However, I also feel our DNR in recent years has used this excuse for the declining harvest trends

Q: What will the impact be if temperatures remain high?
A: Devastating — nothing will shut deer movement down more than high temperatures. I would rather see rain, snow or even high winds before having to deal with high temperatures, especially in November.

Q: What will your strategy be for October?
A: This year we are really going to focus on staying out of key areas. I usually say this every summer but am sticking to it this fall. Looking back in years past, October is an extremely tough month to catch a good buck on
its feet once he has left his late-summer feeding pattern. However, the first good cold front we get in mid to late October can be magical and put deer on their feet, starting to roam.

Q: What will your strategy be for November?
A: When November arrives, as long as temperatures cooperate, I think one should put as much time as possible in a tree. This is especially true during those special few days each and every year. I feel here in south-central Illinois that Nov. 10-15 is tough to beat. Mature deer are on their feet, often with does by now, but very kill-able. While the first week of November you will definitely see more deer, I do not feel the quality is anywhere close to that of the second full week. We like to hunt pinch points with a good wind or find feeding areas that hold a lot of does on a consistent basis to put in our time. I am not concerned with over-hunting a stand during this time period as long as access to and from is good.

Q: Any other advice you can share with bowhunters this season?
A: Don’t give up once shotgun season has come and gone. A lot of great bucks are killed during that Thanksgiving week. Big, mature bucks have usually dropped their does and are again searching for a new doe to breed. They have been somewhat pinned down by gun-hunting pressure the week before and are ready to search again. While I would love to see our gun season get pushed into December, it probably will never happen because of permit-revenue reasons. If you can find an area that didn’t get a lot of gun pressure, late November can be as good or better than mid-November was.

Jeff Propst, Festus, Mo.propstmug
Propst is an agent for Whitetail Properties and a pro staffer with Drury Outdoors.

Q: 1. What’s your outlook for the season?
A: I have a great outlook for the season. We have a lot of great bucks on our trail cameras, and our food plots are looking great due to good timing on the rain hitting our fall plantings. We have pics of several of the bucks we had last year, and they’re bigger and better this year.
 
Q: How will the early corn harvest impact the season?
A: Getting corn out early is a great thing. It puts the deer in the timber and on the food plots, and removes a lot of their security cover, forcing them into areas where you are actually hunting.
 
Q: What will the impact be if temperatures remain high?
A: High temps are not a good thing. Deer move better in the daylight hours when the temperatures are colder. I personally do lot like hunting when it is hot; cold temps mean deer on their feet.
 
Q: What will your strategy be for October?
A: In October, we’ll be hunting mostly evenings early on over food sources. As the month progresses on, we will change our game plan to more traditional rut bottleneck areas toward the end of the month. We will also be rattling and calling more as the end of October approaches.
 
Q: What will your strategy be for November?
A: In November we’ll hunt mostly travel corridors and food sources where the does are hanging out. Find the does in November and you will find the bucks. Pretty simple strategy. We hunt near bedding areas in the morning and food sources in the afternoon.
 
Q: Any other advice you can share with bowhunters this season?
A: Hunt hard and hunt smart, and never compromise the wind. Strategize and think things through when picking your stand locations: food, bedding, etc.  Do everything you can to not disturb the deer on their daily patterns, and
sneak in and sneak out of your hunting area. Remember, you are a part-time predator hunting full-time prey!

Rick White, Cedar Rapids, Iowarick white mug
White is a pro-staffer with Hunter’s Specialties who has appeared on the PrimeTime Bucks DVD series.

Q: What’s your outlook for the season?
A: I believe this year’s outlook is one of the best in years. The deer harvest was down in a lot of areas last year, and not because of low deer populations. In the Midwest, there was standing corn late and because of that a lot of deer made it through the season. So I expect this season to be a great season.

Q: How will the early corn harvest impact the season?
A: The fact that corn will be harvested sooner this year than last should make it a better deer season. The deer will spend more time in the timber, and if they’re in the timber more, you’ll see more deer. Here in Iowa the
corn was the reason people had a tough season last year. That will all change this year.

Q: What will the impact be if temperatures remain high?
A: Any time the temperature is high deer movement tends to be later in the evening, especially with bucks. Even during the rut, when it’s warm deer will lay up more during the day, and bucks will do more chasing at night.

Q: What will your strategy be for October?
A: When I hunt early season in October, I mainly hunt in the evening and around food sources. I don’t like to bump deer from food sources this time of year. That’s why I don’t hunt mornings. If there are a lot of acorns,
I’ll hunt the oaks, otherwise I’ll hunt inside the timber surrounding agricultural fields: corn, alfalfa, beans, etc. But these tactics will change toward the end of October.

Q: What will your strategy be for November?
A: In November I hunt the rut. I like to hunt bottlenecks and pinch points. Bucks will be on their feet cruising. I also keep hunting the food sources, because that’s where does are spending time. And bucks are going to be where the does are. I also like to hunt field edges with a decoy. A lot of rattling and grunting can also pay off this time of year.

Q: Any other advice you can share with bowhunters this season?
A: The biggest thing a bow hunter can do to be successful is to be invisible to the deer. Be as scent-free as you possibly can. Don’t go into the deer woods and educate them. Wash your clothes, store them in a scent-free bag,
take a shower before you go hunting, dress in the field, and spray down with Scent-A-Way spray. It’s a system and if you follow it 100 percent, you will be more successful. Wear a safety harness any time you are in a tree. No
matter how high you are, you should have one on. And if you’re not going to wear one for yourself, wear it for your loved ones. It’s that important.    

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