John's Journal... Entry 63, Day 1
Jim Crumley -- The Importance of Preparation
EDITOR'S NOTE: Why do some archers consistently take deer each season with their bows while others who spend just as much time in the woods rarely if ever experience success? Let's see how some of the best bowhunters in the nation produce deer. Jim Crumley of Roanoke, Virginia, the creator of Trebark camouflage, has bowhunted for many years and enjoys bowhunting on his farm.
If I'm hunting new land, then as soon as I obtain permission to hunt that land, I'll spend as much time as I can in those woods. I want to learn as much as possible about the woods where I'll hunt well in advance of deer season including the locations of the potential food trees and other food sources as well as the agricultural fields in the region and from where the deer most likely will approach those fields.
If bow/deer season comes in at the first or the middle of October, then by the first of September, I'll already know whether or not this region will have an acorn crop by seeing the green acorns on the trees. I'll have learned when the farmer plans to cut his crops on which the deer have fed as well as where the deer will feed after their early food sources are gone.
For a preseason scout plan to be effective, pinpoint not only where the deer will feed and bed during the opening week of bow season but also where and what the deer will eat once that food supply is depleted. When you stock your freezer for a month, you'll have an idea of what you'll eat first, what food is available in your freezer mid-way through the month and what you'll have left to eat at the end of the month. And you'll set your menus accordingly.
Deer generally follow that same timetable. When a primary food source is gone, they already have other food sources identified that they can eat. By understanding the different types of foods the deer will feed on as they deplete their primary food source, you can pre-predict where and when you may encounter deer each week of bow season.
If you don't know the deer's food timetable, talk to your local department of conservation's district wildlife biologist about where you plan to hunt. This wildlife specialist can tell you the deer's food sources and the order in which the deer will feed on those food sources in the area you plan to hunt.
Once you have that information, then look for those food sources on the property you'll hunt. Set up tree stand sites to hunt over those food sources each week of bow season. If you're hunting private lands, you may want to go ahead and set up your tree stands six to eight weeks before the season opens.
Tomorrow: Larry Norton