John's Journal... Entry 219, Day 1
FIVE MOST CRITICAL INGREDIENTS TO BAGGING A DEER WITH A BOW
Editor's Note: Almost every bowhunter I know considers one of these five ingredients-the wind, the availability of food, the rut, the weather and hunting pressure-as the most-critical element of successful bow hunting. However, you really must take into account all five factors if you plan to back a buck with your bow. Here, five of the nation's most successful bowhunters pick the ingredient they consider most important to their success and explain the reasons for their selection. Brad Harris of Neosho, Missouri, a longtime avid deer hunter and video personality, takes trophy bucks with his bow each year. To successfully arrow bucks for the video camera, Harris believes he has to have the right wind.
The wind is the most-critical key to taking a buck with a bow. Often, a buck will hear or see you but won't be spooked. But if he smells you, he'll leave the country. To keep a buck from smelling you, hunt with the wind in your face or in a crosswind to blow your human odor away from a buck. I rely on the wind more than any other factor for bagging a buck with my bow. I look for days either with no wind, which are rare, or days with a constantly prevailing wind. I prefer to hunt a day when the wind blows continuously in one direction, especially on a day when I'm hunting trophy bucks. I'm an avid viewer of "The Weather Channel" on TV. If I see a front blowing in from the north or the west, then I feel confident I'll have a prevailing wind pushing that front. However, I don't rely totally on the TV forecast to learn wind direction. I use some type of wind indicator-powder, a string, a feather, a cigarette lighter or another device to regularly check the wind. If you hunt an older-age-class buck and he smells you, more than likely you won't be able to hunt that buck in that place again that season.
Usually the stronger the front and the faster the front's moving, the more wind there'll be, and the more dependable the forecast will be. I prefer to hunt on windy days. The wind in the trees and the limbs disguises my movements, and the noise of the wind masks any noises I may make. One of the biggest mistakes deer hunters often make is to hunt stands when they know the wind conditions aren't right to hunt from those stands. If you have any doubt whether or not the wind will be ideal to hunt a particular area, then don't hunt for that stand that day.
To learn more about master deer hunters, click here for John Phillip's deer-hunting books.
TOMORROW: RAY McINTYRE