Just like in real estate, the three keys to quality deer hunting are location, location, location! If you have a bad hunting area, you need to figure out a way to gain access to some better ground. And even if you have a good spot to hunt, you should never stop trying to make it better.
Take the test below to evaluate the quality of your current hunting grounds. If you end up with more than five strikes, it’s probably time to look for a new hunting spot. For the first five questions, a yes answer is a strike. For the next 10 questions, a no answer is a strike.
- Do you usually see more than one other hunter on foot from your stands for every five days of hunting?
- Have you found evidence that someone else has sat in your stand or used a nearby tree for their stand?
- Do you feel an almost overwhelming urge to rush to your hunting area each morning just to get to the parking spot first?
- Do you see small-game hunters each weekend in the same area you’re deer hunting?
- Have you ever had a confrontation with another hunter over a stand location?
- Do you see a rack buck hounding a doe during the rut at least three times from your stand each season?
- Do you see does moving slowly, browsing slowly as they travel through the woods?
- Did you hear at least one buck grunt last season?
- Do you find at least one scrape and four or five rubs along every field edge?
- Do the squirrels and other small-game animals seem relaxed and behaving naturally? (If they’re being hunted hard, they won’t.)
- Did you have at least one close encounter (a shot or an occasion when a shot was almost presented) last season?
- Did you see more than one rack buck that was obviously older than 1 ½ years?
- Do you see at least one buck during daylight hours for every two days (morning and evening) of hunting?
- On average, do you see at least some kind of deer every day (a morning and evening hunt make one day) while on stand?
- Overall, did you see enough deer to make the season interesting?