Now’s the time to step up your target practice.
I go from my 18-36 arrows a day all summer,to shooting 36 arrows twice a day,morning and close to last legal shooting light,which is one half hour after sunset here in Ohio.
You have to go by the ODNR’s sunrise-sunset tables-not other sources,their tables are the legal hunting times,if you use the times in the newspaper,or online sources,then you may be off by several minutes.
That could lead to large fines and/or suspension of hunting license/right to hunt.
Plus,if your hunting privileges are suspended in Ohio-they are also suspended in the rest of the U.S. except for two states-New Jersey and Nebrasaka- due to the Interstate Wildlife Violater Compact
Your blind or stand should be already set up if you hunt private land,shooting lanes cut,and blind/stand “brushed in” using the branches you trimmed for your shooting lanes.
Now is also the time to start putting out corn if you feed the deer where you hunt.
You should have had mineral blocks out since early spring,as it helps with antler growth,and provides deer nutrients that are lacking in the natural foods available.
I keep blocks out all year,in spring I put out one of the “rack rock” type blocks made for antler growth. In fall,I put out apple,sugar beet, and acorn scented blocks. Once the rut is over,I add blocks as needed,but switch to stockman’s blocks available at your local feed store-or farm supply,Tractor Supply,etc. This helps provide the newly pregnant does with a boost in nutrients.
If you put out corn,and don’t use a feeder,spread it out,rather than make one big pile,as it will help prevent deer from passing diseases to other deer when spread out. If you just dump corn in a big pile,the deer can transmit diseases to other deer.
I hunt a 70 acre or so private property,and we do mange the deer as much as possible,which is why we put out food and mineral blocks. Over the years,there have been some monster sized deer taken there,both in body size,and antler size. There’s only 4 people who regularly hunt the property,and another 4 guys we let hunt gun season. Usually it’s no more than 4 people hunting on any given day of the season.
The property is surrounded by ag fields-most years it’s about half corn,half soybeans-this year for some reason,it’s all soybeans.
That’s good for us-the beans will be off the fields before the rut kicks in,and there will be no standing corn during gun season.
I also put out apples from the time they start dropping of the trees,up until the end of muzzleloader season in Jan. since I get them for free from a neighbor. If you have local apple orchards,ask the owners,they’ll usually give you extra or bruised,wormy,,etc apples for free or a really reduced price.
I freeze a bunch for us later in the season,the deer still eat them,and when there’s snow on the ground,some apples spread around 30 yards or so from your blind will draw hungry deer in from all over the area.
I hunt a lot on public land,where you can’t put out any kind of bait,no corn,no apples,no mineral blocks.
No big deal,deer travel the same trails all the time,the key to finding deer on public land is to find the major trails,then find the bedding areas,the water sources,and the food sources. Deer have to drink water at least twice a day,usually soon after they move from their beds,and again after feeding.
When you find the trails,anywhere from 5-15 yards from the main trails-you will find smaller,less used trails.
These are the older buck’s trails,yearling bucks usually still travel with the does up until the rut begins.
Find a spot near a water source,a food source,or on the trail the deer use to get to the bedding areas.
Deer feed all night during hunting season,if you set up near a bedding area,and are trying to get a deer heading to bed-you have to be able to get to your blind long before first light,and do it without spooking deer.
I usually use the opposite approach-I set up far enough away from the bedding area that I can get to me blind any time during the day,and try to get the deer as they move out of the bedding area.
If you find the food source,pick a spot that’s either still back in the woods a little,or right at the edge of a field.
When there’s a lot of acorns on the ground,deer aren’t going to eat much of anything else,so concentrate on water sources and trails to and from bedding areas.
The single most important thing you can do is get out in the woods,and see what the deer are doing where you hunt,there’s no substitute for scouting-none.
I don’t use trail cameras,because unless you own a huge farm/property,and have dozens of cameras,all you’ll find out is where the deer were,not where they are,where they’re going,what they’re eating,where they’re bedding-which are the things you need to know to be where the deer will be after you get in your stand/blind.
You have to pay close attention to wind direction-and have more than one stand or blind set up so you have another choice if the wind is not blowing towards your stand or blind. I have 4 locations,so I’m covered every day I hunt. The public land that I hunt-I also hunt different spots when the wind is from different directions. The best public land was hit with a severe EHD outbreak in 2012,we didn’t see a single deer hunting that gun season at the Ladue public hunting area,and we hunted it for 5 days. This year should be good there,as the 2013 fawns will be 3 1/2 now,2014 fawns 2 1/2. Next year will probably be better at Ladue,as there should be plenty of 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old bucks.
I’ll probably hunt there at least 2 days of gun season this year,just to see what the deer numbers are like.
Deer can smell you from a long ways off,unless you are hunting in an area where they are used to people-like the suburbs-they aren’t going to come within bow range if they smell you.
Use the wind to your advantage,I also will take a trash bag into the wods with me a couple weeks before hunting season,and pack it full of leaves and twigs from the area I’m going to hunt.
Then I put the leaves into paper bags,and put them in plastic bins with all my hunting gear.
I’ve been doing this for years-it works,I’ve had deer walk right by me when I’m in an ground blind and the wind shifted so it was blowing at my back-and they still didn’t smell me.
I don’t use the scent control clothing or products-my method has worked just fine for over 40 years-why change it now?
I would rather spend the $$$ I save by not paying extra for scent control clothing and products on new broadheads,arrows,and crossbow bolts.
Wear camo that matches your surroundings-wearing solid earth tone colors is better than wearing something like woodland camo in Ohio in November.
Either wear some kind of face mask,or use camo face paint-deer recognize the shape of a human face-so hide your face.
Don’t hike around the woods during the day once deer season starts-stay put. As long as you picked a good location,the deer will come to you. If you are hunting public land,there’s enough people moving in and out of the woods to push deer right to you,another reason to sit still,stay in your blind.
Pack enough snacks plus a lunch,bring plenty of water,and if you’re like me-pack a thermos of coffee.
Make sure you have some surgical gloves,hand soap-I use an empty one of the 99 cents at the qucikie mart hand sanitizer bottles filed with Dial antibacterial hand soap-plus hand sanitizer,and a towel/washcloth to wash your hands after to field dress your deer.
Either buy a deer drag,or make your own-I just use an 18″ piece of 3/4″ oak dowel rod that I tie my rope to,makes it much easier to drag the deer.
Ohio deer hunting regs/info…
White-tailed Deer Hunting
|Species||Opening Date||Closing Date||Daily Bag Limit|
|Archery||September 24, 2016||February 5, 2017||The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be antlered. You cannot exceed an individual county bag limit .
Refer to the Deer Hunting Section for details on zone and bag limits.
|Deer Youth Gun||November 19, 2016||November 20, 2016|
|Gun||November 28, 2016||December 4, 2016|
|December 17, 2016||December 18, 2016|
|Muzzleloader||January 7, 2017||January 10, 2017|
The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be antlered. You cannot exceed an individual county bag limit.
No more than two deer may be taken from a two deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. Both deer need to be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in a two deer county.
No more than three deer may be taken from a three deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. The antlerless permit is not valid in most three deer counties. Check the antlerless permit map on this page to determine if the antlerless permit is valid in the county where you hunt. One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit in specific three deer counties, and two deer may be tagged with either-sex permits. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 27, 2016. Three deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not valid or not used.
No more than four deer may be taken from a four deer county during the 2016-2017 deer hunting season. One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit and three deer may be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 27, 2016. Four deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not used.
|Two Deer County||Three Deer County||Three Deer County||Four Deer County|
|A hunter may kill no more than two deer in a two deer county during the 2016-2017 season.||A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the 2016-2017 season.||A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the 2016-2017 season.||A hunter may kill no more than four deer in a four deer county during the 2016-2017 season.|
|Up to two either-sex permits.||Up to three either-sex permits.||Up to two either-sex permits and one antlerless permit.
– OR –
Up to three either-sex permits.
|Up to three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit.
– OR –
Up to four either-sex permits.
|Antlerless permits are NOT valid.||Antlerless permits are NOT valid.|
I’ll do a post on stand/blind site selection in the next day or two.
If you haven’t been out in the woods yet,get out there,boot leather in the woods and fields equals venison in the freezer.
Ladue should have decent deer hunting this year for those of you around here…
More info on Ladue here