5. September 2009 07:30
With opening day of the Wisconsin archery season just around the corner could only mean one thing. Getting stands in place and gear in tip top shape for the upcoming season. Every day closer to opening season means one more night of sleeplessness. Here in central Wisconsin, last week brought us cooler weather and sunshine. We were blessed with beautiful weather to make our final adjustments to our stands. With my pack mule in tow (my camera man Chad Holdorf) we took to the woods.
I made some final adjustments to one of my sets. I set it up on what I refer to as a hard edge. Deer are creatures of edges. We as humans use terrain and edges to travel just like deer, we just don’t notice it. Watch and pay attention to where you walk in the woods. Often you will find without even noticing it but you to travel along edges. I like to look for little changes in terrain and habitat. Edges can be obvious such as a field edge meeting the woods line. It could be thick aspen from a four year old slashing that was once a clear cut meeting open mature hard woods. Obvious edges are often referred to as hard edges. The edges that blend, and take more time to see are often referred to as soft edges. Both can be great locations to hang a stand, but the soft edges are often over looked.
A soft edge can be just a simple change of vegetation and tree types. It can be a stand of pines with a thick line of buckthorn or thicker vegetation running threw them. Finding an edge along with terrain such as funnels or corners is a deadly combination. Last year I was sitting in one of my favorite stands, and almost every time I sat that stand I watched deer traveling about a hundred yards to the south. After several sits I couldn’t take it anymore, so I got down out of my tree. Chad and I walked over to where we were seeing the deer crossing. With a closer look and some studying, I think I figured out why the deer were crossing where they were. It was a combination of terrain and edge. A small draw with a terrace or flat shelf on its side along with the hardwoods meeting a thick stand of pines created a perfect edge and the draw funneled deer right threw one particular area. Chad and I were no longer going to sit back and watch deer again this year, so we moved one of our sets in this particular location. With our stands placed about eighteen feet in the air and fifteen yards from what appears to be a cattle trail made by deer, we learned from last year and are excited to capitalize on our new stand location this year.
It took us about three hours to get all are stands tweaked and ready for the opening day. The Wisconsin archery season opens on September 12th this year, you can bet Chad and I will be waiting and watching our edges.