The November rut has quickly come and gone, and you’re still sitting on a few unpunched deer tags. So what will you do now?
The good thing is, there is nearly a month left of bowhunting opportunities in most states across the country. However, you’ll have to fight off the temptation to call it quits too early.
Here’s a quick look at the warning signs of late season laziness…
You Set Your Alarm Clock Later and Later
When the rut is on, it’s easy to jump out of bed at 4:00am ready to do battle. But when the late season rolls around we often find ourselves creeping later and later on the wake-up call. Before you know it you’ll be letting the sun wake you up. Stay committed. Get up early, and get to the stand to make it happen. Every day in the deer woods is a new opportunity.
Your Scent Control Efforts Get Sloppy
You started the season off as a scent control freak. You had all your camo locked tight in scent-tight storage. You changed your clothes in the field to keep everything fresh and free from foreign odors. But that’s all changed.
December comes, and you now have a mountain of camo that no longer gets time in the scent-safe tote.
You now find yourself in full camo sitting at the quick stop chewin’ on a greasy sausage biscuit and smokin’ a cig.
Instead of cleaning up with scent-free soap and shampoo, you begin to grab the chic-shampoo and a loofa to smell a little sweeter. Don’t go there! Stick with the program. Work as hard to stay scent free in the late season as you did in the early season.
You Quit Loading and Preparing Your Gear the Night Before
If you don’t hook up the trailer and load the 4-wheeler the night before, you’ll easily talk yourself out of messing with a hunt when the alarm pops off at 4:30am. It’s just a fact. If you don’t have your stuff together and have a game plan worked out the night before, you’ll likely pass on the opportunity to crawl out of bed, and hit the woods. Take the time to load everything up the night before, leaving little room for excuses.
You Start Volunteering to Take the Kids to School in the Mornings
All through November it was understood that you didn’t have time to haul the kids to and from school. The rut was on, and you really needed to be in the woods. Yet in the late season you find yourself becoming quite the volunteer. Sleep in, take the kids to school, no problem. Sure, your spouse loves you for it. But it won’t help you punch deer tags. Watch out for this subtle trap!
You Quit Practicing With Your Bow
You know you’re in trouble when the only practice shots you’re taking during the season are at unsuspecting squirrels 20 feet below your stand. You need more than that. Don’t drop your backyard practice routine just because the late season has settled in. Practice now like you did in July and August. It’s easy to blow a shot when we don’t keep our form sharp and solid.
You Sit the Same Old Burnt Out Stands Instead of Hanging New Sets
They say Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting different results. Don’t be crazy! Quit sitting the same stand if it’s not where you need to be. If you see the action taking place on another part of the farm, then take the time to move. Yes, it’s a hassle. But a move to the right place, at the right time, can make the difference in filling your tags.
You Begin To Think More and More About Hanging Up Your Bow and Pulling Out the Rifle
December is the time when many bowhunters call it quits and pick up the rifle. They’ve been beat up for months by bucks cruising by just out of range. They are ready for revenge. Gun hunting is great. It’s honestly a lot of fun. But if you’re wanting to kill a big buck with your bow, then you really need to leave that gun in the closet. Carry your bow.
You Begin to Believe That “The Gun Hunters Killed Them All”
Yes, gun season makes life tough on the bowhunter. But should you wave the white flag and tap out? Absolutely not. Learn to use gun hunters to your advantage. Deer will find refuge in low-pressure areas. Find these spots and hang a stand. You can score with your bow…even during gun season.
You Go Duck Hunting Instead of Climbing Into the Treestand
You’ll know things have gotten bad in the deer woods when you begin to daydream of ducks rather than bucks. I love waterfowl hunting, but it usually signals the end of deer season for me. There will be plenty of duck days left once deer season wraps up. Stay the course! Hit the deer blind instead of the duck blind if you want to punch a tag in the late season.
You Willingly Go to Another Christmas Play…And Your Kid Is Not Even In It
Don’t you dare miss out on your own kids Christmas play or musical. Those are usually priceless. But if you get caught volunteering to go to see the Nutcracker, just for fun, you deserve a beat-down from your bowhunting brothers. You’ll know you’ve slid past the point of no return when you find yourself here.
Don’t get lazy in the late season. Stick it out until blood is shed, or the sun sets on the final day of the season. Will you be on the couch or in the stand when the next opportunity for success comes walking by?