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Understanding the Behavior of Early-Season Whitetails

The best deer hunters are constantly scouting and spending as much time in the woods as possible. (Ron Sinfelt photo)
The best deer hunters are constantly scouting and spending as much time in the woods as possible. (Ron Sinfelt photo)

While there is no guarantee of success, understanding whitetail behavior during the early season can go a long way toward putting meat in the freezer or antlers on the wall

It was opening day, and the dark, predawn air was cool and damp as summer and autumn seemed to be arguing as to which one would rule the day.

For the moment, I was content to enjoy the quiet darkness in anticipation of the show that would play out as the woods came to life. Having settled into my stand overlooking a familiar oak flat, I suddenly became aware of the steady crunching of leaves headed my way, meaning deer were approaching.

Even in the blackness, I could hear my heart pound as the source of the noise drew closer and then stopped directly in front of my tree. I could make out the silhouettes of deer, but legal shooting light was still a few minutes away.

The silence was broken as the deer crunched white oak acorns that littered the ground, and I relaxed as I knew if they didn’t smell me, they would hang around for a while. When dawn finally shed light on the group, and all heads were down nosing around for more acorns, I sent my arrow through a fat doe; deer season had begun.

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STARTING SEP 17, 2018
STARTING SEP 17, 2018