The mid-winter archery deer and javelina seasons have come to a close with many new hunting stories created by real-life experiences in the field. No doubt, the $34 over-the-counter deer tag proves again to be a real bargain for an excuse to outwit a deer in a month-long hunt.
We all had special places where we tried to match wits with that trophy buck in hopes of getting that perfect archery shot. These hunting areas were probably determined by much preseason scouting, looking for the telltale signs of scrapes and rubs that are left by a buck deer during the rut.
Once a scrapeline is found, then a trail camera might give further evidence of the size of the bucks using the location. My observation was that there are a healthy number of young bucks that were either spikes or two points and a few real boomers in the 90-inch plus range.
Whitetails are very local in their home range, so I am sure other areas might differ in the size and number of bucks. I spent most of my time in two areas that I know had a couple of real wall-hangers. Making the short drive and climbing that treestand again and again gave me a new appreciation of this little gray ghost in the woods.
Sitting in the stand, hours on end, can make a hunter keenly aware of every living plant and animal which is the beauty of the Arizona outdoors. Seeing squirrels, coyotes, bobcats, and an occasional deer is a real treat when observing their mannerisms in the wild.
With every season I seem to learn something else about this newfound recreation of archery hunting. I have added scent-lock clothing, spray coverups, soaps, and laundry detergent which all seem to help in getting up close and personal with the wildlife in the woods. But, there is no better trick than having the wind in a favorable direction when the animal is approaching or you are stalking it.
When a deer or elk gets that whiff of that unnatural human scent, their survival skills go on high alert and most of the time they will vacate the area. I saw a trophy buck approach from behind me and it actually lowered its head to smell my footprint and he quietly backed out of the area.
A new trick for me this year was to place a small cotton ball on a thread and hang it near me in the stand so I could be sure of wind currents at all times. This made me pay special attention to the area where the breeze was blowing from, because that is where the animals most likely will approach and not detect my scent.
The other possibility is to place that treestand high enough where your human scent is not detected at ground level. This could create other issues being over 20 feet in the air and the dangers of slipping, climbing the tree or falling asleep on the seat. Make sure you always wear that safety belt or harness because your descent could be quicker than you plan.
If you didn’t connect with that buck of your dreams, don’t throw that tag away because round two of archery deer season begins in late August for another two weeks of hunting. This weekend enjoy the Arizona outdoors, God’s creation.