Well, the opening day of the 2020-2021 archery season is in the books. I hope that you were successful, and if you weren’t, I hope you enjoyed the day afield.
I can’t tell you if I was successful since I am writing this a week ago. I will tell you that according to my trail cameras, if I wasn’t successful, I was being too choosy. I have been getting a ton of pictures every day, and they were mostly during the day. I have gotten very few pictures at night. Even the bears are visiting my stand during the day.
Don’t ask me why, I can’t explain it, but I am not complaining. All I can tell you is the cameras don’t lie. If you are not using these fantastic scouting devices, you should be ashamed of yourself.
You could spend five days a week for months, scouting for tracks, rubs and feeding areas, and you would not glean the information these cameras could give you in a week.
A rub can tell you a buck was there, but at what time of day, or is he a six or an eight? Or is he a small eight or a bruiser? Only the cameras can tell.
Once you are successful, you must dress the deer as soon as possible in this warm weather. I cringe when I see hunters hanging their deer in 40-degree weather. If you are not butchering the deer yourself, get it to a deer processor as soon as possible.
As in other years, I looked for the cheapest processor around and John Sibio was the cheapest again this year. He told me he was charging $55 for a bulk wrap, and $60 for separate packaging and labeling. If you know of other processors that are cheaper, let me know.
This year especially, making a good shot is critical to the taste of the meat. If you make a poor hit and the paunch is busted, you must get the deer field dressed as soon as possible.
If you make a clean kill, be especially careful not to cut the stomach as you field dress the deer. it makes a big difference in the taste of the meat.
Of course, making a clean kill starts months before the opening day. Practice is the only way to insure a clean, quick kill. I always sight my bow in and practice using the tripod so that when that opportunity presents itself, I can quickly get on target and get off a good shot.
Of course, if you are new to hunting, you should familiarize yourself with the anatomy of a deer so that you can shoot or pass on a shot when the opportunity arises.
While some hunters like a heart shot, it is a small target. Whether I am using a rifle or a bow, I like a double lung shot. This is the best shot to bring a deer down quickly, and if it does run, it will leave a good blood trail to follow so you can quickly recover the deer.
This is where knowing the anatomy of the deer is important. If the deer is standing at an angle toward or away from you, you will know how to aim to hit the lungs and nothing else. You owe it to the deer and yourself to make that clean shot.
If you weren’t successful yesterday, don’t panic. There are more days left than in any other hunting season I can remember.
Not only is there plenty of days left, there are plenty of deer to go around. I remember years when the antlerless season was closed because the deer herd couldn’t take a hit to the doe. Enjoy the extra days and the numerous deer. Good luck.
DAVE LEWONCZYK is a freelance outdoors writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.