The early season bowhunting is often the most exciting time for bow hunters. The promise of a new season is here. However early season can be difficult if the hunter has not done sufficient scouting. Those of us that intend to kill a buck this time of year needs to have an idea of the bucks bedding area or feeding area, preferably both (Keep in mind that bucks feeding area can change quickly as acorns, apples, corn feeders, and many other types of food offerings become available to bucks). If a buck has been patterned, this time of year can be very promising for two reasons. Bucks are easiest to pattern this time of year and again in the late season following the rut. In addition to that bucks have little idea hunting season has arrived if proper preparation was put into action. Hanging stands early and being very discrete while doing it allows a hunter the best chance to kill an early season buck. Weatherproof stands should be set up during postseason scouting, otherwise set stands a few months before season. For the most part bucks are never 100% ready for the bow season. The hanging of stands and hunters scouting are the only indication that other season of evading hunters has arrived. It is quite unlikely that bucks would have primarily nocturnal tendencies at this point. (Mature bucks that do already are going to be terribly difficult to kill. Hunting a bedding area, or seeing a nocturnal buck during the pre-rut/rut is the only way one is likely to kill this type of buck.) Figuring out the route the buck takes from it’s bedding area to feeding arrow should allow the hunter a shot a the buck if the stand is placed correctly. This is done by locating buck tracks and potentially buck rubs that lead toward bedding areas.
Bucks have to feed intensely this time of year due to the impending rut. Proper nutrition is important for a buck to be able to withstand that taxing nature of the rut on its body. Key in on this fact to kill an early season buck. This period typically lasts from September through possibly the first week in October. If you’re able to still pattern feeding bucks into the 2nd week of October consider yourself blessed.
A hunter may still witness bachelor groups of bucks during early season hunting. Bucks break up from their bachelor groups near summers end, but some groups may still be in tact heading into early fall. In this case the hunter may have the opportunity to pattern not just one buck, but multiple bucks. The challenge in this is having multiple eyes scanning for danger. Most often bucks are taken when they are alone, any hunter that has the opportunity to take a buck that is in a bachelor group is blessed to witness such a sight. Possessing the skill to pull off a kill while multiple mature bucks are grouped up is an impressive feat as there are more bucks to bust the hunter. Since bucks may be together and often cross paths in this early part of this season it is not unheard for light rattling to be a successful technique for luring in a mature buck, however, this type of calling is better used during the pre-rut/rut. Personally I don’t use rattling tactics in the early-season but give it a try if you’re willing to test your luck.
Does should be rather patternable during this period. The early season is what many hunters consider the best time to take a doe, however, late season is an equally great opportunity to harvest a doe. Use a similar tactic for the does as you would bucks that are still in a regular feeding pattern.