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Tip of the month.

My number one lesson from last season: you are usually best off being conservative. Hunting strategy is a constant game of playing the risk versus reward game. Risk comes in the form of the deer realizing you are hunting them and moving less in that area during daylight. Of course, reward comes in the form of tilled tags. Playing this game is the real chess match of whitetail hunting.

Most of the time I stick with low-risk strategies, preferring to stick to the fringes of the core areas of the bucks I am hunting, putting In my time and keeping all the deer in the dark for as long as possible. For example, last season I was hunting a particularly big buck that had given me tits and haunted my dreams for three seasons already. As his range got smaller each year, my knowledge of his patterns increased to the point where I pretty well had him pegged. I knew he spent most of his time in one small valley and up on a nearby ridge. That area was little more than 30 acres total. I don't think he ever left that area in 2012.

At one point in early October, I had him on a trail camera down in that valley going through a natural funnel six evenings in a row--in broad daylight! Yet I didn't hunt him there. It was just too risky. Yes, I might have gotten him one of those evenings. but the wind might have swirled and he might have busted me too. I knew where he was living and I decided to put my time in until I caught him in a spot where I held most of the cards. It finally happened in early November.

That hunt reinforced the lesson I hunt by: when you don't have the clear advantage, stay conservative. Every hunt has to carefully constructed so the buck (really all the deer) has the least opportunity to detect you. In four seasons of hunting that buck, I don't know of a single time that he busted me. Maybe that is why he was moving so freely during daylight in the end.

Gel good at recognizing your risks (all the ways deer can detect you) and then only take those risks when you have nothing to lose. I 00' can't overstate the importance of keeping the deer you hunt from knowing you are hunting them.
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Publication:Petersen's Bowhunting
Date:Feb 1, 2013
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