By Nathan Unger
Early season is upon us whitetail enthusiasts, and for the most part bucks have rubbed their velvet clean off revealing hardened antlers that they will carry all fall and winter. However, when bucks shed their velvet it’s almost as if they become a whole different animal to hunt. With that in mind, there is good news and bad news.
Bad News: Bucks seemingly become harder to pattern.
Bucks, for the most part, are no longer on their bed-to-food-only pattern. While some may keep this pattern exclusively many are preparing for the seeking and chasing phase of the rut. They’re looking for does and doe bedding.
Good News: Bucks break off from their summer bachelor groups.
This, in theory, creates a higher chance for you, the hunter, to get a shot at one. While bucks are not rutting yet their testosterone levels are steadily increasing. If you’re like me, hunting a smaller land parcel, the bucks may have been venturing through every couple of days or even every other week. Now that they are broken off the likelihood of you seeing one could be more frequent as they hopefully travel more often.
Bad News: You probably shouldn’t check trail cameras every week.
The more you go check your camera the higher probability of leaving something behind for that mature buck to smell. Eventually, that buck will pattern you and stay clear whenever he gets the slightest glimpse or whiff of you in the woods.
Good News: You increase your odds by not checking trail cameras
By not checking your camera as frequently you are enhancing your odds of running into a mature buck. Even better, if you have the means to purchase a cellular camera you won’t have to defile the area at all.
Bad News: Mature bucks prove why they are mature.
Mature bucks will start to travel less frequently during the day. Why? There are several reasons. Here are a few:
- They start to feel pressure from hunters
- Food sources are changing.
- Habitat and bedding are altering.
Good News: It’s time to start hunting that mature buck
This is why we as hunters do what we love. This is why we hunt. The chase. The camaraderie. The venison. The chess match. This is what brings us back each and every year.
So good luck and good hunting!
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