Nothing is more exciting to the addicted whitetail deer hunter than whitetail deer opening day. We have spent the better part of a year waiting, planning and dreaming about this day. Here are some tried and true hunting tips to help hunters have success on opening day of deer season.
Scout for Success
Pre-season scouting is paramount to consistent success. Simply knowing you are in the right area where big whitetail deer reside tremendously increases your chance of success. We all know hunters who seem to get lucky every season, but most likely they are “lucky” because they consistently and intentionally put themselves in locations that hold very large deer. Setting out a few trail cameras prior to the season and checking the cameras every couple of weeks gives you the information you need to understand what deer inhabit your hunting area. Once you combine these photos with sign in the area you plan on hunting, you can choose where to place your deer stands.
Hang Multiple Stands
Yes, we said that correctly. Hang multiple stands in the area where you plan to hunt and where you know the deer are travelling. Why multiple stands? Having multiple stands allows you to hunt regardless of the direction of the wind. We often have stands as close as 75 yards on a field; one stand will work with a wind out of the west and one will be good for when the wind comes from the north. This kind of setup gives us the option to choose our location based on what the wind cone is on the whitetail deer opening day. We use Scoutlook Weather to give us an idea of the direction of the wind for the locations we are going to hunt. If the weather changes after our morning set, we can quickly relocate to a stand close to the area we know holds big deer without disturbing the woods seriously.
Hunt All Day
Whitetail opening day is filled with pressure from hunters and this pressure will get whitetail deer up and moving around all day. A large part of our success on opening day has been between 10 am and 4 pm. The success we have experienced while other hunters are headed in for lunch is no accident. We plan to be in the woods when we know other hunters are coming out of their stands and possibly disturbing the woods. This kind of pressure from other hunters can work to your advantage. How many times have you bumped a deer after coming out of your stand or walking back to your truck? Multiply that tenfold on opening day to account for the number of hunters in the area on opening day and you may see more deer getting up and moving around while you patiently remain in your stand.
Set Up off the Fields
Setting up on the edge of a field might alert the deer to your presence. Setting up just 5 to 10 yards beyond the field edge allows you to stay out of sight but still maintain a great view into the field. If you know where the staging area is for a specific field, try hanging a stand just a bit off the field near the staging area to hunt when wind conditions are optimal.
Hunting Public Land
Hunting public land for whitetail deer on opening day creates a whole new set of issues but it’s not too hard to use the issues of hunting public land to increase your chances of success. Opening day brings out all of the hunters and not all of those hunters will be as dedicated as you are. Knowing that these less-than-dedicated hunters will park in the parking areas and walk into the woods disturbing the deer gives you an advantage. Look at aerial photos through Google maps and set up on pinch points far from where other hunters will enter the fields and woods. This requires you to get out extra early and walk around to the back of public land areas to wait. Once other hunters begin to shoot at deer, you will likely see some of action, so be ready and alert. Wise old bucks will often lead the charge away from pressured areas so the first deer you see might be that big ole monarch buck.
Be safe out there and be sure to submit your photos of that opening day whitetail deer. We will share them with our fans on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/huntinglife. All deer are trophies to us regardless of the size so don’t hesitate to submit your photos. We want to share in your success. If you have additional whitetail deer opening day success tips, please add them into the comments below so we can all learn and grow.