With the Nebraska archery season well underway we have started making a few tweaks to our game plan. We will start with the northeastern public land site.
Northeast Public Land Site
This past weekend we hung two stands on this site. We were trying to wait until the leaves began to fall off the trees to hang them so we could have more shooting lanes, but we just couldn’t wait any longer. The area we hung these stands in is surrounded by oak trees and within the last week the acorns have really started to drop. So not wanting to miss any opportunity to hunt the acorns this time of year when the food sources are changing, we decided to hang these stands. (For more info on why we chose this spot, take a look back at the update from September 7th)
This stand site is perfect for this time of year because of the acorns that are falling. Hunting near any type of mast crop this time of year is definitely the place to be. So the main point of this stand setup is to take advantage of this early season food source. We have yet to hunt this stand, but within the next week a few more acorns will drop and we should be able to climb into these stands by the end of September.
Southern Public Land Site
This location has been a dynamite stand location for us. We have seen several shooters and lots of does. But the two shooters we were seeing earlier this season have been absent from the last few hunts. This isn’t surprising for a number of reasons, one being hunting pressure. Each night we hunted there were two other hunters surrounding this field. So hunting pressure is starting to take its toll already. Also, the bucks are hard antlered now, so the bachelor groups are breaking up and combined with changing food sources have these bucks changing their movement patterns.
The New Strategy
We have two sets of stands hung on this property. One overlooking the soybeans and one overlooking a dry river bottom. We are going to leave the one on the soybeans up and one of us will hunt this spot for the next few weeks yet. We are continuing to hunt this spot even though the beans are beginning to be unpalatable because we have noticed several things about the way deer use this field.
As far as the stands near the river bottom goes, we are going to make a major stand adjustment. We have noticed from our hunts overlooking the beans that the deer are bedding directly to the south of us just off the river. We already have stands in this general area, but they need to be moved down the river to take advantage of both a food source to the southwest of the bedding area and potential trails that cross the river. We also have a hunch that the deer are bedding in a dry river bed that surrounds the timber in this area.
Why Did We Chose This Spot?
Different Food Source
We found another food source that the bucks might be using to avoid the hunting pressure to the north. In simpler terms they might be sneaking out the back door to get to this food source.
Bucks are starting to think more about does and less about food as each day passes. We are still a good month away from the rut yet, but our strategies need to begin to shift towards finding bedding areas and the trails that lead there. The river crossings we expect to find will be a good spot to overlook these trails that lead to bedding areas. These trails will also be used now as deer move to surrounding food sources.
As I mentioned a little bit in the last two reasons, we are keying in on a bedding area. One that we observed from the ag field and another suspected bedding area in the dry river.
We are kind of in limbo at this point as to what to focus our hunting on. As public land hunters we live and die by the surrounding ag fields. Fields that we have no control over. With soybeans this time of year being harvested and no small food plots we can plant and hunt over we have to have stand placements that cover a wide range of possible scenarios. So we have decided to hunt two stand sets. One that still focuses on early season food sources and another that begins to focus on travel routes and bedding areas.
We will be climbing back into the stand again this weekend so check back early next week for an update on what we saw and if our new stand placement strategy worked.
Stand Site Flexibility
The whitetails world is changing a lot this time of year. It seems like this point is overused a lot this time of year and I know I’ve said it a bunch, but it is important to remember this as you hunt the early season. To have the best success this time of year, especially on public land, you need to hunt stands that cover a wide range of possible scenarios. What I mean by this is having stand locations that are a mixed bag of everything from hunting over food sources to hunting trails that lead to bedding areas. This might mean having three stands that you can move to at a moments notice or just finding one location that gives you a little bit of everything.
Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust Your Stands
Once your stands are up it doesn’t mean that they have to stay there. As you gain knowledge of deer movement patterns or you just simply find a better area, it might warrant a stand change. In most cases just trust your “whitetail instinct”. If it is telling you to make an adjustments, go with it. Always remember though, if you are moving stands during the season try your best to keep your intrusion to a minimum.