In most parts of the country, the archery season opener is likely to be a warm and somewhat slow hunt. Over the years of spending countless hours in September and October deer stands, there are a couple of places I have found I want to be for these early season opportunities. Early archery season is a chance to hunt deer when they are probably as laid back as they are going to be all year. Be smart about picking your first hunting locations and you may be surprised to see some mature bucks on their feet with plenty of shooting light left.
Trail cameras are a great tool in showing you where your deer are using a creek or pond to get a drink, checking for tracks is also obviously a good spot to start. I like to put my camera on a time lapse setting also so you can see at a wide angle around a water source where and when your deer are using it. Whitetails like to use a water source in the evening on the way to or from a food source. Find a heavily used creek crossing or easy access edge on a pond and hang your stand or place a ground blind where the wind will be in your favor.
2) Acorns and soft mast
Most everyone is aware of a whitetails affinity for acorns and soft mast like persimmons, apples, and certain varieties of oaks that deer really like as soon as they drop. White oaks or persimmons can be a perfect spot to sit on opening day. Doing some careful pre-season scouting to check for trees that are loaded and ready to drop will help you decide on the right tree to hunt. Try and do it mid-day when the deer are a little less likely to be feeding so you don’t run them out of the areas you plan to hunt.
3) Beans, peas, warm season annuals, harvested corn
There are many states that have archery seasons that start in late August and early September. Warm season planted annuals like soybeans, peas, or Lablab are usually still being browsed heavily and make for a great stand location for and evening sit. Some corn is likely to begin being harvested at this time as well, I have had some hunts where the deer barely wait for the combine to leave the field before they begin to come in for the spoils. Whether it is a field you planted or a row crop field edge, these annuals are a large part of the summer feeding pattern for deer and you have a good chance of catching them before they start to get more heavily nocturnal from hunting pressure. This is another situation where using a trail camera on a time lapse setting to get pictures of an entire field, edge, or corner can be very useful to determine where your deer are entering and exiting these food sources.