Ken Reeves | Mossy Oak ProStaff
Since bow season arrives on October 15 here in Alabama, we’ll have some 70 to 90-degree heat while hunting. We have two problems to overcome to take deer at that time of the year - human odor and thick cover.
I don’t believe you'll ever cover up human odor as long as you're breathing, but you can use all the tools that are available to reduce human odor as much as possible. You also can use masking scents like Fresh Earth to mask your human odor. I utilize as much of the odor-reduction products as I can. Even with that said, I always hunt with the wind in my favor. Although the odor-reducing products and masking scents help to prevent the deer from smelling you, I don’t believe you're ever going to fool the deer’s nose 100 percent of the time.
At that time of the year in mid-October until mid or late December, we still may have plenty of leaves on the trees and bushes, and a lot of the time the grass hasn’t even died back in Alabama. I'm a thick-cover hunter. I like to hunt places where thick cover can provide shade for deer and cover, and I don’t need to be able to see but 20 to 25 yards to make an effective bow shot. I consider a thick place any region where I can’t see more than 30 yards.
I scout for well-worn trails with deer tracks going in both directions between bedding and feeding areas. I'm also looking for acorn trees that are producing acorns close to those thick-cover areas. In Alabama, our acorns usually start falling during the second week of bow season.
Another place I like to hunt is pine plantations. Finding a place to hunt in a pine stand is hard, unless it’s at least 10 years old. I locate honeysuckle patches inside those pine stands, and I search for trails that the deer use when they’re either bedding in the pine stands or traveling through the pine stands. Sometimes, I’ll hunt from a ground blind when I can’t find a tree big enough to attach a lock-on stand to it where I want to hunt. When I hunt from a ground blind, I back the blind up to thick cover and brush it in. Using the blind was the only way I could hunt in this pine thicket, and it had a well-worn trail where I felt confident I could see a deer. I did take a nice doe out of that set-up.
I’ve taken over 100 deer with my bow. Hunting early and using a blind are part of the reason why I’ve been so successful bowhunting.