Editor’s Note: Mossy Oak Pro Roy Butler lives right outside of Westminster, Maryland, and has taken as many as 30 deer in a season, but now he only harvests 2 - 5. If you're a bowhunter, a blackpowder hunter or a gun hunter, Maryland offers plenty of opportunities to fill your freezer. Many areas of Maryland have a severe overpopulation of whitetails.
Usually, I don’t hunt the edges of fields for deer until late in the season. When bow season arrives on September 1 and often even into muzzleloader season, many of the crops still will be standing in the fields. The best places to see the most deer and to have your best chance at taking a buck are pinch points in the woods between the bedding areas and the agricultural fields. We use fixed-position tree stands to hunt these pinch points.
If my neighbor Mike Monteleone (See Day 1) and I find a new region we want to hunt, we’ll start scouting using aerial photos of the property. Most of the time, we can tell from the aerial photos whether or not we need to scout that area on foot. If we see a funnel that we think may be a place where deer are concentrating, we’ll put out our trail cameras. I've got some Reconyx (www.reconyx.com) and Moultrie (www.moultriefeeders.com) trail cameras and other brands of cameras I've purchased over the years. Before the season, I’ll usually put 8 to 10 trail cameras out on about four different properties. Most of the properties we hunt are 50- to 60-acre woodlots that are surrounded or divided by agricultural fields. We have three agricultural farms that we have permission to hunt on close to our houses. However, we mainly hunt right out our back doors. Mike and I have a 100-yard wide hardwood bottom right at the back of our houses that’s about 440 yards long. This major funnel site goes from a 10-year-old clear-cut to several major agricultural fields. Generally, Mike Monteleone and I just hunt out of our backyards.
Mike and I are both primarily bowhunters. I shoot a PSE Vendetta (www.pse.com). I don’t change bows every year like some pros do. I like to shoot a bow for about 3 - 4 years before I upgrade. I wouldn’t say that I like this bow better than any of the other bows I've shot over the years. But I've built a lot of confidence in the Vendetta and have harvested quite a few deer with it. Although most of my shots are about 20 to 25 yards, I do have stands on the edges of fields where I've taken 40- or 50-yard shots and harvested deer. I shoot the 100 grain Muzzy (http://muzzy.com) 3-blade broadheads. In the past, I've tried quite a few broadheads, but I've taken several big bucks shooting this broadhead, and I have confidence in it.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I put fixed-position stands in key areas where I know I'll see numbers of deer. But I also like to be mobile and move around a lot. For this type of hunting, I use a Summit climbing stand (www.summitstands.com). One of the reasons I like the archery season so much is I see very few hunters on the properties where we hunt. During the gun season, our section of Maryland has a big influx of gun hunters. The blackpowder season generally has a few more hunters than we do during archery season. Mike Monteleone and I don’t have exclusive hunting rights on any of the properties we hunt, because most of the farmers are glad to have as many hunters as they can attract to help reduce deer numbers. Sometimes this can be frustrating for resident hunters. However, it’s good news for the farmers and for out-of-state hunters, since so many deer will be harvested during gun season. Of course, Mike and I prefer to hunt where other hunters aren’t hunting, and that’s why we like bowhunting and blackpowder hunting more than gun hunting in our area.
Yesterday: Big Bucks on Maryland's Eastern Shore
Tomorrow: Hunting Maryland’s Bow and Blackpowder Seasons