Editor’s Note: Parrish Elliott of Fairview, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville, has been a Mossy Oak Pro for 7 years, a deer hunter for 25 years and a bowhunter for 20 years and has taken more than 80 deer with his bow.
One of the advantages of using game cameras, if you use them effectively, is you can get pictures of about 90 percent of the deer living on the land you hunt, or that pass through the land that you hunt. One of the advantages for hunting small places, I can put seven cameras on places as little as 8 acres or as much as 60 acres and see almost every deer that lives or passes through that piece of property. By using the game cameras before the season, I can determine the bucks I want to take and the bucks I don’t want to take. One of the bucks I wanted to take was a 5-pointer.
As I mentioned before, you can wear Mossy Oak camouflage, you can spray down with scent killers, you can sit still, you can do everything right that you are supposed to do, when you are deer hunting and still oftentimes a deer will spot you or smell you. On this particular morning, I had three deer coming to me. They stopped, threw their heads up, gave an alarm snort and ran away. While there was still noise in the woods, I took my tree stand down and moved it about 20-yards from where I had been hunting. I reset my tree stand and left the woods to come back and hunt that same area in the afternoon, but not from the same spot where I had spooked the deer that morning. I got back in my stand and saw deer filtering back into my area. I spotted the buck that was on my hit list about 60-yards away, walking with the other deer. He was coming over a ridge and walking toward me down into the bottom. I was able to watch him for about 5 minutes, before he skirted away from the tree I was in and presented the shot at about 22 yards.
On this hunt, I was wearing Mossy Oak Treestand camouflage, and I was shooting the PSE Omen Pro, with a Swhacker broadhead. I aimed low on the deer and got a heart shot. When that Swhacker broadhead hit the buck, he only went a few yards before he went down. This buck was only 2-1/2-years old. The reason he was on my hit list was because he had four points on one side of his rack and only one antler on the right side of his rack. I had no problem following the blood trail.
I was one of those bowhunters who was reluctant to use a mechanical broadhead. I was afraid the blades would deploy after the arrow left the bow, instead of on impact, or the blades would not deploy at all. A friend of mine finally convinced me to try the Swhacker broadheads, and I have been using them ever since. I spend far less time on the blood trail and get much-quicker recoveries.
Lessons I have learned for early-season bowhunting include:
- Use your trail cameras to learn what bucks you have available for harvest on the properties you hunt.
- Determine the bucks and the number of does that you want to take off the lands that you hunt, before you start hunting.
- Try and take a buck with a weird rack, like the buck I took on this hunt, out of the herd early.
- Move your tree stand, if only a few yards, if deer see, smell or hear you, then you’re not hunting from the place where you’ve spooked the deer.
- Hunt that same area where you’ve spooked deer in the morning, that afternoon.