A successful season doesn’t always result in a punched buck tag. Although I failed to harvest a buck this past deer season in Wisconsin, it was one of my most successful seasons in recent memory. Here are a few reasons why I consider my 2016 Wisconsin season successful.
-I turned empty space into productive areas. On my main property I created an excellent clover plot in an area previously crowded with blackcaps and other berries. Sure, berry shrubs can be an excellent food source from May through July but I will take clover from April to December any day. Not to mention, my Dad took a mature buck off this plot in October.
–Subtle stand changes equaled results. I made multiple stand adjustments this year based on 2015 patterns. One of the changes led to a doe harvest in September. The other put me in position to harvest a buck but I failed to make a fatal hit. Nonetheless, this proves small stand changes are worth the extra work.
-I gained valuable information on my permission lands. Knocking on doors for permission can be difficult, figuring out that land can be harder. I ran a trail camera on my new property all season and now have a great idea of where I need to hunt in the future.
-Best days to hunt. Without question, I have pinned down my “can’t miss days” in southwest Wisconsin. November 2-8 have shown to be the absolute best days to be in the stand. I had bucks on camera all over during that time, regardless of weather conditions. Unfortunately I was not able to hunt on my main property during that time but these days will be marked for future season.
–Trust bedding areas. Nearly every buck I saw this season appeared from a bedding area. I cannot say that every year but this season re-affirmed the idea of keeping bedding areas free of human intrusion. It is tempting to dive right into bedding areas on the first day of your ‘rut-cation’ or at the start of the rut, but more times than not it is worth being patient and letting the deer feel safe and choosing wisely when to get aggressive and move in.
– Paul Annear