On Friday I got back from my first four-day bowhunt in Southern Utah. I hiked in Monday morning and began hunting that evening through Thursday. Since the area is still new to me, I considered this to be a scouting mission for the last two weeks of the season. So far, here are the lessons I’ve learned:
- There are about 10 bucks living in the immediate area by camp. All but two are smaller, 2, 3, and 4 points–not mature bucks. The other two, which I did NOT get good visuals on, are average-sized, mature four-points in the 160-inch class range. As far as I’m concerned, these are “settlement bucks,” or bucks I will only shoot if I cannot find any bigger before the season ends.
- The surrounding area, which extend for miles in all directions, contains only sparse amounts of deer, mostly does. I also couldn’t find any heavy deer traffic areas, and only a few random large-buck tracks.
- All bucks are still in velvet and the younger bucks still have their summer red-coats. The older bucks are beginning to grow out their gray winter coats. Because the bucks are still in velvet, they are living mostly in and around open feeding areas.
- Undisturbed, the bucks tend to bed down around 9:30 a.m. On cooler days, they begin feeding early, around 4:30 p.m.
- Deer are concentrated and feeding only the East and Southeast facing slopes.
- Scent control is impossible. Although I try to diminish my human scent with scent-eliminating laundry and body soap, by the second day of hunting the deer can smell me immediately and bust out of the area. At the same time, I had 5 does and fawns bed down within 10 yards of me on the fourth day when the wind was in my favor.
That’s all I have right now. I’ll be hunting most of next week so stay tuned for part 2.