You never get a second chance to hunt opening day… at least until next year. Keep in mind the cliché about first impressions when considering how you perform, the preparations you make, and where you go. Another thing to note: A deer’s fear of humans may be slightly less than normal, especially if farmers, ranchers, hikers, or other non-threatening encounters have occurred over the summer.

A few years ago, I conducted several muzzleloading rifle tests in early afternoon on opening day. Although I surely smelled like black powder, I had a camo shirt and my bow in the back of the truck. Heck, why not end the day in a tree stand? Wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and smelling like gunpowder, only the wind was in my favor. I had barely climbed into my stand when a handsome spike buck fed slowly by. Do I even have a knife? I wondered.  I passed the shot, ironically, the only chance I’d get from that stand all season.

Ohio Deer 2010 163To get your juices flowing for opening day, check out this OutdoorHub post from Bernie Barringer, who offers some great tips:

The best time to shoot a big buck with a bow is before the whitetails have figured out they are being hunted.

While I don’t love the mosquitoes that often accompany an early season deer hunt, I do love the opportunity that early bowhunting presents. Deer are in very predictable patterns during the early weeks of most states’ archery seasons in late September and early October.

Whitetail bucks are in velvet until about the first of September. Up until that time, the bucks are generally bunched up into what we refer to as bachelor groups. These are usually three to six bucks of all ages that are travelling, bedding, and feeding together. You can find them quite easily with a pair of binoculars in August, just start snooping around at alfalfa and soybean fields and they’ll turn up during the last hour of daylight.  The shedding….

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.