You feel that slight temperature drop? The air is a little crisper, the world smells a little fresher, and they’re talking about football on the television… Deer season is right around the corner. You cruised through spring, suffered through summer, and are finally getting back to the greatest time of the year. If you haven’t been thinking about opening day for the last nine months, it’s time to start thinking about it now. Here are a couple of tips to help you find success on opening day:
REFRESH YOUR CAMO
Not dirty and scent-free are two wildly different things. Your clothes and your gear have been sitting in your house for the last nine months, and despite your best efforts to keep them separated from the smellier parts of your life like the cooking, the cleaning, the pets, and the kids – it is impossible to keep them completely safe from the natural and dormant odors. So even if you cleaned them at the end of last season, it is a good idea to wash your camo in an odor neutralizing laundry detergent like D/CODE Unscented Laundry Detergent, and leave them in a scent-free bag outside a day or so before your hunt. But don’t stop at the detergent – you know that “fresh clean clothes” smell you enjoy throughout the year? That smell is embedded in your dryer through years of use with your standard detergent and dryer sheets. A few D/CODE Dryer Sheets will help neutralize that smell so you don’t waste the hard work of your detergent.
HECK, REFRESH IT ALL
This is the first hunt of the year, and the foundation of your season, so you have no reason to skip steps - go ahead and throw in your ropes, bags, socks, and any other soft good that could have picked up your domesticated stink over the offseason.
DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
Depending on when your season opens and where you hunt, there is a chance that your first hunt of the season is going to feel more like summer than winter. Feel free to get out your full turkey gear for the occasion. If you are not a turkey hunter you might need to buy some lightweight gloves and mask, but it is definitely worth it. Not only will you be more comfortable to stay out longer, but will also be more effective. The hotter you are, the more you’re going to sweat, and the more you sweat, the more you stink, and the more you stink the worse your chances of success. Think about your warmer weather footwear as well – rubber is your optimal way to go, but rubber boots don’t really breathe. So, if you end up in leather or cloth boots, spray them down extremely well before you go out.
Which brings us to our next point:
SKIN UP AND SPRAY DOWN
So… don’t get offended, but you kind of stink. But the good news is it’s not your fault, and the better news is that it’s treatable. When you sweat, your body creates odor, and that odor tells deer exactly where you are. As discussed, early season hunting can be warm, and warmth means sweat. So how do we avoid the odor? Unlike most field sprays, D/CODE was built with this in mind. It not only eliminates the odor, but prevents new odors from forming for up to 24 hours. So what does this mean? It means that after you shower in the morning using D/CODE Body Wash, you should dry off with a towel washed and dried in D/CODE Laundry Detergent, use the D/CODE Deodorant. Then stand there in your skivvies and spray down your whole body with D/CODE Field Spray (paying special attention to your feet, pits, undercarriage, and hair). This might sound like a shameless D/CODE plug, but the fact is that it is the only spray found that promotes use directly on the body… So we don’t really feel comfortable telling you to do that with any other brands.
HUNT THE FOOD
This early in the season, the deer haven’t been heavily pressured and aren’t yet focused on finding a baby-mama, so food sources are your best bet to hunt. If you were able to plant a field during the offseason, or have a sustaining perennial green field, those are good places to start. Be sure to put a camera on them in advance to see if you can figure out a morning vs. evening pattern. If you do not have a field, or if you’re not seeing deer come into them, try scouting the property for a large mast bearing trees that are dropping acorns and nuts. Or look in your open spaces to see if any transient clover or edible plants are growing.
Since there is greater variety of food available this time of year, it can be hard to pinpoint when a deer will visit a particular food source throughout day. To stack the deck in your favor, this is a good time to create a little curiosity to see if you can bring in a wandering or traveling buck. Spreading a Buck Urine around your set can often be enough to pull a deer off his set path to check out the competition. You can also create mock scrapes, and use a scent infused product like Scrape Mate to get a full effect. This is not the same sort of drive a doe estrous creates during the rut, but it should be enough to get him into shooting range. Soft contact grunts on a grunt call can create the same sort of attention and behavior – be careful not to get loud enough to make an aggressive sounding call, but just loud enough to catch a buck’s attention and make him think there is a new guy in town he needs to size up.