BASIC ARCHERY HUNTING TECHNIQUES
There are as many ways to hunt deer with a bow as there are hunters. The basics of archery hunting will remain the same regardless of the way you choose to do your archery hunting. You will need to remain quiet, control your scent, avoid being spotted, and get close. Ideally, the method of archery hunting that you settle on will be dictated by the terrain you hunt and the habits of the deer in that area.
Basic archery hunting methods are split between either hunting from an elevated position or from the ground.
Archery hunting from the ground.
I started archery hunting from the ground. It was a great way to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of game. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was probably doing more scouting than archery hunting. It requires very slow and subtle movements, frequent stops and incredible focus on what is happening around you. Archery hunting from the ground will give you a new respect for the wind direction, contours of the land, and the whitetail deer’s senses. When archery hunting from the ground you are at eye level with the deer making each move critical. Some archery hunting from the ground will mimic the techniques used when gun hunting. Deer drives are a great example. While the pace of a deer drive when archery hunting has to be much slower, the idea is the same. Slowly moving bowhunters move through an area and bump deer to hunters that have concealed themselves on likely escape routes. A great archery hunting and all around tactic to use when the deer just aren’t moving.
Archery hunting from above.
Archery hunting from an elevated position–treestand, has become the most popular technique among bowhunters. When you climb 15 to 20 feet off the round you stack the deck in your favor as deer rarely look up without reason. Of course archery hunting from an elevated position means you must be absolutely sure of the habits of the deer in the area. A great deal of scouting is needed to determine the exact travel routes of the deer. A quick move of 10 yards to better cover a trail is not as easy once you’re in the tree. Your archery hunting from that stand will also be determined by the wind – again, a quick move is generally not as easy as it would be if you were on the ground so the direction of the wind is a critical factor. Additionally, when archery hunting from a treestand you have to find the right tree. Some areas that deer call home simply do not support significant trees that can hold a stand and conceal a hunter. This can make the most obvious deer trail or crossing a challenging place to hunt.
My favorite archery hunting is still from the ground and while I rarely dedicate a full day to sneaking around on the ground, will stick to the ground if the conditions are right. Windy days are a great time for staying on the ground. Not only are trees and treestand archery hunting probably not very safe, but the wind will help mask your movement and sounds as you slip through the woods. I will also hunt from the ground if I’m scouting a new area during the season – why give up an afternoon of hunting just because you want to find a new stand location? Slip through the terrain looking for sign and the best spot for your treestand and you will likely have an encounter or two with the whitetail deer along the way.
Regardless of which style of archery hunting best suites you, remember the basics. Control your scent, remain concealed, and learn the habits of the deer in your area and either technique will lead to successful archery hunting. One of the greatest parts of beginning archery hunting is finding what technique works the best for you and having at least base level knowledge and experience of many tactics to apply in tough situations. The more you know about the basics of archery hunting and techniques, the better bowhunter you’ll become.