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Early Season Tactics



Early Season Tactics


Early season has its challenges in South Carolina. The heat, bugs, snakes and the thick foliage make for unique challenges.

Most of the bucks we find in August are still in bachelor groups, full velvet and largely easy to pattern. Large agriculture fields draw bucks in the afternoon to feed on soybeans, corn and other crops. Areas without agriculture are focused on either natural travel corridors or using bait piles to draw in bucks. Knowing the deer in your area will help to determine where to set up an ambush in your area. Follow these steps for early season success.

  1. Focus on Southwest winds:

One of the trends in August is the prominent south west winds we get in the Carolina’s and Georgia. These winds will dominate the landscape until the autumn solstice when the winds shift to the north. Understand that this is the prominent winds, every day can bring different conditions, but for planning purposes we set up areas for early season focused on southwest winds.


  1. Agriculture fields

If you live in agriculture areas, scouting from a distance will help identify where the bucks are entering the fields. Setting up vantage points and noting the entry points will greatly narrow down where to locate stands. Focus on the inside corners of fields, points that stick out into fields, narrow areas and any edges near water all will concentrate bucks before entering the fields. Once identified, slip in set a stand and be there at least two to three hours before dark.

  1. Hunt Mornings:

One of the best parts of early season are the cool mornings. I much prefer to

hunt the mornings when temperatures are far more comfortable. Hunting from before sunrise to around 10:30 – 11:00 will give you ample opportunities to kill big bucks. Bucks have been out all night feeding and are heading to spend the heat of the day in their beds. Setting up a stand along their preferred travel routes will put them in your sights.


  1. Persimmons

The early season is similar to late season in that bucks only care about one

thing. Food. Their whole day is spent focused on eating, and getting to a secure bedding area where they will rest and chew their cud. Deer, being ungulates have a multi-cambered stomach and will spend the evenings filling up, and the days digesting. Knowing where the deer are feeding will help to put them where you can kill them in the evenings when they are heading to feed, or in the mornings when they are returning.         In areas where agriculture fields are absent, finding soft mast that is producing can and will concentrate bucks. Look for persimmons, muscadines and other soft mast that are ripe. Few things will concentrate bucks like persimmons. If you do not have persimmon trees on your property, you need to plant some. These heavy producing soft mast trees are a favorite for those that have them on their property. One of the benefits to persimmons is that the deer will frequent these sources throughout the day. Knowing the fruit fall all through the day, and many other animals also love the sweet nectar of the persimmon, bucks will stage close by and feed when they hear the fruit falling to the ground.

There are a lot of benefits to hunting the early season. Getting out there after a long off season is reason enough to go sit in a tree. Rogers Hornsby, the famous baseball player was asked what he does during the off season, Hornsby answered; “I sit inside and wait for spring.” When hunting season closes, I feel exactly the same way, I spend the off season getting ready and counting down the days until opening day.