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Patterning Early Season Bucks

Patterning Early Season Buck


If there were ever a time of year that bucks are more vulnerable than at the rut, it would be during the early season. Bucks have long been in a relaxed state, with the nine month layoff of hunting pressure. Their movements are very predictable and this can be used to your advantage.

One of the best things to come along to help hunters with patterning early season bucks is the game camera. Using game cameras can definitely put you in front of bucks at predictable times. One such example occurred last season. While checking my game cameras, I noticed that on one location, a decent buck and four does was crossing in front of my stand at 5:45 pm six consecutive days. After realizing this, I checked the wind, and knew this stand could be hunted that day, so at 4:30 pm I was in the stand waiting for the action. At precisely, 5:30 I spotted the group of deer about fifty yards away moving towards my location. Just like clockwork, they came along the trail and at 5:46, I drew and shot a nice buck at twenty-two yards.

Having the game camera certainly helped, and if ever there was a time of year this is more predictable than others, it is during the early season. Bucks are typically still in bachelor groups or have just broken off of these bachelor groups and are pairing up with doe groups. These bucks can be more predictable than at any time of the year.

There are several methods of patterning bucks, I have already mentioned game cameras as one method. But let’s dive into the use of these tools a bit more detail. Game cameras can be a great tool, but they need to be used to your advantage. Often this means moving cameras to different locations to find the best spot to get the pictures you want. If your state allows, placing corn or other food/minerals in front of your camera will help with patterning bucks. These bucks get drawn to the bait or minerals and can easily be patterned to a location and time of day.

Besides bait sites, agriculture fields can also be great places to pattern bucks. Using game cameras or long range scouting, you can find bucks and find where they are entering the agriculture fields and when they are entering the fields. Typically when hunting agriculture fields, it is afternoons only. Trying to hunt them in the morning will push the deer out of the fields while trying to get into your stand.

Whether you are a rifle hunter or bow hunter, finding bucks and patterning them can be done in the early season. By finding these bucks, and their travel routes from bedding to feeding areas, you will set up on these predictable patterns and score on early season bucks.