Finally, after a long layoff, hunters are getting back into the woods, but many who venture into the sweltering deer stands of early archery season are doing so unprepared. 

Too many spent the offseason fishing, lounging around and waiting on deer season to open, when the first weeks of the season may offer the best opportunity to get that buck you have been targeting. They are very predictable and easily patterned, so it’s time to use your knowledge and skill to put an arrow where it needs to be. 

Afternoons or mornings?  

Many bowhunters skip hunting mornings, thinking that afternoons are best early in the season. But the opposite may be true. In places where bow season opens in mid-September, bucks are already putting on their winter coats, and the heat of the afternoon can be oppressive. Cooler, morning temperatures make it not only more comfortable for the deer, but also for hunters. Cooler morning temperatures tend to allow bucks to lazily wander back to their beds. After months of not being under any hunting pressure, a cool morning will often bring bucks past your stand more consistently than afternoon hunts.

Stopping your scent

Vicki Cianciarulo, co-host of Archer’s Choice and The Choice, might is perhaps the most-accomplished female hunter on television. She has spent an inordinate amount of time in the field during the early season in more than 30 years on television. She said scent control is one of the most-important elements in the early season. 

“Being able to keep the deer from smelling you is essential,” she said, explaining