4 Post Season Scouting Tips for the Serious Bow Hunter

Post Season Scouting Tips for Bow Hunting

Has your season just ended? Then it’s the perfect time to prepare for your next hunt.  Post season scouting starts for any serious bow hunter as soon as the season endsThis is the time of year to roam your hunting landinvestigate new properties, and start developing a productive plan for next season’s bow huntingBelow we highlight four tasks that should be added to everyone’s off season to-do list.

Photo: Alex Charlton, Fresh snow = a fresh #NockOut

1. Discover New Land 

Exploring property should be your number one priority right now.  Whether it be the thickest piece of your own land, or a new piece of public land, there isn’t going to be a better time than now to scope it out.  

Public Land 

For public land hunters, post season scouting allows you to travel new distances, discover new spots, and familiarize yourself with any new rules and regulations.  If there is a piece of land you always wanted to explore, you’ll have all the time you need to do it.  

Why is this important? Because as a public land hunter, you have no control over the land you are hunting on. You have no control over vegetation, hunting pressure, or heard management.  It’s likely that every public land user has seen their favorite spot lost to a fellow sportsman. As defeating as this can be, it doesn’t have to end your season.  Spend your off season exploring new property and creating new opportunities.  

When you do find a piece of property you are interested in, be sure to invest time studying it. Set up your trail cameras, walk through the property, and make note of your favorite landmarks. 

For open country hunting, this is the perfect opportunity to find new glassing points or ask permission for private access property. Often times, owners of private parcels give permission on a first come first serve basis.  

Private Land 

For landowners, this is the perfect time to check those spots that you avoid in the summer.  You know, the ones that are painful to get to and leave you covered in dirt and sweat. There is no better time than now to explore these places.

Photo: Brett Moore “White Gold” Series

Below are three things to consider when creating your offseason scouting plan.  

Scent is Limited 

Little do people know that scent is highly limited in cold environments.  Temperature is dependent on the speed of air molecules. Cold temperatures mean slow molecules. Slow molecules mean a slower interaction with your nose. This limits our sense of smell and the deer’s as well. That’s why immediately following the season closing is a perfect time to tromp through some of those sacred areas.  

Consequences are Low 

If you do walk up on that big buck, you can be relieved to know that it won’t affect next week’s hunt. Why? Because there is no hunt.  You have months before you will need to hit the stand. This means that as long as you don’t make a habit of it, you can count on your deer eventually returning. 

Early Season Bedding Areas May Be Abandoned 

Deer in cold weather climates may abandon their early season bedding areas altogether.  However, that doesn’t mean they won’t return when the weather warms up and vegetation starts to grow. In many areas of the country, deer will herd up, move to a major food source, and avoid their traditional bedding areas. These areas are likely snow packed and away from the major food source. This is just one more reason why checking out these spots should be done now.

Photo: Standing soybean fields are a great winter food source for deer.

2. Use Your Trail Cameras

Don’t put your trail cameras away just because deer season is over.  If you are wondering what happened to that dominant buck you were chasing last fall, this could be the best time to find out.  

In many locations, deer will still hold their antlers for at least another month. By grabbing photos of them now, you can easily account for the deer you passed on and the ones that were possibly shot.  

This is also a great way to monitor the gene pool. By surveying the survivors, you can gauge their antler development during the regrowth period.

Photo: Weston Schrank, Use post season footage and pictures for management of both the herd and the habitat.

3. Look for Sheds 

Many public land hunters are afraid of investing in a camera that could be potentially stolen on public property.  Therefore, instead of photos, these hunters will need to rely on signs. One of the best signs are sheds.  

Finding these sheds have two major benefits.  The first is helping you determine the quality of bucks that made it through this fall’s hunt, and secondly, it helps decipher which trails are popular routes for cold weather patterns.  This can be especially important in cold weather climates where patterns change drastically between each of the seasons.

Photo: Weston Schrank, Determine feeding destinations, bedding areas, late season funnels, and bow hunting stands all while shed hunting this year.

4. Study, Study, Study 

Perhaps the best thing to do in the off season is study.  Study your observation notes from the season, your footage if you film, study your trail cam photos, your property, your stands, and so on. 

Layout any habitat plans or stand movements and get to work.   

Some questions you should think about: 

  • What changed from last season?  
  • What stands were a bust and which were successful?  
  • Which crops will be in rotation?  
  • What habitat projects could improve your property?  

By answering these questions now, you’ll have plenty of time to setup for a successful hunt without disturbing the deer on your property. Remember, human pressure can be one of the biggest factors in bow hunting success.  Eliminate pressure by taking care of your property early in the post season.

 Putting it All Together 

Take this time to reflect on your mistakes from last season. Improve your post season scouting, take more notes, and re-evaluate your setups.  The biggest benefit of post season scouting is taking your time to do things right.   


early season bow hunting tips | Nock Out Lighted Nocks

Bow Hunting Tips for the Early Season

Tips and Tactics for Early Bow Season

Feature image: Clint Schwach of The Virtue TV

Early bow season tips and tactics are on the minds of bow hunters across the nation.  If you are among them, you might be frantically searching for a tactic that could swing you an opportunity at your hit-list buck. There are many things you need to consider in the early season to help fill that tag, but fixating on the tactic that is tailored to your situation should be your focus. With limited deer movement, humid weather increases the need for scent control, and shifting weather patterns, the early season is the perfect recipe for difficult hunting situations. However, just remember that the early season has many positive attributes, too. These include longer days and milder weather, and also some key weaknesses deer might exhibit for you to capitalize on. Bow season is here whether you are ready or not, take a breath, stop being overwhelmed and focus on these bow hunting tips!

Reevaluate Your Archery Gear

Like anything built to last, a good foundation is a good way to start out your bow season. Sure you might have spent the summer fine-tuning your bow setup, but taking another look is not a bad idea. While bow sights, bow rests, quivers, broadheads, stabilizers, and other equipment are relatively simple, one overlooked key component in your bow hunting setup is the arrow.  Careful planning towards your arrow configuration and components are critical. Arrow flight can be affected by many factors including arrow spine weight and straightness, fletching, arrow inserts, arrow nocks, and broadheads.  While it might be too late to completely change your entire arrow setup, taking another look might reveal a slight tweak that could increase accuracy.

As an example, one very critical component of the arrow is its fletching. Vanes on the back of an arrow steer the arrow during flight, keeping the front and back end in correct alignment. Mass-produced and fletched arrows are not always tuned properly and are subsequently the reason for inconsistent shooting. Accurately tuned and fletched arrows can greatly improve your shooting performance. Some problems that you might be encountering with ill-tuned arrows are:

  • Vanes grazing the arrow rest
  • Stray arrows from solid groups
  • Irregular arrow flight and point of impact

While you might be doubting the importance of fletching, don’t dismiss this easy fix for better archery shooting. Believe it or not, you don’t have to take your arrows to a pro-shop to achieve this!

The Addition of Lighted Nocks

The use of lighted nocks in your setup provides a greater level of confidence on that early season hunt. Having the ability to focus on the arrow through flight to the target is critically important to the bow hunter. This is especially true in the early season as deer move and present opportunities in extremely low light conditions. Without a lighted nock, you simply have to judge your shot based on sound, the deer’s behavior, and the resulting blood trail. Lighted nocks are a terrific tool in a bow hunter’s toolbox and provide immediate shot feedback both in practice sessions and during the hunt.

Practice sessions, both before and during hunting season, are paramount in developing confidence and accuracy with archery equipment.  Lighted nocks are one of the best ways to make practice sessions as effective as possible. The use of lighted nocks in your practice sessions is a game changer when identifying arrow flight paths, patterns, and characteristics.  Being able to quickly identify issues with arrow flight, archery form or other equipment such as arrow rests or releases is much easier to determine with the use of lighted nocks.

This also brings up one critical early season bow hunting tip…practice makes perfect. While that might seem redundant in most archery blogs you read, the point being made here is that you should practice how you hunt. Yes, that means shooting extreme archery angles like you might on an elk hunt or shooting from a tree stand, but also practicing with the same gear you will be using. You should be practicing with your broadheads and your lighted nock on your arrow, tuning your bow to that setup rather than a normal arrow nock and field point. While the broadhead and lighted nock might not significantly affect the shot, every bit of tuning helps!

Click the link below to find out more on Nock Out® Lighted Nock’s practice mode.

Early Season Bow Hunting Tips

Early season bow hunting tactics are often different than the rut-crazed later season hunting we all thirst for, but it is a great opportunity to fill your tag.  Early season tactics often center on food and the tail end of summer patterns.  With fall and winter months just around the corner, deer are consuming critical calories before breeding seasons and winter months. The food sources that you should focus on for hunting opportunities are generally:

  • Fall plots
  • Corn
  • Beans
  • Acorns

Early season weather patterns and changing foliage are key items you should consider on your pre-rut hunts. Wind patterns change from dominantly south to north often during this time of year, and cover and color of fall foliage change from green to orange and brown.  Consider multiple hunting scenarios and setups depending on the environmental conditions when you key in on an early season food sources.

early season bow hunting tips | Nock Out Lighted Nocks

Picture: Flatline Whitetails

Deer movement usually centers on early dawn/first light, and late afternoon and evening hours. The only way to catch earlier daylight movement would be to move closer to bedding areas. However, doing this could also put hunting pressure where it may not necessarily be needed this early in the season. Rely on observational hunts and trail cameras to reveal key intel before making a move this early in the season.

As late October approaches, more aggressive tactics can and will work. Centering closer to core areas, especially during cold fronts, could expose opportunities at mature bucks. Overall, the early season can be a difficult and overwhelming period. Keep your wits, only make smart moves, double and triple check your equipment, and always keep your eyes open for opportunities. The best thing about bow hunting in the early season is that plenty of opportunities exist, and you have the rest of deer season to capitalize on them!