Post Deer Hunt Notes- Vastly Improve Hunting Success
By Chris Larsen
As deer hunters we are always thinking about the next day, the next hunt, or in some cases next year. Frankly, you have to be an optimist to enjoy sitting in the cold for hours staring at nothing in hopes of seeing the flash of an antler as the buck of a lifetime walks slowly into range. It’s hours of anticipation leading up to a few minutes of exhilaration. Creating more pulse quickening opportunities is what separates the hunters on the brag boards from the guys eating tag soup.
The simplest way anyone can increase their odds of bringing home a deer is taking post hunt notes. It doesn’t matter if you have a 1,000 acre lease, hunt Aunt Hilda’s back 40, or sit on public land, taking notes will vastly improve hunting success. You can keep your notes in a 3-ring binder, an archival quality album, or just a spiral bound notebook. Your book should include:
Date, time, and conditions
These elements are crucial to making your notes effective. List the day and time of the hunt, how many hours spent in the stand(or driving), and the weather conditions. Did it snow or rain? What was the moon phase? Were crops in the area standing or picked? Most importantly, what is the wind speed and direction?
This seems to be simple enough but getting a precise location is key. If you have a personal GPS, get the exact location. Otherwise, describe in detail where you were hunting.
Observations From The Field
Did you see deer? Keep a mental tally of the bucks, does, and fawns seen during the hunt. Record what direction most deer come from and the approximate time of sightings. Keep an eye on how deer react to your presence. Do they appear spooked or are they oblivious? It is vital to treat deer you have no interest in shooting like the buck you plan to hang on the wall. If a yearling spots or scents you, a mature buck will most certainly bust you.
Pictures Of The Hunt
Even if the day ends without a shooting opportunity, taking a photo is always a great idea. Perhaps you witnessed an epic sunrise or the fall colors are at their peak. There is a time and a place for “hero” photos but having shots of your favorite hunting spot will provide a welcome escape during the off season. If hunting with a friend or family member, be sure to snap some pictures of them as well. Try to get them in action poses like looking over a field or woods, using a call, rattling, or even taking a nap.
The first three items are meant to directly improve hunting by making you more aware of the hunt while the final step simply makes hunting an event enjoyed throughout the year. After a few seasons this notebook will help you create solid hunting strategies. Having a plan increases your chance for success. Having a researched plan creates success.
That exhilaration is what it is all about for most. But those moments are rare. What most hunters don’t recognize is keeping focus throughout the period of anticipation will ultimately lead to future hunting success.
Editors Note: We receltly helped some friends launch www.biggamelogic.com It is one of the best sites I've seen to journal your hunts and help predict future deer movement. Check it out: