Bowhunting deer core areas means you’ll be well within the buck’s home range, where scent control and careful scouting are paramount.
The month of September can be a tease, especially in the final weeks when deer are holding their summer pattern. By now, you likely have a good idea of the deer population on your property. It can be frustrating to see a group of mature bucks in a field with the predictability of a morning sunrise, only to disappear once the season starts.
The early dispersal of bucks is due to a rise in testosterone triggered by shorter, cooler days. Antlers harden, bachelor groups break up and bucks become solitary creatures. Each one seeks territory to call his own. Now the game becomes finding where these domains are, and which bucks are hiding where. Bowhunting deer core areas is an excellent early season tactic.
What Are Core Areas
As hunters, we typically refer to core areas a lot. This area is a parcel of woods within a buck’s home range (which averages around 600 acres) where he spends at least 50 percent of his time. Find this area and the odds of seeing him are pretty good.
The most dominant bucks have their pick of the prime areas. And being as wise as they are, the wily old timers will look for areas that offer cover, food and water. Before the rut, bigger bucks want to move as little as possible in order to conserve energy and assure security. Look for areas that have all three comforts in close proximity.
Hunting Core Areas
While finding a buck’s core area ups your chances of a harvest, there’s a duality inherent to hunting these locations. You’re also in the buck’s bedroom, so to speak, and if anything is out of place, he’ll know. That makes scent control paramount.
Before trekking into an area you suspect may be a hideout for a buck, ensure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to minimize your odor. Wash all of your clothes in scentless detergent, spray them with scent killing spray, and be sure to wear rubber boots and avoid touching tree branches.
Once you’ve established defined trails, see where they lead. Typically, bucks will travel between food and bedding areas like clockwork before hunting pressure and the rut cause them to alter their plans. Plan your ambush on the trails connecting the two. A Banks blind offers a discrete option that dampens noise and traps your scent- two important factors when getting in close.
These areas can produce year after year as long as the quality of habitat and nearby water and food remains the same. These prime grounds will be sought by the biggest and most mature bucks on the property. As the rut begins, the bucks will explore the outer reaches of their home range in search of hot does.