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How to Fill an Early Season Tag

If you’re itching to get some venison on your table now, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the proper hunting tactics for the early season. Make note of what food sources are going to attract deer this time of year and use it to your advantage. If you use the right tactics and catch the deer before they’ve been pressured, you could have a tag filled in no time.

Pay Attention to Food Sources

Deer adapt their food sources to the season, so use that knowledge to your advantage by hunting areas thick with fall food sources. Deer love corn during the fall. Not only does the corn provide the deer with a food source and shelter, it provides the hunter with cover as well. Use the tall corn stalks to your advantage and hide among them while you’re tracking deer. Deer also love acorns, so stick close to areas where there are a lot of acorns dropping.

Notice When They Change

Paying attention to food sources also means paying attention to when they change. Deer will only feed in a field as long as it’s fruitful. Once you see the field depleting or dying off/changing colors for the winter, you should start looking for other sources.

Who Are You Looking For?

The younger deer will feed first this time of year. The older bucks don’t need to strut their stuff for the rut just yet, so they will be satisfied with taking their time. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for the big bucks. Once you see a young buck, hold your fire, because the older bucks might not be far behind.

Call Softly

Calls are a wonderful thing to use during the rut season because they hit on the competitive nature of the bucks, but you don’t need to call so aggressively this early in the season. Using calls this time of year can still yield results, but use them softly and sparingly. In the fall, deer will use softer grunts to communicate with others, so recreating that sound will be more realistic than using the aggressive grunts associated with rut season. Something to keep in mind throughout the entire season: avoid using the call if the deer is already coming towards you and is within view. If you keep calling when they’re within range to see you, you run the risk of them spotting you because they’ll figure out where the sound is coming from.

Don’t Pressure the Deer too Early

Trail cameras are a wonderful way to monitor deer behavior and give you insight into what deer you’re searching for in an area, but avoid checking them too often. If you’re constantly checking your trail camera that’s set up right in the middle of a prime area for deer traffic, you run the risk of running into the deer when they come out to feed or leaving your scent all over the area. Once the hunting season starts, check your cameras during off times and make sure you’ve used a scent eliminator before you walk to the camera.

Hunting the early season can help you get venison on your table immediately and will give you more confidence during the rut. Focus on food sources and less aggressive calling to bag a buck this fall.

Have you filled your tags yet? Let us know in the comments below!

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