Warm Weather Bow Hunting

By: Jim Newcomb


That first week of Deer bow season had been tough for me. The temperature is always up the mid-80s in Western Arkansas. Needless to say one does not have to wear heavy clothing or even long sleeves while hunting during this time.
I arrived at one of my stands around 5:00 a.m. My stand was located on the south side of a 140 acre farm, facing north about 15 feet from one of the most heavily traveled deer trails on the property. From my stand you could see an open field and a beautiful pond on the other side of it. I settled in and was ready to do what deer hunters do best, patiently wait, and wait A little more. Fifteen minutes later to my surprise a beautiful 9 point buck strolled right past me. I released a beautiful shot hitting him right above the right shoulder. I had that buck checked in and was eating my breakfast at the coffee shop by 8:00 a.m. Bow hunting in the heat is something one has to get accustomed to if they don't want to give up a good part of the early season. Early-season hunts require some strategies we can use to succeed when the temperatures are far better for sunbathing than stick-and-stringing.
The most important thing to remember when bow hunting is deer are wild animals that have to eat to survive, sooner or later every evening and morning they will have to move to find food. It sounds a bit silly, but in these conditions you really benefit when trying to consider how deer will react in sad conditions. Deer do not like overly warm weather, just like a lot of us. After shedding their summer coats, deer are prepared for colder weather, even if the weather is still hot. Deer are a lot like humans in heat, the high temperatures and humidity affect them also. The more they move around in these conditions, the more uncomfortable they become. It is a fact that deer will bed very close to food sources in this kind of weather. When food is scarce and the weather is hot the deer will bed as closely to fields as they can also. Even though you might be hunting in closer quarters, your deer stand needs to be back far enough from bedding areas so deer will not see you entering your stand.
An average food crop year is just that, average. There will be areas with considerable amounts of acorns while other areas will be lacking. Finding the food source areas in hot weather will generally allow you to locate the deer. Keep in mind you are looking for areas you can get into in the mornings and evenings with spooking the deer in the area. Consider the water source for deer also. This is the other ingredient needed by the deer for their ability to survive and function. It might be noted that the noise of the running water can cover a hunter's approach. While on the subject of water, I have not found that positioning my stand near a water source will improve my chances of harvesting a deer in hot weather. Deer gain sufficient moisture from the foods they eat during the early part of the season.
Heavy food production in hot weather is really a benefit for deer. Deer will be moving even less in hot weather with abundant food sources. Reports of deer sightings during such years are pretty low and thus the harvest numbers tend to drop.
This is when the game changes and the bow hunters have to put in the extra effort to be successful. The best option for the hunter is to become mobile, flexible to the conditions. The best deer attractant is a fresh food source. When you begin to look for freshly fallen acorns, you're thinking like a deer. That is just what they're looking for. If you chose a spot and don't have any luck, time to move on. Find a new area that looks promising for your next trip to the woods. You shouldn't expect the ole' reliable stand area of years past to work in conditions like these in early season bow hunting. Rather, search for those fresh food sources and deer droppings. Those are the things you want to look for in these conditions.

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