Well this was one of my most successful years in, well, probably ever (i haven't gotten a buck yet either)
and with that being said i also was very disapppointing as well, i have WAY much more to do to make next year the type of year i want. Although i saw more deer than i ever have in a season (im sure hunting all 3 seasons is why lol) i also went a few hunts without seeing a deer and that always sucks.
The year started off with me getting access to bow hunting land (400+ acres) with my buddy, just for us. So that was great! But it was already mid-late sept by the time i figured i would be hunting there (opening day is oct 1) not much time to prepare at all :/ so i knew that was going to be tough to make this year successful.
Me and my buddy went out one day and looked over a small section of woods and it had a lot of oaks and apple trees and a small creek for water, so knowing i had little time to pick a spot i just took that spot, it seemed like great spot for preseason. So i set up overlooking the oaks, a great trail off to my right and the creek bed as well. This is only about 10-15 acres on the whole land so i have a lot of ground to cover during the off-season.
I saw 10 does and 3 bucks from that stand (about 15 trips or so) ( not a lot of action to some people but it was much more action than i have gotten in the last few years during gun seasons) (this was my first year for bow) never got a shot off at the bucks but i took a shot at the doe, hit a branch and missed.
Gun season i only went out about 3 times, that was disappointing but i shot a doe on opening day as well as my dad, so that was cool, we hunted on state land for gun season. I saw about 4 deer total during those days.
ML season is underway and i love this time of the year to hunt, its the most exciting for me. Some people say its hard to hunt and it is, but i focus on the food plots or whats left of them and its always exciting, im going back up a few time next week! (i missed a doe last night :/
what i learned...
-I knew i didnt do anywhere near enough scouting, i plan on scouting come january until about the end of summer trying to pattern deer and what they are doing on this land, by the end of summer i will just be glassing and checking trail camera's every so often and trying to stay out of the woods as much as possible.
- As stated above me and my buddy will be getting at least 1 trail camera each, so those will be out in the woods come the new year.
-We will have our stands set up, properly hidden, and shooting lanes cut by the end of spring.
-Me and my buddy are implementing probably about 5 or maybe less acres, depending on cash flow, of food plots this spring and fall for our deer, as well as doing some hedge cutting and what not, i have ordered a couple books to read by spring to get a better grasp of what to do come the time. And our land owner generously offered us his tractor and equipment, something we had no intention of having to use, but that was great news! (I'm really excited about this!)
- I will shoot my bow a lot earlier than the end of August, i will practice religiously starting when the weather gets warmer until the opener in october and during the season as well. I will get the proper arrows (not carbon express) that don't break with extreme ease, and match up my practice arrows and tips with my broadhead and shooting arrow weights. I think my arrows wern't the same weights or the equivelant of one another (2 different brands) I will also buy some bails of hay/straw to put behind my target so im not scared to practice longer range shot without my arrows flying into my neighbors back yard lol!
- I will really sight my muzzleloader in for the late season so i don't miss the deer that i missed last night :/ lol! hopefully with the aide of a scope for next year.
- And as you all hear just about everyone say im trying to loose some weight for the upcoming season and get in better shape, yesterday proved i needed to by walking through 8inches of snow, it wasn't pretty lol, i have gained about 40lbs this year because of some pills i had to take for blood pressure and other things and i need to shed that and plus some if i want to be where i want to be.
-I was pretty good about scent control this year, only thing missing is a scent free tote i will obtain sometime in the off season.
As everyone else has said, i could prob write a novel about each of my hunting years but these were the main things i learned and will do to help next year be my best yet!