Whitetail Opener Forget-Me-Nots

September signals lots of openers, and for many of you it means the first crack at a whitetail buck in your local zip code.

Early season bucks have their downfalls. They pattern well, travel in large groups and feed in daylight. What’s not like about those offerings? This gives you an advantage to watch a pattern from afar, set stands that will give you the perfect ambush and you’ll have your choice of bucks. Use all of these opportunities to your advantage.

Nevertheless, don’t get too cocky or impatient. You’ve put in a summer full of scouting, so make sure your effort pays off. Here are a few tips to ensure your whitetail archery opener is a success.

  • Have your stands in place early. I always suggest putting treestands up early. If you missed the summer window, be sure to set time aside to get stands or ground blinds up at least a week before you hunt them. Two weeks is even better.
  • Have backup stands in place. Whitetails are notorious for switching their arrival and departure pathways. Putting up extra ambush sites gives you or a partner more options to waylay bucks that always seem just one step ahead.
  • Scout entrance and exit routes from your stands. Review how whitetails are using a particular field or woodlot and then compare it to your hunting schedule. You’ll need to have routes that skirt those whitetail-rich areas. In the mornings you might have to leave via a field to avoid bumping deer in bedroom cover, and in the evenings put a vice versa exit into play.
  • Be a weather forecaster. Now that you have everything in place, hunt only when conditions are perfect. Watch for wind patterns that benefit your top stand site and a weather forecast that will give you ideal conditions for whitetail patterns to unfold perfectly.
  • Be patient. If weather conditions don’t benefit your top choice, be patient. Either put your hunt on hold—even if it’s the opener—or hunt an alternative stand that will work with the weather at hand.

I won’t be able to put my new Mathews Creed XS up to the whitetail challenge until October, but I’m following my own advice when I do climb into my treestand for the first time.