By Jason Reid
New York (November 18,2016)-With archery seasons drawing to a close in many states and the general firearms season opening, the transition in tactics is one we make quickly. From stealthy waiting in close quarters to wanting to see just a bit further, it feels good to know that pesky doe can’t skirt you any longer.
Here are a few things to take into consideration as you make the change from archery to firearms in the deer woods for the opening weekend of any general firearms season.
Pick The Right Gun: For many years I’ve hunted with a .270 in the big woodlands of New York. Absolutely nothing wrong with this round and honestly it may be the best all-around whitetail caliber to choose. However, what I’ve realized over the years is- I rarely need to make 150 yard shots. More often than not I need to bust through a few irritating saplings. Once It cost me a mature buck late in the season as I knew the bullet would deflect. With this in mind, I bought a gun that is built for busting brush effectively out to 200 yards if needed, and is perfect for those tough 70 yard shots. The .35 caliber lever action rifle from Marlin provides deer hunters a great balance between a slug-like round with rifle range capabilities. Slightly larger than the classic .30-.30, the .35 provides a bit more knockdown power for those big bucks.
Location: Like in buying real estate, picking the right gun stand boils down to location. While in archery you might want closer shooting lanes, picking vantage which survey escape routes with a gun is a great bet for the pressures of opening morning of rifle season. If you are pinched for time and are not worried about trying to play a specific buck, set up right over a bedding area to increase your chances of catching the first deer running back for cover.
Contours: If hunting escape routes are your preference for gun season, pay close attention to the contours of the land like benches, saddles and pinch points. Any slight couture to give deer enough cover to move away from pressure could be enough to help you fill your tag. My opening morning stand is amongst a small strand of hemlock trees at the base of two small hills.
Safety: Yes, lead flies on opening morning of the season and safety is the utmost of importance. Wear your orange and make sure you wear a harness in the tree. If you are in a blind, make sure to hang orange outside of the blind. Communicate clearly where you will be to every other member of your camp. If you hunt public, try your best to give each other distance.
The fellowship of opening day is truly what makes hunting great. The pressure of archery season is gone, now you can relax. So, pack a good lunch, a thermos of coffee and keep your eyes peeled for deer trying to get away from the pressure.
About: Dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of hunting, Pushing The Wild Limits, creator, Jason Reid, balances a day job with his passions for bowhunting, capturing the stories and sharing information through writing and photography. Follow Pushing The Wild Limits on Facebook for unique outdoor content.