“We are doing it wrong”

That was the singular voice in my head last week as I walked around our hunting lease searching for sheds and just enjoying a nice walk. It seemed like every draw or saddle I walked into, there was that voice. “We are doing it wrong.”  I walked as much of our lease as I have since we first signed on the dotted line and what I found was enlightening to say the least. Yep, we are doing it wrong.

When my two friends and I decided to spend a little more money and lease a larger farm, we thought like most hunters, that more acreage and fewer hunters meant less pressure and less pressure can only be good. Right? In principle, I still prefer as few hunters as possible, but this time it just isn’t proving true.    

We have leased this 300 acre Indiana farm for the last two years and we have killed one decent buck and a handful of does. I have pictures of better deer and foolishly (don’t ask) passed on a 150ish bruiser this year that we had laid eyes on only twice. So, I know the bucks we are after live here, then why are we not seeing more of them? Why do I have them on camera, but rarely if ever see them on their feet? I am sure there is more than one change we can make, but for me it’s pretty simple.  We need to add at least 1 more hunter to our lease and my guess is 2 would be better. As I walked through some smaller woodlots last week I was stunned by the mud trails and bedding I found in areas that we weren’t hunting…or even scouting for that matter. With nearly 15 stands on 300 acres we thought we were covering it all. If not hanging in an area, we could still see most of the farm from our stand locations…or so we thought. 

After my hike last week, I am certain that we aren’t gathering all of the intel we should be. We are missing out on sign, movement and deer sightings. There are gaping holes in our puzzle and the pieces just aren’t coming. All because we don’t have enough pressure or enough eyes in the woods during the right period. Of course, you can’t just add pressure, it has to be the right kind of pressure. You have to approach this with absolute certainty and make sure the new hunter(s) and the new stand sites measure up to your hunt club’s standards.  I know this sounds a little crazy and I also know I run the risk of someone else killing one of the big bucks we have living on our hunting lease.  I am fine with that.  In fact, I believe my chances of killing a big buck will only increase if I can hang a couple more stands and add two more friends to our lease. 

Of course, there is also the added bonus that more hunters means I will save money on lease payments, gas and tree stands.  Now that I like!