We are at the point in the season where the orange army has descended on the woods and the deer are likely feeling the pressure of constant guns going off. Especially if you hunt public land, you may have noticed that deer seem a bit scarce at the moment. The good news is that hunting pressure drops dramatically after the opening weekend of firearm season. A week into the firearm season, you can start expecting deer movement to return to normal. Rut activity is still going on through the end of November and you may still catch deer on their feet midday more than you would in October or December. With the increased range granted by a firearm, there are some specific strategies you can utilize during the next week.
Hang back a bit. With a bow, you need to be close to where a deer will move. Most of us are looking for 50 yards or less to take a bow shot. This makes us focus on transition zones or funnels which force deer to move within range. Using a firearm can give you 200 yards or more of effective range. This allows you to set up further back from where the deer are likely to move. This can better help conceal you and ensure more of your scent has dissipated before reaching the deer. You can also cover a wider stretch of ground by setting up in the corner of a field that deer are feeding in and relying on your rifle scope to cover a large area of ground.
Utilize your binoculars to glass large areas. Setting up further back means that you may miss some movement that you would see if you were closer. Practice glassing into the timber or across the ground to ensure you don’t miss deer that are moving in the distance. Optics can play a much bigger role in firearm hunting.
Finally, this is still the time to be sitting all day when possible. Firearm hunting brings out many less dedicated hunters who will be eager to head home at 10 am and not get out to the woods until 3 pm in the evening. By staying all day you can ensure you are already setup and ready to take advantage of any movement caused by their entry and exit pushing deer towards you.