One of the earliest tips I learned from an old timer early on was the use of a hunting log. It has proven to be a simple and invaluable tool in the field from season to season - it can be as simple as you want it or as detailed. I prefer providing the most details to my log as possible, it started out as just quick recording keeping to a more advanced approach keeping records for each of the properties I hunt in separate journals. My journals are farm-specific and have tabs for each stand location on that property.
The way you keep it is your choice, electronic applications are available with certain apps but I still prefer my easy to use bound book. I find that it’s easy to jot notes on the fly, in the truck or even on a lunch break sitting on the roadside. Below are some of the things that I keep track of in my journal. I will choose my spots the morning of depending on wind directions and refer to my journal for other specifics.
- Stand location: each of my stands I have are named to refer to quickly in my journal (I have one I call Raccoon Run because I generally see a raccoon nearby). Things I also keep track of here are landmarks, any hold ups going to and from the stand, any obstacles that may have been missed.
- Date and time of day hunted (am/pm/midday/ or all day).
- How many hours sat in location (I use these for end of season calculations).
- Weather forecast for the day (to keep track of type of clothes or things needed for that weather).
- Weather during sit (keeping track of wind change, precipitation type, type of day clear, or cloud cover, and temperature).
- Moon phase (this is always a topic of debate but it seems to be accurate for feeding times of whitetails and what time of day I will hunt).
- Deer activity (here I record number of sightings, specific time for the sightings, number of bucks and does, be specific to numbers in am, pm and midday, and also deer calling heard, also any farmer or hunter sightings shared in your specific areas).
- Rutting activity during the rut (when rubs and scrapes appear, activity in, on or around those, rutting activity witnessed between deer, and any specific patterns you witness during this specific time of year).
- Record dates of harvest and times.
- The last log is more for myself on how I felt during the sit (was I hot, cold did I not dress correct for my weather a learning tool to help pick right things to take to my stand during certain weather, times of day).
By compiling data you will see trends that will help you develop certain strategies to become successful on when to hunt, where to hunt and how to hunt the spots you choose. It also helps to choose multiple stand sets and not over hunt certain locations during the wrong time of year or weather.
It may seem like something complicated to start but you will look back on certain situations and be able to make quicker decisions and have more effective hunts. Have fun with it, as it also provides memories of certain situations and hunts you were successful on.
- Cody Lancaster, Elite Archery Technical Support