Hang multiple stands on a spot
Wind direction and thermals can have a significant impact on whether a spot will work or not. For us weekend warriors, we need to get around the issue of wind and thermals any way we can. I have had prior success by hanging a stand on each side of an early season spot over food that will work for most wind directions. I know that Saturday evening is my best hunt, and I better be in that food source regardless of the wind direction. If you have one stand for an east wind, and one for a west wind, then there is only one possible wind direction that will blow your spot if the deer come from a general direction.
Have an easy access spot for after work
For many of us, work ends between 4 and 5. In the early season, this gives us a couple of hours before dark. Try and pick a spot that is very easy to slip in to get a few extra early season hunts in. For me, I have success hunting a ladder stand that is set up where I walk in from my house and slip up the tree without ever walking anywhere near where the deer will be. This stand is about 20 yards inside the field and well concealed. I have hunted it numerous times not getting into the stand until an hour to and hour and a half until dark. I want to clarify my definition of success here. I have never killed a mature buck doing this, but I have had several encounters and seen countless deer doing it. It only gets me more fired up for later in the year and I just love watching deer. However, this is one strategy we must use caution with. Although it will work, you need to monitor cameras and make sure deer are not coming in to that spot until right before dark. This strategy can hurt more than help when done incorrectly.
Hunt a ground blind
Another way to avoid the wind in most cases is to hunt out of a ground blind. I personally am not a fan of hunting out of one but bite the bullet during the early season to make it work. While this strategy is not completely bulletproof, extreme caution of my scent on clothes and gear in a ground blind will help keep scent contained inside the blind and leave more room for error and wind changes.
Organize your pictures and pattern that old buck
I know this tip will contradict the title of this blog a bit, but it is an important one. You can use your time after work that you are not in the woods to pattern that old buck. If you notice he is only showing up in daylight once a week, line up the photos and figure out why. A good way to do this is with an excel document. Number each daylight photo and make a column for wind direction, wind speed, barometric pressure, and temperature. You will more than likely see a pattern. I do this all the time on bucks all throughout the year. Going even further into this topic, this pattern can help which stand to hunt. I have a farm I hunt with many different stand locations leading from the same bedding area. I can analyze wind direction and time to help decide which stand he will most likely pass by.
SHOOT YOUR BOW!
Okay, so I know these tactics will not work for everyone. Make the most of your time in the woods by being ready. Bow hunting is a skill that must be practiced constantly. Shooting daily will help your chances significantly by being able to hut that buck at 40-50 and improve accuracy on all shots.