early season bowhuntingI got an email from a guy who just landed permission to hunt a 25-acre block of woods. He had 2 questions. Is that spot big enough to kill a good buck, and if so how should he hunt it?

With bow season right around the corner, some of you might be in a similar situation.

First, heck yeah, 25-50 of woods is big enough. Monsters are shot in small habitats like that every year in Illinois, Wisconsin and other states. But you’ve got to find out what kind of terrain, vegetation, etc. you’re dealing with. Right now is a good time to check the property. Spend a day and walk every inch of it; carry a note pad and an aerial map for reference. Walk and look for funnels, edges, little ridges, etc. where deer will move onto and off the land. Don’t worry if you spook some deer, they will be back, so scout aggressively.

Check the treetops for green acorns and other mast. When the nuts fall in September, deer will smash them, so look for an afternoon stand site close by. The timber provides some screen cover, but the more thickets in there the better. If the whole place turns out to be basically one big thicket that is okay, it will be a great place for morning hunting, especially if there are crop fields nearby.

Set out at least one cam on a trail or funnel; run it and check it from now on to see if you can spot a monster.

A big key to hunting 25 is not to push deer out when you go in. Look for easy, quiet, downwind routes that won’t take you busting through thick cover. Plan your in and out routes to skirt spots where deer will likely be.

My favorite stand on a small spot is off-wind of a super trail on a ridge or near a creek that cuts through the entire property. Watch the main highway enough and you will see some bucks.

Hunt in September and October, but don’t overdo it and burn out the 25. Nov. 1-14 is the best time to kill a monster. Also, you have a great opportunity when gun season opens later this fall. Climb into your best stand on the 25 and sit all day. When other guys swarm and shoot on lands all around, some bucks will flee to your little spot, especially if it’s thick. I guarantee that without even seeing the land.