While the smokepole shootists are making sure their muzzleloaders have been cleaned and ready to partake in some cap and ball action, they might also spend some “knees in the trees” time with archery tackle.
Maryland’s deer archery season provides one of the longest periods of hunting opportunity on the Eastern Seaboard. Being out there in the quiet with only the wish of an arrow or crossbow bolt breaking the silence, gives the smokepole hunters some advance notice of deer locale and movement.
As for the striped bass action, the month of October provides some of the best fishing for school size stripers and towards the end of the month could include the arrival of some of the first late fall lunker stripers.
Climb That Tree
Treestands, either fixed or portable are one of the primary tools for many successful deer hunters. Being elevated accomplishes a couple of things; better view of the hunting area and decreased likelihood for deer to smell a hunter, see a hunter or sense movement.
A deer’s olfactorys are considered to be among the most sensitive among animals in the woods, so suppressing human or other smells that could alarm a deer area important tactics to employ. One of the ways to reduce or eliminate how much a deer will smell you is to hunt from an elevated position. This same height provides a better view of where the deer is approaching from and may offer multiple fields of fire that being on the ground doesn’t provide.
There have already been some very serious hunting accidents attributed to hunting from treestands this season.
Both fixed and portable stands are popular action and both must be checked often to ensure they are safe to climb into and out of.
Check all treestands often for loose, missing or broken parts and either replace the components or get rid of the stand.
Wear and use a full body safety harness both while climbing into and out of the stand and also while sitting in the stand. Use a sturdy haul line to bring your gear, archery tackle or firearms into and out of the stand and always do so with them unloaded.
You should cock a crossbow while at ground level but never lift it into or out of a treestand with the bolt in place and armed.
For muzzleloaders, make sure the ignition cap is removed from the gun before raising or lowering it into a stand.
Enjoy the Hunt
The month of October provides some of the best hunting scenery and experience available throughout the year. Enjoy the moments spent watching or harvesting a deer, but do so safely and ethically.
Make sure you have current written permission from the landowner on your person while hunting private lands. Always let someone know where you will be hunting and the time they should expect you back.
Carry a well charged cell phone and if your schedule or hunting locations change, call and let someone know where you have moved to.
This can be very important should you not return on time and help is requested to locate you. For additional information about the 2010-2011 deer hunting seasons in Maryland, visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/regionb.asp
Casting and jigging for striped bass as they feed on the surface for baitfish will be a prime strategy for anglers this month. Find the diving birds and splashing bait mixed in with the marauding stripers and half the plan is before you. Equally important are the lures used.
Bucktails with twistertail trailer baits are an age old favorite to cast for stripers but spoons or jigs can be a close replica to the baitfish striped bass feed on in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in October. Jigs in 2 to 4 ounce sizes (Diamond and Stingsilvers are our favorites) can be fished as cast and retrieve strategies or dropped down and jigged alongside the boat.
Chumming will also be a popular option this month on structure bottom near the Middlegrounds or along the edges of drop offs. S the month progresses and schools of baitfish move closer to the channel edges, obstructions in deeper water near the drop-off will be favored areas to anchor up and chum. Information on the recreational striper season is at www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/regulations/recregchrt.asp.