How To Hunt Low Hanging Fruit
Two weeks before archery season, I placed two cameras at an apple tree on the property where I hunt. The branches were bent to the max under the weight of so much fruit. Deer enjoyed the bounty as well and had the ground under the tree beaten bare. Any apple that hit the ground didn’t last long, and I quickly discovered that one of the most frequent visitors to that tree was a dandy 10-point.
Hunting near apple trees is a special treat for me. Over the years, I’ve only had the opportunity a handful of times. It seems the stars have to align in order for it to work out in my favor, primarily because so many species of apples exist and they all ripen at different times or, in some cases, different years. The apple tree on this property, for instance, are the type that only bears fruit every other year. Also, the fruit ripens in early September, which means that few apples are left by opening day of archery – and sometimes they’re gone long before then, especially during drought years.
If you don’t know which species of apples grow on your property, a field guide can come in handy. Or, if you’re technologically-inclined, there’s a really neat website, www.applename.com, that helps you identify the variety based on a series of questions about characteristics of everything from tree bark to stem length to skin color and texture of the fruit.
Do you really need to know the species of apple tree in order to hunt there? Probably not. Most scouting is done close enough to the time of hunting that it shouldn’t matter much at all. However, if you’re planning to plant apple trees on your property, then it’s handy information to have, especially if you hope to hunt by those trees in the future. Some species ripen as early as July (Yellow Transparent, Pristine), while others don’t ripen until November (Pink Lady, Goldrush, Granny Smith). If you plan it right, you can plant enough variety on your property so that you can hunt near fresh apples all season long. Considering that a single tree can produce up to 250 pounds of fruit every year, apple trees are a heck of a deal for both hunters and wildlife.
Anywhere deer gather for any length of time can become a communication hub, and apple trees certainly have that potential. In late summer and early fall, under the low-hanging branches of apple trees are great places to find scrapes. Even later in the year, after all the apples are gone, bucks will still visit these scrapes in search of estrous does.
When deer use those scrapes, as well as hot that location becomes, depends on the location of the tree itself. Apple trees situated in areas where deer are already traveling are prime spots. Out of the way trees are usually visited less often.
The best apple trees of all are located in natural funnels with some sort of cover nearby. Trees found on the edge of fields or in the wide open tend to get more nocturnal visits, which makes them less than ideal for hunting. But if you can find a producing tree with a fair amount of cover around – especially if the tree borders a bedding area – you have found a little piece of whitetail hunter’s heaven. Click Here…