Keeping a hunting journal is a vital tool to becoming a long-term successful hunter. As you hunt more often (hopefully!) and more places, keeping accurate and organized records of all the pertinent information will allow you to track and pattern deer much better. By keeping a hunting journal you will increase your success rate over the long haul.
So, what info should you be writing down?
Where you are hunting.
Be as specific as possible. Example: Five miles up county rd. 330, on the north side. Or, the south side of Spavinaw lake WMA. Printing off a map is the best way to ensure you have accurate records. You might need two maps, a general one, and then a specific one of your location. A map is also helpful in recording stand locations, deer sightings, etc. I have a map below of one of my recent hunts that you should look at as an example.
All weather related facts
This is extremely important to do. Weather has everything to do with how animals move around. Keep accurate records of all the following.
Temperature, wind direction, wind speed, sunrise and sunset, barometer pressure, current conditions (cloudy, clear, stormy).
Also take note of any major changes. Was there a recent drop in temperature? What about the barometer pressure? These can have significant effects on deer movement.
If you see any deer, try to note when you saw them. Don’t ruin the hunt by looking at your watch or phone at a bad time, but if you can make a mental note of the time. Obviously the time of the sun rising or setting varies, but this is still important. For example, if you see a shooter buck at 6:15 one evening, but don’t get a shot off, you might look at the forecast and see that the weather is going to be almost identical two days from now, and you can reasonably assume the buck will show again about 6:15 as long as he hasn’t been disturbed from his normal routine.
You absolutely need to write down where you see deer. Write down everything you can. Where you saw them, how they were traveling (just meandering or were they in flight? or something in between?). This is where printing maps can be very helpful. You can just write on the map where you saw what. Make notes on where they appeared and disappeared.
Make notes on how the hunt went. Mention why a hunt was or wasn’t successful, what you would do differently next time, etc.
Look at the picture below as an example of how you might keep a journal. A journal could be just pictures of maps with comments, such as the one below, or you might just make a map when you need important visuals.
In the example below it was my second time to hunt this area. Though I didn’t get a shot off, it was very informative. I saw several doe and two shooter bucks. I also saw how they were traveling and where they came from. You can bet I’m going to making a map of all the important information.
Look at the map and let me know what you think. Is there other information you can think of to include?
You may also like:
Get the Bow & Gun Monthly Newsletter