By Harrison Hoegh
September can be a long month of waiting in Iowa. One can easily get over excited for the season and check their trail cameras too many times during September, or charge into the best stands October 1st and ruin locations. Here are a few ways to keep yourself occupied, and from busting deer, throughout the month of September.
Rabbit Hunting: If you are excited to get into the woods, rabbit season offers an opportunity on September 3rd. I am not talking about stomping through your best treestand locations looking for cottontails; one can easily find a small grove, or junk yard that has plenty of rabbits. Rabbits are a small target and are quick to jump a string, they also frequent dense cover. Multiple times last year a rabbit dropped under my arrow, or my arrow hit a twig and was sent far off the desired path. Practicing getting a clear shot and reading body language are both lessons a rabbit can teach you before a buck does this fall. Furthermore, rabbits can be cooked into many tasty meals.
Shooting Practice: At this point practice should become more realistic. Instead of shooting my standard ten yards increments, I want to be shooting at 33 and 47 yards, random distances, so I know just where my arrow is hitting, and which pin I want to aim slightly high with or slightly low with. Also awkward shots such as leaning out around a tree, or sitting down should be present while practicing. I find the shot straight in front of me is one of the most common while sitting in a blind and hunting.
Scouting the Fields from the Road:Deer on October 1st may still be in their comfortable summer pattern. Meaning they will still be eating near their beds and may even be coming out before sunset. If you drive around and search fields at this time of year, try not to stop when you see deer, but drive over the hill and sneak back to look at them through binoculars. This is a good time of year to locate a buck on new land that you may not have seen before. I examine public land at this time as well as land near the college I attend. Early season may be your best chance at a buck on public land before hunting pressure pushes them off the land.
Food Plots and Mock Scrapes
A turnip plot planted in early September should be mature in late November. Winter wheat is another option for planting this time of year that will provide better cover for pheasants as well. Mock scrapes can be made in September, but you want to wait for the right wind before going into a location.