A Review of Traditions and Superstitions Associated with The First Day of Archery Season
Hunters and outdoorsmen and women can be a superstitious bunch at times. Even those of us who don’t necessarily whole-heartedly subscribe to the idea of luck, superstition, or the “karma” of the universe enjoy the occasional dabble in the thought of some external arbiter of hunting success smiling down on us if we take all the appropriate measures leading up to opening day. Still, other opening day and archery season tasks are more about tradition than superstition. Below is a list of some of the common threads you hear from many hunters.
The Special Arrow
A lot of hunters have a special arrow designated in their quiver. Often it’s the arrow that they have identified as the truest-flying arrow in the batch during their summer shooting sessions.
These hunters will be sure that that is the one that is nocked and waiting when opening day begins. Having that extra bit of confidence that comes from knowing your #1 arrow is ready and waiting probably isn’t meaningless, either. Confidence is key in the treestand.
Some of these hunters will reuse this arrow even after it’s used to take a deer, and they might even be dismayed if it is broken or lost after a shot. Other hunters are sentimental or superstitious enough that they never reuse an arrow after it takes a deer.
Some archers enjoy the tradition of pursuing game with a trad bow that has been passed down through the family from either a living or deceased relative. Archery hunting has a rich history and is engrained in the lifestyle of many families.
You will often hear about hunters who have set a goal of continuing the family tradition by taking a deer with their late grandfather’s recurve. It proves to be a great way to connect with your heritage during your hours in a treestand.
Many hunters will say that hunting certain moon phases is a tactic rather than a superstition. The jury is probably still out on that one, with most biologists citing radio-telemetry studies that counter the viewpoint that moon phase or positioning has an impact on deer movement.
Either way, you will hear a lot of hunters talking about the best times to kill a big buck, relative to the timing of a full moon, when the moon is rising or setting relative to the last hour of daylight, or even when the moon is positioned overhead or underfoot.
There have also been studies that have extensively looked into the effect the moon has on the timing of observed whitetail rutting activity, and how active rutting bucks will be in daylight.
Many Native tribes held white deer (pie-bald/albino) in high regard as a sacred and spiritual sign in the timber. This sentiment has continued to the present day, with many hunters believing that seeing a white deer while hunting will bring good luck.
Conversely, they also believe that shooting a white deer is extremely bad luck. In fact, in some states, it is still illegal to shoot albino deer. Other hunters feel that albino and pie-bald deer represent a true trophy of a lifetime and make no hesitation about harvesting such an animal where it is legal to do so.
The Lucky Stand
Most hunters have a favorite stand location that has been a perennial producer for years. It might be a place where they have killed big bucks in the past.
Other times, it might be their father or grandfathers favorite stand where they always sat on opening day. Heading to these stands on opening day becomes a tradition for many, much in the same way as taking their grandfather’s bow into the field.
Getting a little extra luck from an extra special stand, or embracing a generational family tradition might be just what your opening day needs.
For some reason or another, Halloween seems to be a favorite day of the year for archery hunters. It seems inevitable that giants will fall each year on this day.
You will hear many hunters talking about Halloween being the best day of archery hunting of the entire year, and some even start their “rut vacations” on this day.
The hunting success that occurs on Halloween likely has a lot to do with the rut heating up at that same time. Or maybe its some supernatural force that gets the big bucks on their feet during this day of the year; we might never truly know.
Some hunters have a lucky piece of gear that they have to take with them to the stand. That might be their favorite, tattered ball cap they’ve been wearing each time they harvested a buck, or some sort of keepsake that they have in their pocket or hunting pack.
Being Too Prepared
This one seems counter-intuitive at first, but some hunters feel that the universe just doesn’t align for them when they have everything they need in their hunting pack. Take a drag rope and a gutting knife along in your pack, and that’s the best way to come home empty-handed.
“Forget” those items in the truck and you’ll certainly be in need of them. Better to harvest a deer and then have to make an additional walk back to the parking lot for supplies, than be totally prepared and come home without any venison, right?
Archery Season Traditions and Superstitions Recap
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the list above. Do you have some of your own superstitions or hunting traditions to add? Leave us a comment and let us know which ones you adhere to each archery season.
Make sure to check out our full Elevation HUNT line for all the Above Standard products that’ll help you elevate your bowhunting regardless of traditions or superstitions.
For more archery and hunting-related content, be sure to check out our other blog posts at Elevation’s blog here.
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