In most areas of the country, whitetail velvet bucks are off limits. That isn’t the case everywhere, though. Statistically speaking, the chances are that you live in a state where it’s prohibited. Good old Kentucky is one of the few states with a velvet season. You’ll get your picture in the paper of you and your trophy instead of one that involves a conservation officer and handcuffs. And that’s exactly how it ought to be.
Whitetail buck hunting is in your blood. It likely goes back generations and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s as automatic as your daily routine and the familiar roads you drive. Each year, there’s no doubt that you’re going into the field. You’ve likely taken your share of antlered deer. The antlers of deer are a fascination to any hunter, especially when an unusually impressive deer is involved. They tell a story of power and ruggedness on both the part of the hunter and the hunted. They show in their usual bony, smooth, and tan or off-white coloring.
If you’re looking for a different experience within the realm of whitetail buck hunting, a velvet hunt is something worth considering. While you’re tossing the idea around, here are 6 reasons why hunting whitetail in the velvet is a worthwhile pursuit.
Nature’s in Full Swing
If you’re used to late-fall hunting, you’ll find woodland velvet hunting striking. It’s far more scenery rich. Everything around you is alive, growing and thriving. Typically, by the time you start your whitetail hunts most vegetation has died off. Lush isn’t a word that describes traditional antlered whitetail hunting but it perfectly describes hunting in the velvet. In some cases, you won’t be able to take an easy shot for granted with the added foliage. Don’t forget to throw heat, bugs and a possible thunderstorm into the mix. But anyone who has hunted in the velvet knows that the earlier season, outdoor experience makes up for it. It’s an exciting time to be outside.
You’ll Likely Be Traveling
Velvet hunts are only available in a small handful of states. North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Washington and Kentucky are some of the few who participate. So unless you live in a state that offers velvet hunts, you’re going to have to go on a road trip or catch a flight. That may initially sound like a bad thing, but it can actually be the just the opposite. Traveling will add more depth, adventure and appreciation to your hunt. The challenges of a DIY hunt become all the more obvious if you plan on traveling to an area you’ve never been to before. Salt River Outfitters understands these challenges and prides itself in helping to bring you the hunt of a lifetime. We take a lot of the guesswork out of the hunt that simply isn’t possible for an out-of-state hunter who is new to an area. That kind of experience and understanding takes years, not a few days to figure out. New surroundings will awaken in you what first drew you to hunting years ago.
A Highly Unique Trophy
You won’t be bringing home the average whitetail trophy if you bag one in the velvet. Any deer hunter who sees your trophy will immediately be fascinated by it. In many cases, you’ll be the only person you know for miles who has anything similar in their home. It will be a conversation piece for generations to come. Not all regions and states are created equal, though, when it comes to trophy potential. There are few states that offer a velvet hunt and even fewer that offer a shot at a real trophy. SRO believes in the velvet hunt because there are plenty of bruiser bucks to be found in Kentucky. In fact, the velvet hunt is the very best shot at a trophy whitetail buck that SRO can offer—and here’s why.
Those hunting in the regular season don’t talk too much about deer patterns. That’s because once deer season starts, there aren’t many predictable patterns anymore. Deer become stressed and are no longer in their typical locations at certain times. Hunts become exponentially harder and unpredictable. Hunting in the velvet is very unique regarding patterns. Patterns are as automatic as they possibly could be. Deer have had a year to recover from the stress of the hunt. They aren’t nearly as timid and are going about their usual business. This is the perfect scenario for the buck hunter. Also, bucks are still traveling in bachelor groups so you have several antlered deer to choose from in most cases. You can actually target a specific deer that you would like to harvest. At this time in the year, whitetails aren’t moving very far either. They have a surprisingly small home range.
More Fun and Relaxed than the Regular Season
The entire mood of the velvet hunt is laid-back. Because deer are holding in their usual patterns, hunters have far more free time on their hands. Regular-season hunts require being out before dawn until late at night. Hunters wind up getting four hours of sleep while deer are in the rut.
There’s nothing wrong with that sort of hunting. It’s the bread and butter of whitetail buck pursuit. If you’re looking for something more relaxed that you can savor, though, check out velvet hunting. No overachieving is necessary. In fact, at SRO, there’s generally no need to hunt mornings. Highest success rates are in the afternoon. This means that you’ll get plenty of sleep. There’s more time to joke, find great food, carry on and have fun. You could catch a round of golf, play cards or visit local bourbon distilleries. There are around ten distilleries within a half-hour drive or less from the SRO location. 90 percent of the bourbon consumed in the US is manufactured at these local distilleries.
Come Home Refreshed
There’s no buck-lag in early September. You won’t return home feeling like you were dragged through a keyhole backwards. You’ll feel more like you were on vacation than a hunt. The drive or flight home will make you eager to share some great stories with your friends and family. From warmer weather, time to relax, to the greatest potential for a trophy with the least needed exertion, you’ll return home refreshed. With batteries charged, you’ll be eager to dig into life again.
If the velvet season is peaking your interest, we’d love to interact with you about the upcoming velvet hunt. It’s one of the highlights of the year at Salt River Outfitters. September will be here before you know it. For those of you reading who have hunted whitetail in the velvet before, what did you like most about it? We would love to read and respond to your comments!