Advanced deer hunting tips
Bucks are creatures of habits
Deer are creatures of habits
Whitetails will use the same trails, food sources, waterholes, etc, as they grew up using. Each generation teaches the next and same old routines. Even the loners or mature bucks follow these patterns. Early December 2yrs ago, we had gotten a picture of a mature 9pt slipping into a hole in some planted pines. The game camera would get a pic of his big body scent-checking his scrapes every three days. After looking over our pics we decided it's time someone hunted there.
Dewey decided to sit along a tree transition line leading into these pines, his shot was limited to about 40yds. Just before dark he decided to try one deep grunt to sound as though another buck was up there. Suddenly he come hear crashing as the buck raced to his private breeding hole. All at once it got quite as the bruiser came to a halt. Not another sound but he thought the deer had winded him so his hunt is over. That's when the deer stepped out into the narrow trail with over hanging branches blocking his view. He thought it's now or never and quickly squeezed off a shot missing the deer completely. He thought he'd never see that deer again.
Nearly a month later we were going to hunt that same lease for the last time of the season. The game camera was still in the woods, Dewey thought he'd hunt that same hole and retrieve his camera. After checking it on the way to the stand he discovered the same buck was still visiting that same scrape every 3 days and today was the third day. He quickly got in the stand and never made another noise, afraid that any sound would let the buck know that hunter is back. Just as it was getting too dark to see, Dewey heard a single twig snap and nothing else. He quickly took the safety off raised his 30-06 to where he had seen the buck before, and the deer stepped out turning broadside to look at his stand. Without hesitation Dewey dropped that mature buck where he stood.
Deer love these remote waterholes
6 Advanced tips for deer hunting
- Know your food sources: You need to know what the native food sources are in your woods and when they are most attractive to your deer herd. Find the hot food source and you'll find your deer. Deer may be focused on one food source, acorns, wild berries, honeysuckle, or other whitetail favorites. When it's hot and dark focus on swamps or creek bottoms. If you don't know what natural food deer eat in your area, check the DNR website for that state.
- Look in hidden locations: Whitetails look for a place to escape predators, water and bottoms provide this security. Bucks like thickets or heavy brush with food and water close. Creeks make a great trail for bucks as they have multiple escape routes. When you find sign of feeding near thickets, crp, or dense brush, you've found a great stand location.
- Bucks bed in hidden thickets: When you come along the edge of a thicket and all the trees, or brush is torn up a good buck has claimed this area. Look for hidden food sources near a thicket, and you've found does bedding areas. If there's more than one thicket cover the edge closer to the water. Remember bucks like the safety and seclusion the water has to offer.
- Find the group of does in heat: Does seem to cycle in groups, find the group of hot does for some hot action. One hot doe can bring half the woods in around you. Bucks will monitor females constantly as the rut nears. Bucks will visit various groups watching for visual sign and scent-checking for pheromones. Even deer in the same group may come to heat days apart.
- Keep a Deer Hunters Journal: Keeping a journal will help you set a rut schedule for your hunting property. We've used a journal to pin the rut down within a few days where we hunt. Deer at the higher elevations usually go into rut first, hunt along field edges and higher ridges. Then move your efforts to the bottoms and more secluded holes. There will be scattered groups that haven't been bred, they tend to wander so hunt somewhere in the middle.
- Read the deer sign: Watch for deer behavior to spot does coming to estrus. The oldest doe or matriarch usually has the best food, bedding and comes into heat first. You can tell when does are nearing estrus by their behavior. They move more, they pace, act antsy, and keep looking back over their shoulders. Hot does stick their tails out straight or maybe crooked to one side. If the does your watching relaxed and more interested in feeding try another stand.
Hints that rut is near
You Know Rut is Near When:
- Bucks begin to wander from bedding areas before sunset
- If scrapes go cold or chasing has started
- If you start seeing deer sign in strange places
- Your seeing bucks that you've never seen before
- The woods is suddenly filling up with human predators and it sounds as though a war has just broke out!