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Archery Hunting Tips Part IV: How To Hunt The White Tailed Deer
The white tailed deer, believe it or not, is a somewhat predictable animal. Unless something drastically gets in the way of where they want to go and what they want to do, they're going to go there or do it! It's for this reason that the white tailed deer is fun to hunt during the archery season. No guns firing to scare the deer. Not many people tramping through the woods and banging on stands getting them ready. Just peace and quiet, and normal routine for the deer. Here are a few ways to pattern and hunt these deer.
Go spotting. Going spotting for deer gives you a general idea of where these deer hang out. If you see the same deer, night after night, in the same field, chances are he's hanging around that area. If you see him in multiple fields, relatively close together, then you can still assume he's hanging around. You get the point.
Use trail cameras. These trail cameras are a wonderful invention. They're the eyes you wish you had in the woods. Set as many as you have up in different areas. One camera is fine too. See what deer are hanging around or walking through, and see what time it is. It gives you clues as to where they are at what times. If a deer walks by your spot at 8 P.M., right after dark, you know that if you move your stand a little higher, he might walk by during hutning hours. These are trial and error things.
Go scout the area. Looking for sign in the area you hunt is very beneficial. It doe not guarantee a deer will be coming through there, but it gives you an idea if there are deer around. If you are set up close to a deer trail that you can tell is being used hard, you got yourself, more than likely, a good spot. If you're seeing no trails, scrapes, or rubs, chances are the deer aren't traveling through there in very big numbers, or even often.
Hunt pinch points. Deer are like humans in that they like to take the easiest path there is. Buck tend to veer away from super heavily traveled areas, which is why mature bucks are so big, and they like to travel other paths. Remember to look for your scrapes and rubs for indicators. Pinch points are excellent areas to hunt. A pinch point can be natual or you can make one yourself. A ravine is a pinch point. Something that makes like a bottle neck. Fences and fence lines can create a pinch point as well. Look for something that creates a funnel or bottleneck. Another good spot to hunt would be where 2 paths split.
Use, but don't overuse, the grunt. Grunting, contrary to what some believe, can be done year round. It is a natural form of communication between deer. As long as it's not overdone, which makes it sound unnatural, it can be done during archery season before the rut. Grunt once ever 45 minutes to an hour and you won't mess up the normal daily routines of the deer.
Try hunting near over over food sources. Deer need to eat, and the closer to their food source you can get, the better. Deer tend to feed in the evening and night hours, so if you can catch them coming out into the fields before dark, you'll be set. Soy beans, corn, beets, and man made food plots are excellent food sources to hunt close to or over top of.
Check the wind. Deer have excellent sniffers, and they will catch you red handed before you even see them if the wind is right. If you are hunting a field, try to sit that the wind will be hitting you downwind from where the deer are coming. So if you are facing a field, and the deer normally come out from behind you, you want the wind to be hitting you in the back so the deer don't sniff you out before they get there. Don't forget to use scent blockers to help aid in diminishing your scent.
Set more than one stand if possible. Setting more than one stand gives you more than one option. If the wind isn't right one day in stand A, you can go to stand B where the wind is much better. Also, you don't want to wear out a stand. Deer aren't dumb. If they catch you in a stand once, they will more than likely chance their pattern to come out somewhere different, and somehow they relay this message to almost all of the other deer. By having multiple stands, you have those multiple options.
By using these tips and strategies, seeing deer before the rut has become alot greater. It takes time and you need to do your homework, but the reward is so worth it. Good luck!
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Archery Hunting Tips Part III: Choosing The Right Gear, Scents, & Optics
Archery Hunting Tips Part V: How To Set Up Your Hunting Spot During The Rut
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