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A few tips and basic knowledge about stalking whitetail deer:
The more open an area is makes for better conditions when trying to stalk deer. The key to stalking is to be stealthy enough to spot a deer before it spots you. It pays to have looked over aerial maps and scouted the area before hunting an area, become familiar with water sources, deer travel routes, bedding areas, food sources, etc. Try to move slowly and try to spot deer from a far away enough distance to put together a plan for sneaking into shooting range.
Early mornings is your best chance because deer are usually furthest away from bedding areas, focused on feeding. Many mature bucks have become nocturnal by time deer season begins making them very hard to locate. During the light of day they’ll be found bedding where they’ll blend with the surroundings and windy for predators the direction that they can’t see. If your lucky enough to locate these bedding areas don’t pressure it, or the deer will relocate. Most deer, including trophy bucks will get up to stretch or nibble at some nearby food source, or may even just move to get comfortable. Try to position yourself out of his windy area but where you’ll be able to get a shot off when he stands up.
Deer will bed on hillsides, in bottoms, along fields but you’ll find that usually where there’s shade is where they’ll be especially early season. Even after temps begin to drop they’ll have a winter coat to keep them warm. Bucks are creatures of habits unless you pressure them, they’ll continue the same routines. Be patient you may not get but one chance all season when everything comes together, the wind is blowing prefect, maybe the rain has just washed out all scent or you happen to catch peak of the rut.
Most hunters don’t like hunting the wind but really wind helps cover noise and lowers deer defenses, you just don’t want swirling winds. A swirling wind can quickly end your hunt, instead back off some and wait for the wind to stabilize and clams or begins blowing one direction. With the wind blowing away you can slip within 10yds of a deer undetected. Again early morning wind is less likely and your scent tends to rise because of low dew points.
Deer are extremely good at picking up on moving objects, also are very familiar with objects that don’t fit the surroundings or can spot a silhouette that isn’t broken up. Deer have very good eyesight with a wide field of view. Also very good hearing so you have to move slow, stop frequently attempting to sound like other wildlife, such as squirrels or other deer. I’ve had to get on hands and knees to slip into areas without being noticed, it can be a very slow process.
Even though stalking deer can be very tasking and time consuming there’s not a much more exciting way of hunting and given the right timing it can prove to be very productive way of harvesting game.
Telltale sign of bucks bedding area
What to look for
Any time your stalking you should be scouting as well, keep an eye ahead first you want to look for an ear moving, the twitch of a tail, the reflection off an antler or any horizontal movements. As you walk use your eyes watching for droppings, tracks, signs of nibbling, they may lead you straight to a deer. Deer will nibble at mushrooms, branches, leaves, acorns, almost anything in the woods. Fresh droppings, especially if there's steam is a good indicator that deer are just ahead. Deer tracks that have fresh dirt kicked up or after a good rain or fresh snow, will help lead to the whitetails ahead. You want to look for the biggest tracks or largest dropping if your hunting mature deer.