You Shot a Deer. Here’s How to Find It.

The buck you want is broadside, 20 yards away. You’re at full draw, trying to anchor and aim. I can count on Captain Hook’s left hand the number of things that excite me more than this moment. But nothing will turn that excitement into anxiety faster than releasing the arrow and not knowing exactly where it went. And that very thing happens to every bowhunter in the woods at some point in time.

But there are cues to watch following the shot. The deer’s initial reaction, the arrow’s appearance, and the blood trail quality are all important to considering not only where the deer is hit, but how long you should wait before taking up the trail.

Check it Out : You Shot a Deer. Here’s How to Find It. | Deer Hunting | Realtree.

November Whitetail Hunting

deerWhitetail bucks may not care much about security in the summer, but, once they shed their velvet and begin rubbing and scraping, they become more security conscious. They move less during daylight hours, travel more at night, use secluded areas, and keep more to the security of woods and brush, where they can’t be easily discovered by predators or hunters. However, as the breeding urge hits them in October and November, they seem to forget about security, and they begin to travel more in search of does. In their effort to find does they often begin traveling during daylight hours, and they often use the same trails as the does. They also begin frequenting the same feeding areas as the does.

 Find the Does

Late October is a good time to look for bucks traveling during legal hunting hours, it is also a good time to look for the same thing the bucks are looking for; does. If you know where the prime food sources are, you should be able to find the does. Once you find the does you can locate their core areas, food sites and travel corridors, where you may find buck rubs, rub routes and scrapes. And once you find bucks rubs and rub routes it is only a matter of time and effort before you find the bucks.


Even though my wife and children are big football fans I often get the urge to head for the woods in the fall. So, during the afternoons and evenings on Saturdays and Sundays I drive to one of my hunting/research areas to look for deer, and deer sign. I begin my scouting by glassing (using binoculars) while I drive around the country, checking farm fields at dusk. Once I find where the deer are feeding I watch the fields to see where the deer come from, so I can locate their bedding areas.

Every once in a while I get lucky and see one of the bucks too, like I did the Friday evening before the gun opener in 2002. I was looking for does at the south end of one of the cornfields I hunted. As I neared the end of the field a fawn crossed the opening in front of me. I quickly turned off my lights and stopped the Suburban. Another fawn crossed the opening, followed by a doe and a massive 10 point buck locally known as “Bullwinkle.” As I sat silently in the Suburban the buck caught up with the doe and bred her, then they both moved into the woods, which I knew was used as a bedding area by one of the does in the area, probably this very doe. As a result of my scouting, and with a little luck, I had a pretty good idea of where to setup to see the buck the next morning.


After I find the does I start field scouting, looking for evidence of bucks passing through the area. Rubs and scrapes are very evident during late October and early November, which makes it easy to locate the buck’s rub routes. Once I find a rub route I backtrack it to find the buck’s bedroom. More often than not I go into the bedding site and spook the buck, but I don’t worry about it. I’ve found that bucks often return to their core areas and bedding sites as long as they aren’t disturbed more than one or two times.

After a few weeks of scouting I know where the mast crops are, and which feeding areas the does are regularly using. To get a better idea of when and where the deer are moving I sit in a tree stand, or on a high point, where I can see a lot of territory. I watch the deer for a few, days to find out what time to expect them at certain points along their travel routes. Then I choose which stand sites to use at what time of the day for the best chances at the bucks.

T.R.’s Tips: Hunting Sight Setups

Hunters often use scents, calls and rattling to attract bucks during the rut. If you are use any of these methods to attract bucks remember that adult bucks invariably try to get downwind to check the area for scents and sounds, so they can detect and avoid danger. You should also remember that adult bucks try to remain in cover when they travel.

When you setup to take a particular buck along a travel route, give the buck the cover it likes to move in, while you set up in a nearby area. Try to position yourself crosswind of the buck’s travel route to avoid detection. If there is nearby cover the buck may use, and a more open area, or cover too thick for the buck to move through, crosswind of where you think the buck will travel, setup in the area the buck won’t use. Give the buck the area it will use, while you wait in the area it won’t use, and where you won’t be detected. You can also setup downwind of the buck’s approach while luring the buck to a position upwind of your position.

When you use scent wicks or canisters be sure to place them close enough for a shot. If you have to setup upwind of the buck’s approach, take extreme precautions to avoid detection; don’t put your stand in a direct line with the buck’s line of travel, you may be seen. For the same reason you should keep your stand site a comfortable distance from the travel route, far enough away to avoid detection, but close enough for a shot.

When I am hunting an area I have not hunted before, I prefer to hunt in the evenings, when most scent marking activity (rubbing and scraping) occurs. If I find a rub route I backtrack it until I think I am near a buck’s bedding area. Then I setup as close as I can to the bedding area without alarming the buck. If I can’t locate the rub route or bedding area I look for staging areas (where the deer gather before moving, into feeding areas at sunset) near food sources.

Once you have chosen an area to hunt, and a where to put your stand, decide where to place the scent. It can be hung from trees on felt pads, film canisters or a dripper. I place several drippers crosswind or upwind of my position, about fifteen yards from my stand and fifteen yards apart, near a rub or scrape, and wait for the buck to come by.

The November Rut Phases

Depending on where you hunt, whitetail deer may be going through one or more rut phases during November. In the northern and mid-latitude states they may be in the later stages of the Pre-Primary Breeding/Scraping Phase from early to mid-November; in the Primary Breeding Phase from early to mid-November; in the Rest Phase from mid to late November; or in the Pre-late Breeding Phase in late November. In the southern states these stages may begin  several weeks earlier, and each phase may last longer. To determine when peak breeding occurs in most states you can log on to the Trinity Mountain Outdoors web site at and click on the Whitetail Rut Dates Chart.

November Hunting Sites

When you are using scents, calls and rattling you should get as close to the buck bedrooms and feeding areas as you can, or setup along the travel route between those two areas. If the bucks are not actively working their rub routes and making scrapes, and you know where they bed, travel and feed, you can setup near the bedding sites, along the travel routes, or near the feeding areas.  During the Pre-Primary Breeding/Scraping Phase (late October to early November in the north) bucks may be making rubs and scrapes along rub routes. They’ll travel their rub routes semi-regularly at this time, and you should be able to pattern the buck along its rub route, where you can setup near either rubs or scrapes. During the Primary Breeding Phase, when the bucks are looking for or with estrous does, they are unpredictable. But they may still frequent their rub routes, and the doe core areas and feeding areas. During this phase you can setup near buck bedrooms, along travel routes and near doe core areas and feeding areas. During the Rest Phase (after peak breeding) the bucks often return to their core areas and nearby feeding areas; you can setup near the buck bedding areas; or between the bedding areas and the food sources. Three to four weeks after the peak of the Primary Breeding Phase you can expect a Post Primary Breeding Phase, when the bucks begin traveling their rub routes again. During this phase they can be found near their bedding sites, and with the does in staging and feeding areas. During the Post Rut the bucks often return to their bedding areas and seek high quality food sources to put on weight for the winter. During this phase you should setup near buck bedrooms and feeding areas.

Pre-Primary Breeding / Scraping Phase Hunting Techniques

This is when you should setup along a rub route or near a scrape in a wooded area that the bucks use during the day. When I am hunting a previously patterned buck during this phase of the rut, near a rub or scrape, I am confident of the trail the deer uses and I don’t need numerous scent dispensers. Because I have patterned the buck, and I am hunting before the breeding period, I’m fairly sure the buck will come by me sometime within a 3-5 day period, unless it meets an estrous doe first, or is spooked by another hunter.

I use the scent to position the buck for a clear shot. The scent also gives me a chance to bring in any other bucks in the area. I hang up one or two felt pads with buck urine or doe estrous scent, but I don’t leave them out when I’m not there. If a buck comes to doe scent and doesn’t find a doe, it probably won’t fall for it again. By taking the scent out every day you don’t educate the buck.

You can also hunt near a scrape, or make your own scrape. I make a mock a scrape with the heel of my boot, rattling racks, or a stick, under an overhanging branch. I pour forehead scent on the branch and tarsal scent in the scrape. Then I hang an Ultimate Scrape Dripper with Golden Estrus or Active Scrape over the scrape, or near my stand in a shooting lane. This combination of buck infringement scents and doe in heat scent attracts bucks out of the urge to exert dominance, or to breed.

If you don’t know exactly where the buck’s bedding area is you can setup on the rub route at the first scrape the buck makes as it comes out of its core (bedding) area by using this same techniques. If you don’t know where the core area is you can setup near a staging area or food source that the does are using. When I am not setup along on a rub route or near a scrape I use several film canisters spread out 10 yards apart to attract the buck over a wider area. If you know the buck is traveling after sunrise in the morning you can use this same technique on the rub route leading back to its bedding area.

 Primary Breeding Phase Hunting Techniques

During this rut phase you should setup along the buck’s rub route or near areas the does regularly use. Because the does are in estrous the bucks are either with a doe or looking for one. If you know a particular buck is not with a doe, and is staying in its bedding area, you can setup as close to its bedding site as you can. Try to get between the buck and the first doe area it visits. If the buck finds an estrous doe before it gets to your stand site the chances are it will follow the doe and not the rub route. By setting up between the buck’s bedroom and the first doe use area you have a good chance of seeing the buck on a regular basis, and attracting it to your stand.

Because bucks are looking for does and want to protect their breeding rights both Territorial/Dominance scents and Sex scents work during this phase. To capitalize on this you can make a mock rub near one of the buck’s rubs or scrapes, and a mock scrape. You can drip a line of tarsal, interdigital or urine scent across the trail the buck uses and lead it to the mock rub.

To make a mock rub remove the bark from a tree with a wood rasp, then drip forehead scent or some other scent on the rub. Wear rubber gloves and boots while you do this, so you don’t contaminate the area. Mock rubs should be placed in a shooting lane, near your stand, where the buck will stop to investigate it, often sniffing and licking the rub, while offering you a shot.

Remember, during the breeding phase or “peak rut” the bucks may be traveling anywhere and anytime in search of does. Because the bucks are unpredictable during this phase you should spend as much time as possible on stand. Choose a site near a rub or scrape near doe core areas, in staging sites, feeding or watering areas, or get close to the buck’s bedroom. Hunt three or more days in each area, changing stand sites frequently. If the buck is with an estrous doe it may stay with the doe for up to three days; it may not return to its normal activities until the doe is out of estrous. If you quit hunting after two or three days you may miss the buck when it returns to its normal pattern.

Once the majority of the does in estrous have been bred, the dominant bucks often begin to travel their rub routes again, making rubs and scrapes. The subdominant bucks may also begin rubbing and scraping at this time, because they haven’t come in contact with the dominant bucks or with fresh rubs and scrapes, which often keeps them from making their own rubs and scrapes. Either way there is often renewed rubbing and scraping activity for a week or more shortly after peak breeding as both the dominant and subdominant bucks search for does. Setup along rub lines, scrape routes and in staging areas near food sources. Buck urine and doe in estrous work well at this time. Tarsal or interdigital scent can be dripped on a trail to lead bucks to rubs, scrapes or your stand site.

Rest Phase Hunting Techniques

A week to two weeks after peak breeding the older bucks may not show themselves. After the fighting, chasing and breeding of the Breeding Phase the dominant bucks may be worn out, hungry, and in need of food to supply enough fat to get them through the winter. They often return to their bedding areas, or look for a secure place to rest, with high quality food sources nearby. If you know where the bucks are and where the available food sources are, you can setup between the two to intercept the bucks.

The bucks may not be as willing to fight after peak breeding, but they may still be interested in breeding. Estrus scents and buck urine work well at this time. Some bucks may respond to Curiosity scents; Food scents like acorn, corn and peanut butter may work. If you are confident of your stalking skills you can go after the buck in its core area.

 Late Breeding Phase

About two to three weeks after peak breeding has ceased some of the younger does that did jot come into estrous earlier, particularly six month old fawns in many regions, may come into a first estrous, and older does that were not bred earlier come into a second or possibly a third estrous. This may cause an increase in both rubbing and scraping activity as the bucks begin to travel their rub routes and search for late season forage, where they may come in contact with does or the scents the does left behind. Since the younger or subdominant bucks may have never ceased looking for does, the earliest of these activities may be attributed to the these bucks, resulting in what appears to be a pre-late breeding phase, which precedes the peak breeding of does at this time. The actual Late Breeding Phase peak may last two to three weeks. However, breeding may continue for a month or more before ceasing, with breeding continuing longer in the mid-latitude and southern states.

Winter Home Range Shift & Migration

Limited food sources and cold winter weather may cause the deer to migrate, or to move to Winter Home Ranges. I’ve seen this Winter Home Range Shift occur as early as mid-November if the weather turns cold, the snow gets deep, the natural food sources are gone, or agricultural food sources like corn and soybeans are picked. If you don’t see any deer in you area, they may have moved or migrated. If they have you will have to start the scouting, glassing, patterning process all over again if you want to be a successful deer hunter.

Pre-Late Rut Phase and Late Rut Phase Hunting Techniques

No matter which rut phase you are hunting during late season deer hunts, the further you are from the food sources you are, without getting too close to the deer bedding areas, the better your chances of seeing deer during the day. Even though the deer may arrive at the food source well before dark, they are most alert near the food sources, where you may be detected. And, because bucks generally travel later than does, you will have a better chance of seeing them in protected areas, well away from the food sources, in the early afternoon.

 T.R.’s Tips: Right Place, Right Time

When you are hunting in the morning try to position yourself between night resting areas/early morning food sources, and daytime bedding areas. Your hunting sites should be located along trails leading to buck bedding areas so you have an opportunity as the bucks return to their beds.

I often see deer bed and feed in overgrown fields of brush and saplings on the downwind side of hills in the morning. They often stay in these areas until daylight, then, as the sun rises, move to areas of deeper cover. When this happens you can setup downwind or crosswind of the trails the deer use as they leave. You can also setup near known buck bedding areas, provided you get there before the buck returns.

The time to hunt late season bucks is when the conditions are right. When foods are scarce, or a preferred food is available; and when there is cloud cover and the wind-chills drop, expect to see deer earlier in the evening and later in the morning than normal. After a winter storm lets up, or it has been cold, windy, or after there has been heavy precipitation for more than a day and a half, which causes the deer to miss two or more feeding periods, and then the wind dies down, or the temperature/wind-chill rises, you can expect the deer to begin feeding, and to continue feeding for the next couple of hours.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

rattlingThe sun shining on the frost covered golden rods in front of my tree stand caused the plants to sparkle like diamonds. A flock of geese was feeding in the cornfield directly ahead of me and I could hear their excited honking. A downy woodpecker tapped on the aspen tree above my head while seven deer fed and groomed each other in the golden rod field. The wind picked up and I shivered in the 25 degree temperature. I tried not to shake too much. I didn’t want the deer to see me or hear the chattering of my teeth. I had been watching them since 7:15 when they arrived, first a doe with two fawns that were still trying to nurse. Every time the fawns approached the doe she would lay hear ears back, extend her neck and threaten them. When this didn’t work she would charge them, kicking out with a foreleg. Then the fawns would run off, jumping playfully and the doe would go back to feeding.

Soon after the first deer arrived another doe with twins came out of the new growth aspen patch on my right and began feeding. They moved close to the other deer but not close enough to get involved with the playful fawns. Then a pair of yearling does came out of the weeds and stood near the end of the lane at the other end of the field seventy yards away. I watched the deer until 8:00 when they ambled into the wooded gully to my right, then to the oak woods where they bedded. I sat on the stand another fifteen minutes, hoping to see the eight point buck that traveled through this area on his daily rub route. He had made a scrape under the plum tree at the end of the lane near the lake. If the buck was late going back to his bedding area, as he often was, I might see him yet.

I didn’t see any more deer until 8:30 when two more does appeared near the scrape. I had been ready to leave but decided to watch the does. Just to see what would happen I rattled loudly. The does seemed not to hear the sound and I checked the rest of the field. Standing just across the wire fence fifty yards away, staring at the two does, stood the high racked four point buck I had seen the day before. I rattled again and he looked my way. I raised my binoculars for a better look. The young buck stared in my direction then suddenly looked toward the two does. I swung the binoculars in their direction. They had left but the big eight point was walking down the lane toward my stand. This was what the smaller buck was looking at. I checked the fence where he had been standing in time to see him disappear over the hill. He probably didn’t want to be around the bigger buck with so many does in the area.

I looked down the lane again. The eight point was still coming, now thirty yards away. Whether from the cold or excitement, my left leg began to shake uncontrollably. I tried to make it stop but it only seemed to get worse. I willed myself to quit shaking. Geez, he looked big, his neck swollen, his high, wide rack clearly visible as he walked down the lane. I wished for my camera but had I left it in the house a half mile away. With the bright sun I could have gotten some great pictures of the buck as he came in. He kept coming and finally stopped where the second doe had feed for a while, sniffing the ground and looking in the direction she had gone. He stood for a full minute, offering a broadside shot with nothing between us but air. But I was not hunting today, I was studying the deer just like I had been all season long.

The first time saw the buck it was two hundred yards away. I wondered what the buck would do if I rattled. The doe was walking with her tail up, clearly in estrus. I rattled anyhow, loud, smashing the racks together then grinding them hard. The buck paid no attention. He probably couldn’t hear the noise. I rattled again, as loud as I could. This time he looked my way, staring intently. He stood for a couple of minutes and as the doe and fawns disappeared into the oaks he followed them. I waited five minutes then rattled. Maybe I could get another buck to come in.

Five minutes later I rattled loudly for a minute. No deer appeared. It was getting late but I waited another five minutes and rattled one last time before leaving. After checking the area in front of me I put my binoculars in my pocket and heard a noise behind me. I turned just in time to see the eight pointer, tail waving good-bye, bound across the open cornfield. He had followed the woods around the corn and gotten downwind before coming into the open. If I had been more patient and observant I would have seen him. I looked at my watch. It had taken him twenty five minutes to come in, traveling at least two hundred and fifty yards the way he had come. Well, I had learned something. Be patient, be alert, expect deer from any direction, check the downwind side carefully before leaving the stand, and figure on at least twenty minutes for a buck to cover two hundred yards.

Rattling works best in areas with high buck concentrations. Feeding and staging areas near doe use areas often attract more than one buck. Try to be near a buck dominance area, a rubline or scrape, at a time when the buck may be passing through. If you are going to rattle try using more than one set of racks with different sounds. Don’t rattle the same buck from the same stand if it can be avoided, especially if you are discovered. Don’t rattle to the same buck on consecutive days. Use different stands every two to three days. Rattle from a blind or treestand where motion can’t be seen.

You can grunt or snort, rake a tree or bush, pound the ground and rustle leaves to simulate the sound of two bucks fighting. The sound of thrashing or raking a tree or bush is often enough to bring in a buck. This tactic works especially well on mule deer that rely on the sound of thrashing rather than grunting to express dominance. Use rattling in conjunction with scents and decoys to convince the buck there is or was another deer in the area.

If you rattle from a treestand use two sets of racks, one set tied to a rope hanging from your stand. By shaking the hanging rack you can keep the buck looking at the ground and away from your position. Keep human scent to a minimum and stay downwind of the area you expect the buck to come in. If you can position yourself so there is no cover downwind the buck will usually come in crosswind and be unable to pick up your scent. Be patient, it may take a wary buck a long time to come in. Be quiet and thoroughly check your hunting area before leaving, a buck may come in without you noticing.


T.R. Michels


Choosing Stand Sites

treestandAn understanding of deer behavior and travel patterns can help you choose a hunting site. Because deer feed primarily during low light conditions they have two primary rest periods, late at night and during mid-day. Generally they leave their daytime bedding areas in heavy cover late in the afternoon and move toward night time food sources. They intermittently feed, travel and rest during the night before returning to their daytime bedding areas.

Because the amount of light is a Security Factor, deer in forested areas (where there is shade) get up and begin to feed and move a couple of hours before sundown. As the amount of light becomes less they move into more open areas of low brush or sparse forest and feed, moving toward open fields and meadows. Shortly before sundown they move into the shadows at the edges of tall grass and swamps before going into open meadows or agricultural fields where they feel secure and feed during darkness.

In the early morning this pattern is reversed. As the sky begins to brighten the deer move from the open areas back into tall grass fields, then to brushy areas just before daylight and into heavy cover or woods again once the sun is up. Bucks are generally more wary than does and move about a half hour later in the evening and head back to their beds about a half hour earlier in the morning.



Evening Stands

If you are hunting late in the afternoon, when the deer are just getting out of their beds in heavy cover, setup along travel lanes leading from the bedding areas to daytime food sources; near small openings in woods, fallen mast sites, swamp or creek edges near heavy cover. Close to sundown hunt the transition zones of tall grass, heavy brush, swamps and gullies. trails leading to staging areas, downwind of open food sources are excellent at sundown, especially for bucks.

If you are hunting at or after sundown and the deer are feeding in the open your stand should be along trails leading to the fields. Bucks move later than does and often come into the transition zones after sundown, preferring to stay in cover until sundown when they feel secure. If you don’t see bucks in open feeding areas move farther into the woods along buck travel routes in heavy cover and forested areas. Because the deer move late in the evening you have plenty of time to get to staging areas and transition zones before they arrive.


Morning Stands

In the early morning, when the deer are still feeding in the open, don’t hunt from stands near open night food sources unless you are sure there are no deer near your stand or you can approach it undetected. Because of the darkness you won’t know if there are deer in the area until it’s too late and if you spook a deer it will alert all the others in the area. Hunt transition zones, heavy cover where deer feed in search of food, or trails leading to bedding areas. Be at your stand before the deer and ambush them on their return.

Before the breeding phase bucks usually return to cover well before daylight. Hunt rub routes back to the buck bedroom early in the morning, getting there before the buck. Once the rut begins the bucks may return later because they are either chasing or looking for does. Early in the morning you may catch the buck along his rub route near transition zones on the way back to the bedding area. If the buck is not in his bedding area hunt near it from first light until noon. I have seen bucks drag themselves home at 11:00 in the morning. If you previously observed or patterned a buck you know when and where the best setup is.

T.R. Michels

3 Best Broadheads for Whitetails

Having trouble deciding on a broadhead for whitetail deer? Ten experienced bowhunters told us their go-to broadheads, and we compiled the results.

By Adam Heggenstaller

August 28, 2014

Today it seems there are nearly as many broadhead designs as bullet types, and manufacturers introduce dozens of new ones each year. And just like bullets, every hunter has a favorite. With that in mind, I asked 10 bowhunters with an average of 19 years of experience to pick their go-to broadheads for whitetail deer. Surprisingly, there was considerable overlap in the choices. Those three broadheads made the cut below (plus two more based on their record of success in the field). It’s hard to argue with proven performance, but I’m sure you’ll have fun trying.

  1. New Archery Products Thunderhead 100

The three-blade, 100-grain Thunderhead was on the list of five of the hunters I polled, making it the most popular in my less-than-scientific survey. New Archery Products (NAP) says the micro-grooved ferrule increases accuracy, and several hunters who listed the Thunderhead among their favorites confirmed its accurate in-flight performance. Couple accuracy with super-sharp blades that result in a 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter, and you have the recipe for short, heavy bloodtrails. MSRP: $39.99 per 5

thunderhead_best_broadheads_12. Muzzy 100-Grain 3-Blade


Muzzy’s well-known “Bad to the Bone” reputation largely comes from the three-sided, hardened-steel Trocar tip the company puts on its broadheads. It’s designed to blast through bone for deep penetration (important for quartering shots on even lightly built game like whitetails) and mechanically locks the .020-inch-thick blades to the aluminum ferrule. The 100-grain, 3-blade version has a 1 3/16-inch cutting diameter and has been my top broadhead for almost two decades. With a properly-tuned bow, I’ve always found it flies true. Three other hunters in the poll had it on their lists, too, for the same reasons. MSRP: $39.95 per 6


  1. Rage 2-Blade

Some bowhunters are reluctant to try mechanical broadheads, but those who settle on Rage rarely go back to fixed-blade designs. Such was the case with two of the hunters I polled, who trust the company’s SlipCam blade-deployment system and love the broadhead’s field-point-like accuracy. On top of that, the 100-grain, two-blade version offers a wide cutting diameter of more than 2 inches when fully deployed on impact. The only downside seems to be cost. MSRP: $44.99 per 3


Honorable Mention: New Archery Products KillZone 100-Grain

Two-blade mechanical with spring-clip design that doesn’t require O-rings or rubber bands for blade retention in flight. Two-inch cutting diameter; available with a cut-on-contact tip or a pyramid-shaped Trophy Tip. MSRP: $39.99 per 3

Honorable Mention: G5 Outdoors Striker 100-Grain

Three fixed, .030-inch-thick blades offer a 1 1/8-inch cutting diameter and lock inside a solid-steel ferrule for toughness. Edges of triangular-shaped tip align with blades to provide performance similar to cut-on-contact broadheads. MSRP: $42.99 per 3

Source: 3 Best Broadheads for Whitetails – American Hunter.

Its all about the Decoy

img_3823Once rut really starts going in your neck of the woods, you are missing out on several opportunities at large bucks if you are not using a decoy. Leading up to the rut, a buck decoy is the best option. However, once the seek and chase phase sets in, a doe decoy properly set up in front of your stand can bring them running right to you.

If there is one thing I know how to mess up, it’s just about anything that has to do with deer hunting. I’ve learned everything I’ve ever known by doing it wrong the first five or six times before I finally figured it out. The same holds true with using a doe decoy. For starters, never place a doe decoy directly in front of your stand. I can’t tell you how many bucks I’ve scared away by my own movement trying to get to my bow with the buck in so close it see’s me with it peripherals. Well, actually I can tell you; it has happened five or six times. From experience, the best place I’ve found for the proper spot is about thirty yards at an angle from my forward facing position. Never place the decoy downwind. You will get busted every time. Read more

Hunting the Hunters

deerhidesCome deer season in my neck of the woods it seems almost every patch of land has a hunter eagerly waiting for his or her chance at a buck of a lifetime. Opening morning sounds like a gun fire bonanza as soon as light breaks the horizon. This gunfire doesn’t typically stop until hunters leave their stands about 10:30am only to return to the action a few hours later for the evening hunt. Large fields and patchy woods allow for mile long views of open fields as deer are easily visible running from woods to woods as hunters make their entries and exits. Deer are the smartest-dumbest animals that exist in North America, in my opinion, and they figure this pattern out pretty quickly. If you hunt this pattern as well when deer season is in full swing, you will shift your chances back in your favor dramatically.

One of the most effective deer hunters that I know sleeps in on opening morning. All during bow season, he is out in his stand hours before sun up and he won’t come back in until well after the sun has gone down. However when shotgun season comes in, he stays right in bed when the masses get up and head to the woods. Instead, he makes a nice breakfast, drinks some coffee, watches a little TV, then heads to the woods about 10:00am. He does this because that is about an hour before most weekend hunters leave their stands to get lunch or take a break from the cold. He then hunts right up until about 3:30pm. coincidentally, this is the time that most of those same hunters are back in their stands and set up ready for the evening. This same hunter is also the guy that shows off pictures of the biggest bucks that most weekend hunters never get the chance to see. Read more

Cover Sprays vs Playing the Wind

coversprayJust this past weekend my whole theory on cover sprays was really put to the test. I’ve always believed in their effectiveness to slow down the ability of a deer to detect a hunter in the woods but yet every time a deer strolled downwind of my location, I was busted long before I could ever get a shot. As far back as I can remember, every trip to the woods started by spraying myself like there was no tomorrow. At the same time, I rarely remember a deer not detecting me once it strolled directly downwind of my location despite whatever advertising the bottle might say. This is what brought me to my cover spray dilemma.

While on the way to my one of my hunting locations this past Saturday afternoon, I stopped off on the side of the road to chat with another hunter that leases a property right next to mine. I see his truck every year with the same Ohio plates pulled off on the side of the road in the same spot all throughout bow season. We normally hold a ten minute conversation when we get the chance just to compare notes and talk about near misses or any large bucks we might have seen. As we talked, I watched him get ready from start to finish. He then locked his truck up and shook my hand and wished me luck as I did the same for him. At that point I couldn’t help but notice he didn’t put on any cover spray. None. His camo was just thrown in the back of his truck as well. No plastic bag or air proof container either. His camo probably smelled like whatever microwave burrito he probably ate from the local gas station for lunch too. I had to ask him about a cover spray and he just laughed at me. I knew by all his cell phone photos that he always shows me that he takes a lot of big deer. So then how could this man do that without using such a staple in the hunting industry as cover spray? “I play the wind” he said. “It’s all about being down wind of the deer”.


Read More of this article at Stream To Pond

There’s a First Time for Everything

treestandThe second Saturday of November is a sacred holiday for many outdoorsman across the Midwest, especially Indiana. Would-be deer hunters take to their tree stands with shotguns and muzzleloaders before the sun even thinks about rising in droves that would make the toughest Roman army give pause.  They park their trucks and cars and walk in quiet stalk to tree stands, blinds, fence lines, and any other “deer-y” looking spots that have been scouted countless hours before that pivotal day. Remarkably, amidst all the confusion, gunfire, blaze orange, and gravity they all make it home safe. Well…almost.

It seems ever year during this time, a story passes from gas station coffee pot to the outdoor store check-out line that makes every one who hears it say “That will never happen to me”. This story, of course, is about somebody falling out of their tree stand and either dying or becoming paralyzed for the rest of their lives. A story such as this has already passed through the hunting community a few weeks ago. If you are not familiar with what I’m talking about, an Indiana bow hunter fell out of his stand and was paralyzed by the force of the fall. His family elected to wake him up in the hospital to ask him if he wanted to live the rest of his life paralyzed and on a ventilator. He declined, and at his own discretion, his ventilator was unplugged. Read more