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Whitetail Hunting Simple Strategies for Success

By: Monte Perron

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012 W2 H03456 #75 829, 4t was three o:cloc! and 4 had not seen one deer. 4 elie;ed 4 had selected a good spot. 9here were deer trac!s e;erywhere and 4 could see for miles in e;ery direction. 4 got there well efore daylight and managed not to stomp around too much. 9he wind was almost right and it couldn:t ma!e that much difference anyway <Ha/ Ha/=. 0 couple more hours passed and 4 egan to get an>ious elie;ing that soon 4 would e har;esting my first deer of the season. 4t was either se> day and at this point 4 was not eing ;ery pic!y. ?ar!ness came and my frustration turned into anger. 4t was the end of the first wee! in ?ecem er and 4 had not filled a tag yet. Since the second Monday in Septem er 4 had spent day after day in the woods ecoming more and more frustrated. 9his was my fourteenth year of deer hunting and 4 had only ta!en four deer <two uc!s and two does=. 9hey say that a lind hog will find an acorn e;ery now and then@ and at this point 4 felt li!e a lind hog. 0fter filling a tag and getting hoo!ed on whitetail hunting my second day in the woods@ 4 had gone the ne>t ele;en seasons without filling one tag.

9he day 4 Aust descri ed was the last straw. When 4 got home that e;ening 4 told my wife 4 was going to gi;e up deer hunting//// 4 was frustrated/ What frustrated me a out whitetail hunting was that 4 felt li!e 4 did not ha;e any control. 4 elie;ed that since 4 could not control the deer my chances for success were ;ery low. 2;ery article 4 read complicated things and confused me. 2;ery time 4 tal!ed to someone a out deer hunting 4 ecame more confused. 2;ery stand 4 selected was a guessing game. Hunting whitetail deer was a lo;e"hate e>perience for me. 4 lo;ed the woodland e>perience@ ut hated sitting in stand after stand without results. 4 told my wife 4 was going to ta!e up a ho y where 4 wasn:t at the mercy of something with a rain. 9he only thing that !ept me going was a strong lo;e for the outdoors and the eauty of 6od:s creation. 9his lo;e increased my frustration ecause 4 also wanted to e>perience some success. 4f you can relate to my pre;ious frustration then this writing will e a tremendous aid to you. 4n the ne>t few pages 4 am going to ta!e you through the thought processes and techniBues that helped me to o;ercome the frustration and start e>periencing the whitetail hunting success that 4 stri;ed for. Since the day that 4 descri ed in the first paragraph@ 4 ha;e filled as many tags as 4 ha;e wanted to and ha;e ecome !nown among my peers as a successful deer hunter. 9he good news is that you can do the same things that 4 ha;e@ and this oo! will teach you how. 8ou will learn how to scout and select deer stands with confidence. 8ou will learn how to go

to a totally unfamiliar piece of property and har;est deer in a short period of time. 9hese are the type things that 4 do and you will e a le to also. 9715 9H2 45#O1M094O5 459O C5OWD2?62 4nformation@ according to the dictionary@ is the reception of intelligence. 4nformation a out deer hunting is readily a;aila le for those who will see! it. ?uring my years of frustration 4 was a sponge for information. 9he challenge was that 4 a sor ed so much information that it ecame confusing to me. My first season of deer hunting 4 lundered through the dar! 5orth Earolina mountain wilderness and leaned against a tree as soon as 4 heard a cree! running. 9he wind was lowing a out +* miles per hour@ the temperature was a out fi;e degrees a o;e Fero@ and 4 was a out to freeFe ecause my clothing was insufficient. 9wo hours into the hunt a spi!e uc! wal!ed within *' yards of me and 4 filled my first tag. 9hat was it/ 4 didn:t do any scouting. 4 didn:t do any practicing with my weapon. 4 didn:t e;en !now how to field dress my priFe uc!. 4 was dum as a red ric! when it came to deer hunting@ ut 4 was successful@ and 4 was hoo!ed/ 9he ne>t ele;en years were a totally different story. 4t seemed the more 4 read and heard a out whitetail deer the more confused 4 ecame. 2;ery ody was an e>pert to me and 4 tried e;erything 4 heard. 4f a person had told me to hang from a tree with a wash tu and eat out the tune to GOle SuFannaH 4 would ha;e tried it

at least once. 0ll right@ may e 4 am stretching it a little@ ut 4 was recei;ing a lot of inaccurate information. 4 was in a position where 4 couldn:t sort out the good info from the ad. Many times 4 would tell my hunting partners that the more 4 hunted the more confused 4 ecame. 4t too! me fourteen years to get through that stage@ ut this writing can condense that time frame for you. 9he title of this segment refers to the difference etween information and !nowledge. 4nformation@ as 4 pre;iously stated@ is the reception of intelligence. 9his is the definition according to We ster:s dictionary. 4n my opinion@ the !ey word is intelligence. 4 listened to the wrong people for years. Because 4 was getting ad information it ecame difficult for me to differentiate etween good information and ad. 9his was the root of my confusion. 9he way 4 o;ercame that situation was ;ery simple. 4 egan listening to people who were consistently successful. My hunting e>periences ecame producti;e when 4 started listening to people with Gthe fruit on the tree.H 4 solicited the assistance of a pro;en whitetail hunter. He ecame my mentor and 4 hung on e;ery word he said. His name was 1ichard #o> and he had forgotten more a out deer and deer hunting than most people will e;er !now. When 4 started listening to him he had gone past the tag filling stage and his trophy room spo!e for itself. 4 am grateful that he cared enough to coach me and help me o;ercome my state of confusion. Cnowledge y dictionary definition is the condition of !nowing something with the

familiarity gained through e>perience. My mentor ga;e me ;alua le information that 4 applied in the woods and the e>perience it pro;ided ga;e me !nowledge. 9hat !nowledge ecame my possession@ and 4 used it to ecome a successful outdoorsman and hunter. 4n the ne>t few pages 4 would li!e for you to honor me with the opportunity to e your mentor. 9he rest of this oo!let will e filled with the information that 4 was gi;en as well as the !nowledge that 4 ha;e acBuired from years in the whitetail woods. WH09 ?4? H2 S08, 9he first thing my mentor did was help me start enAoying the time 4 spent in the woods. 0fter all@ it is supposed to e recreational. He accomplished this y helping me to identify my pro lem and prescri ing the correct solution. My iggest challenge was that 4 was not seeing deer@ and they are really hard to har;est if you don:t see them. 9he ad;ice he ga;e me was ;ery simple ut Buite effecti;e. He simply told me to Buit sitting in stands and start stal!ing slowly through the woods with the wind in my face. 9he results 4 had were phenomenal/ My first two days of hunting this way 4 saw ten different deer. 4 did not har;est a deer in those two days@ ut 4 was encouraged. 4 spent the ne>t two hunting seasons slipping through the woods with the wind in my face and egan to learn a out whitetail. 9he ad;ice that 4 recei;ed from my mentor was e>ceptional for many reasons. #irst of all@ the e>citement of seeing game ended my frustration and encouraged me to !eep spending

time in the woods. 9his@ in turn@ put me in a position where 4 could turn information into !nowledge. 4 egan to understand my prey. 9his was e>citing. When !nowledge de;eloped into understanding 4 egan to enAoy the whitetail e>perience. 4 still use the hunting method he taught with good success@ ut the most important thing this method did was put me in situations where 4 could learn.

WH492904D $'$ 7nderstanding the asic ha its of the whitetail will lay the groundwor! for learning how to successfully har;est them. 4 am not a wildlife iologist so my e>planations will pro a ly seem ;ery simple. 4n my opinion@ !eeping things simple at this point is more important than my lac! of formal scientific education. 9he good news is that !eeping it simple has wor!ed for me as it will for you. Whitetail deer do se;eral things in the course of a day that will ma!e them mo;e through the woods. 9he predicta ility of these daily functions gi;es us an important edge. 9he most important of these routine functions is feeding@ edding@ and reeding acti;ity. 4 include reeding acti;ity here ecause it is an important part of the whitetail:s daily rituals during the autumn when most of us are hunting. 4 am going to concentrate on feeding and edding initially and co;er reeding acti;ity later.

9H28 ?O 49 23218 ?08/ 4n my opinion@ understanding feeding and edding acti;ity is the second most important thing a whitetail hunter can master. 4 will re;eal the most important thing later. 9he reason 4 consider these acti;ities so important is ecause whitetail deer #22? 05? B2? 23218 ?08/ 8ou cannot get any more predicta le than e;ery day/// Breeding acti;ity is important@ ut it does not necessarily occur e;ery day. 9he predicta ility of feeding and edding is why 4 rate it higher in importance than rutting acti;ity. 0 hunter who understands the significance of these two functions ecomes moti;ated to ecome !nowledgea le a out the whitetail:s fa;orite foods and edding areas. Mastering this aspect of deer eha;ior is the foundation for ecoming a proficient hunter. We will loo! at edding ha its first and then tie it in to feeding acti;ity.

4n order to understand edding ha its you must allow yourself to thin! li!e a deer. 4f you were a deer what would your top priority e for selecting a site to sleep, 4f your answer was security then we agree on the whitetail:s chief edding concern. 9hin! a out it@ all you want is to get a little rest and !eep your hide in tact while doing so. My point here is that this thought process narrows down your possi le edding locations. 8ou want a place that will !eep you hidden while ma!ing it e>tremely difficult for a predator to get close enough to

ma!e you apart of today:s menu. 9his is why whitetails select areas with dense ;egetation to e in. 9hat is why they ed in areas such as cuto;ers@ pine thic!ets@ laid"o;er fields@ and utility right of ways. 9hese areas offer concealment and warning of potential predators. Hiding is possi le ecause of the dense ;egetation@ and warning is made possi le ecause it is difficult for predators <humans= to approach Buietly. Cnowing what type areas deer will use for edding is a tremendously important piece of the hunting puFFle. 0s a testimonial@ my personal e>perience has shown that deer will predicta ly ed in the thic!est areas they can find. Whitetails will ed in other types of woods@ ut the thic!est areas are a real safe et. When you go to a new hunting area the first thing you need to do is find the edding areas: cuto;ers@ pine thic!ets@ laid"o;er fields@ etc. 9his information is the groundwor! for de;eloping a hunting strategy. 9H2 W08 9O 0 ?221:S H2019 4S 9H1O76H 49S S9OM0EH 9he ne>t step is determining potential feeding areas. 9his reBuires some !nowledge of preferred whitetail foods. Whitetails are a lot li!e goats ecause they will eat almost anything. When food is scarce they eat things with little real food ;alue as filler. 7nli!e us humans they are tremendously attracted to foods that pro;ide great nutritional ;alue. Ieroing in on the whitetails: fa;orite foods that are a;aila le

during hunting season will gi;e us ;ital information for selecting good stand locations. 4 mentioned the whitetail:s similarity to goats to ma!e you aware that they eat a road spectrum of ;egetation. 9he important thing for us as hunters is to ecome familiar with their fa;orite foods. When 4 refer to fa;orite foods 4 mean foods that deer will tra;el some distance to get to. 9he word fa;orite also descri es foods that deer will go to e;en when other foods are a;aila le. Whitetails prefer certain foods o;er others@ and they gi;e these foods priority when they are a;aila le. 4n order to successfully har;est deer we need to !now which foods they li!e the est. 0ny discussion of whitetail foods would e incomplete without including acorns. 2>perience has shown me that deer ran! acorns ;ery high on their preferred foods list. 4 ha;e personally witnessed deer running to get to acorns and feed. White oa! acorns are the most preferred type of mast food@ with chestnut oa!s and willow oa!s running a close second. 9he word mast is a term commonly used to refer to the fruit of woodland ;egetation such as acorns@ grapes@ and eechnuts. 9he other types of acorns are also preferred foods ut usually ha;e to lie on the ground for a while efore deer will eat them. 9hese acorns ha;e high Buantities of tannic acid that needs to leach out efore deer really li!e them. 4t is e>tremely important that you learn which oa! trees are nati;e to your hunting region and learn how to identify them. White oa!s@ if nati;e to your area@ should e your top priority. 4 hunt in the south where white oa!s are

pre;alent and pro;ide e>cellent opportunities for attracting whitetails. 0 successful hunter also needs to understand mast production. 0corn production is influenced y temperature@ water a;aila ility@ and soil conditions. White oa! trees generally ha;e good acorn crops e;ery other year@ ut this is Aust a generaliFation that should prompt you to personally inspect the acorn crop in your hunting area. White oa! acorns usually egin to appear on the trees etween late July and late 0ugust. 4nspecting the trees in your area with inoculars is a good idea. 4t is necessary to inspect the trees in the woodlots you will actually e hunting in@ not Aust the ones in your neigh or:s ac! yard. 8our neigh or:s yard is influenced y the addition of things li!e fertiliFer and water. My ne>t"door neigh or has white oa! trees that produce large amounts of acorns e;ery year e;en when the acorn crop is low in near y hunting areas. 9his situation confused me for a while until 4 realiFed that trees in residential areas are not good indicators of woodland mast crops. 9a!e this ad;ice and a;oid the mista!e 4 made. 4n summary@ loo! for white oa! acorns first and switch to the others when they are not a;aila le. 9his is e>actly what the deer will do. #ood a;aila ility ;aries with the time of year@ and has a ig impact on deer mo;ement. 0corns are a;aila le during the early fall when most states open archery seasons. 0s acorns diminish deer egin to depend on other food sources such as freshly com ined corn and soy eans. 4n late hunting season deer will usually spend most of their time feeding on green food sources such as

honeysuc!le@ clo;er@ and wheat. Hunting strategies should adAust according to the time of year and food a;aila ility. #or e>ample@ early season stands should e located with acorns in mindK mid season stands near com ined crop fieldsK and late season stands around honeysuc!le thic!ets and green fields. 4 !now this sounds simple ut it wor!s. By the way@ the heart is a small target area. ut effecti;e

WH09 4S 0 #7552D 058W08, #unnels y my definition are land features that cause deer to mo;e through a narrow area. When 4 started owhunting 4 realiFed the importance of identifying funnels. Most deer that 4 ha;e ta!en with a ow were less than $* yards away. Hunting funnels allowed me to get that close. #unnels can e confusing until you understand them. 9hin!ing of them li!e a gate in a pasture fence may help you understand them. When a farmer wants to mo;e his cows from one pasture to another he directs them toward the gate. 9he cows are GfunneledH through the path of least resistance and that is what a funnel is. 4dentifying funnels in the woods ta!es effort ut can e accomplished with practice. 9he important thing is to thin! in terms of paths of least resistance and attraction. #or e>ample@ a rea! in a fence is a good funnel ecause it is the path of least resistance. 0ny deer could Aump o;er it@ ut most won:t e>ert themsel;es

when it is not necessary. 0 food source@ li!e white oa! acorns@ is an attractant that funnels deer to a particular location. 4 intend to list some potential funnels to help you@ ut it is more important for you to grasp the concept of funnels. Just !eep loo!ing for the edding areas@ food sources@ and paths of least resistance from one to the other. 4 ha;e mentioned fence rea!s a couple of times in this section ecause it was fence rea!s that helped me start understanding funnels. Besides eing good teaching e>amples they are great stand locations. O;er the last few seasons 4 ha;e had se;eral ow shots at two different fence rea!s. 4n oth cases 4 disco;ered old fences and cut the fences to create a funnel. One of the two spots was at an old home place that had white oa! trees with lots of acorns. 4 located this spot during a season when white oa! production was ;ery low. When 4 found it the acorns had not yet egun to fall@ ut 4 could see them hanging in the trees. 4 cut a rea! in the old fence and did not return for three wee!s. When 4 came ac! 4 found a well worn path through my man made funnel with acorns and deer sign e;erywhere. 9hat afternoon 4 har;ested a doe at $L yards. 4t was e>citing/ 4n oth cases 4 cut old fences that were ser;ing no purpose. Please do not cut good fences. Other e>amples of funnels are cree!s@ ri;ers@ woodlots etween har;ested tim er@ and natural land depressions. 4n most cases deer use cree!s and ri;ers as tra;el corridors. 9heir paths are usually distinct in these areas. 0lso@ it is usually a good idea to wal! along cree!s to pinpoint

areas where deer cross. Once located as! yourself why they cross at that particular spot. 9he answer will usually point to some type of funnel. Whene;er you scout around crop fields pay close attention to the corners ecause you will usually find a trail of entry at that point. MaAor la!es are usually surrounded y pu lic hunting lands. Da!e co;es usually create some funnel acti;ity. 9he secret is to thin! in terms of large land masses. #or e>ample@ if a thic! edding area is located on one side of the co;e then loo! for food sources on the other side. 9he shortest land distances will e at the point of the co;e and this represents a funnel. 0lso@ whene;er two distinct types of tim er meet@ trails will usually e found running parallel to the two types of timer. 0 perfect e>ample can e found at the edges of cuto;ers. Old logging paths and sur;ey paths are also good funnels. 8ou can create funnels in cuto;ers y cutting trails which create paths of least resistance. 9his is something that should e done long efore you intend to hunt these areas. 8ou should e e>tremely careful not to cut desired plants li!e planted pines. Cnowing specific e>amples of funnels will e e;en more helpful if you consistently as! yourself why these areas are funnels. 7nderstanding funnels will gi;e you the a ility to pinpoint deer in any loc! of woods. When you ha;e de;eloped this thought process your stand locations will e selected with the confidence necessary to help you patiently wait for that perfect shot.

W45? ?412E94O5 05? 9H2 S25S2 O# SM2DD 1emem er my reference to the most important aspect of whitetail hunting. Well@ you guessed it W45? ?412E94O5 05? 9H2 WH492904D:S S25S2 O# SM2DD. 4 ha;e used capitals and old print here for emphasis@ ut 4 am sure that it is still not enough. 4 could put ill oards on e;ery interstate highway@ uy airtime on e;ery maAor tele;ision networ!@ and roadcast it o;er the emergency roadcast system and some people would still o;erloo! this aspect of hunting. 5e;ertheless@ it is still the most important consideration a whitetail hunter ma!es. When a person tells me they are not seeing deer while they are hunting 4 immediately as! if they are selecting stands according to the winds. Please ta!e this ;ery seriously. Whitetails depend on their noses more than any other sense. When 4 egan slipping through the woods 4 learned this lesson o;er and o;er. 4 ha;e watched deer wal! into my downwind scent trail and olt as if 4 had shot at them. 9hey do not second guess their noses. 2>perience has taught me that deer detect danger through three separate senses: hearing@ ;ision@ and smell. 9he sense of smell is the only one that a deer will depend on without confirmation from the other two. #or e>ample@ 4 ha;e had deer hear me and not spoo! until they saw my mo;ement. 0lso@ 4 ha;e had deer see me and not run until they heard me ma!e an unfamiliar sound. But@ 4 ha;e seldom seen a deer that did not run for co;er when it smelled me. 4n summary@ a deer may see you and not runK or hear you and not runK ut if it smells you that white tail will loo! ;ery large as

it lea;es the area. 1emem er the frustration 4 descri ed in the initial pages of this oo! a out not ha;ing any control. 9his is one area that you can control@ and doing so will put you in a position to e successful. Of course you can:t control the wind@ ut you can control how much consideration you gi;e wind direction in selecting stand locations. 4 ne;er select a stand site without chec!ing the pre;ailing wind direction from the local forecast. Some attention should e gi;en to the use of co;er scents@ odor eliminators@ and cleanliness. Eo;er scents should e something that is common to the area that you hunt in. Eoon and fo> urine are effecti;e in most areas ecause oth animals are nati;e to many hunting areas. 4 seldom use a co;er scent unless 4 am hunting on the ground. 9he use of odor eliminators is something that 4 highly recommend. Eleanliness is e>tremely important in scent control and can e tremendously enhanced y using an unscented soap and unscented deodorant. 0ll of the things mentioned in this paragraph are important@ ut they are not a replacement for putting the wind in your fa;or. 8ou can use all the techniBues outlined here with the wrong wind and deer will figure you out )'M of the time. 4 elie;e that a person can do e;erything right and still Gstin!H li!e a human y the time he reaches his stand. 9hat is why he needs to put the wind in his fa;or e;ery time. 9here is a lot of information to consider on this topic@ and 4 am lea;ing a lot out to !eep things simple. 9he truth is that if you only master the art of !eeping the wind in your fa;or and lea;e out the other

techniBues you will ha;e an e>ponentially greater chance for success than if you do the re;erse. While you are mastering this area !eep the wind in your face and you can:t go wrong. 9here are se;eral techniBues to increase wind awareness. Whene;er 4 am scouting 4 always wear a compass to determine which wind directions would e fa;ora le for each stand. 0 piece of white thread tied to each of my weapons !eeps me constantly aware of the wind direction. 0lso@ 4 carry a ottle of powder wind chec!er. 4 really hope that 4 made you understand the importance of wind direction in deer hunting. 9he e>tra effort that you e>ert to ta!e ad;antage of the wind direction will pay great di;idends in the whitetail woods. 8ou can separate yourself from a lot of other hunters y paying close attention to the wind@ and paying the price to put it in your fa;or. 4n my opinion@ W45? ?412E94O5 05? 9H2 S25S2 O# SM2DD is the MOS9 important consideration in successful stand selection. B2??456@ #22?456@ #7552DS@ 05? S905? S2DE2E94O5 5ow let:s ta!e what we:;e learned so far and go hunting. 4magine that you ha;e Aust Aoined a new hunting clu and the land is totally unfamiliar to you. 8ou want to start selecting stand locations. What are you going to do first, 1emem er the section on edding areas, 9hat is where 4 li!e to start. Most people egin scouting y stomping

through the woods loo!ing for Gdeer sign.H 9hat has wor!ed for a lot of people@ ut 4 li!e to use a different approach. 4 egin y gathering as much information as possi le from a distance. 9his can e accomplished with topo maps@ o ser;ation from roadways@ and as!ing locals who are familiar with the area. 9opographical maps are tremendous scouting tools. 0 lot of print has een de;oted to this su Aect. 9he frustrating thing for most hunters is that they do not !now what to loo! for on a topo map. Ceeping things simple is a good approach. 9opo maps do not ha;e ig N:s on them with signs that read Ghunt here.H 9hey do@ howe;er@ ha;e important info a out cree! and ri;er ottoms@ field locations@ and ele;ation changes. 9his info is an e>cellent starting point. #or e>ample@ cree!s and ele;ation changes can indicate potential funnels. #ields can either e food sources or edding areas depending on their growth stage. 9his is all information that pro;ides a super starting point. Many times significant info can e gathered y o ser;ing an area from a long distance. 4 ha;e selected many successful stands from roadways near my hunting areas. Dast year 4 too! one uc! and watched a friend har;est his ;ery first deer from stand sites 4 had located from the road. 9he uc! was ta!en with a ow in a feeding area. My friend got his deer@ a legal doe@ in a cuto;er that was eing used as a edding area. On oth occasions 4 had not een in the area at all efore these successful hunts. 4n order to teach you my thought processes 4 am going to ela orate on each hunt. 9he archery

stand was located a out $'' yards from a soy ean field. 4 selected this spot ecause 4 had o ser;ed three uc!s feeding in the soy ean field a out fi;e wee!s prior. 9he hunt too! place in late Septem er and 4 wasn:t interested in the soy eans. 4nstead@ 4 was interested in the acorns that 4 was sure the deer had found on their Aourneys to the ean field. 4t was a hunch that paid off. 4 too! the deer at eight yards. 9he second deer was ta!en one morning in the corner of a cuto;er where si> deer were going to ed down after their nighttime feed. 4t was late in the season and this particular cuto;er was located within +*' yards of an alfalfa field that 4 !new the deer were feeding in at that time. 9he time of day that one hunts is an important factor in stand placement. Since deer do much of their feeding at night and ed during the day@ we need to factor this into our stand selection process. 4n general@ morning stands should e located at funnels that are close to edding areas. On the other hand@ afternoon stands should e positioned in funnels that pro;ide opportunities to am ush deer going to a fa;orite feeding area. 9he first deer to come to the feeding area will usually e does and fawns@ followed y younger uc!s@ and finally y more mature uc!s. 9he type animal you wish to har;est will determine your afternoon stand placement. When you want to ta!e a doe or smaller uc! you can place your stand in close pro>imity to the feeding area. Should your goal e to har;est a mature uc! then your stand should e placed on a trail that is located farther from the feeding area ut not close enough to the edding area to alarm the animal. 4n this

situation@ wind direction should e from the suspected deer approach < edding area= area to the feeding area. Many times you can determine a mature uc!:s trail to feed y ru s that he lea;es on trees. Buc!s will ru these trees while they wait for the security of dar!ness to enter a particular feeding area. 9hese are sometimes called staging areas and are common on the edges of fields. 6ood morning stands can e a little more difficult to pinpoint depending on the siFe of the edding area. 1ifle hunters can ha;e good success y locating themsel;es in a tree or ground lind Aust inside an identified edding area. #or e>ample@ if your hunting area has a young cuto;er or a power line right"of"way on it then a stand located to intercept deer coming from feeding areas should produce many deer sightings. Bow hunters@ on the other hand@ must identify funnels that lead into edding areas in order to get close enough. Dand depressions@ cree! ottoms@ fence rea!s@ sur;ey paths@ and logging roads that lead into or through thic! areas are good funnels. 9rees in cree! ottoms are usually not cut down when trees are har;ested. 9hese areas are usually good stand locations. 0lways remem er to consider pre;ailing winds when selecting stand sites. 7tility right"of"ways and young cuto;ers are good places to hunt when they are grown up enough for deer to feel comforta le in@ ut not so high that they cannot e seen. 9he great thing a out utility right"of"ways is that they are usually maintained y periodic mowing. 9his mowing creates a cycle of changing use patterns

that can e utiliFed y the informed hunter. 4nitially@ deer will use the freshly mowed area as a feeding area ecause of the new growth. 0s the ;egetation grows@ the right"of"way will change from a feeding to a edding area. Some areas will continue to e used as feeding areas@ particularly in late season as foods ecome scarce. 9hese areas can e identified y the lac! of high growth and the presence of preferred foods such as honeysuc!le. One power line that 4 hunt has se;eral areas that ne;er grow ;ery tall e;en though they are not mowed ut once e;ery three years. 0fter years of wal!ing past these spots 4 as!ed myself why they remained low while the rest of the power line had grown to heights that were taller than si> feet. My only conclusion was that the deer had !ept the growth eaten ac!. 9o confirm this theory 4 started hunting these areas predominantly in the e;ening and my theory pro;ed to e true. 4 ha;e ta!en many deer in these areas@ particularly in late season when honeysuc!le ecomes a preferred food. 1ight"of"ways ecome edding areas when they are allowed to grow into thic!ets. 4dentifying food sources around them can pro;ide e>cellent stand locations for oth morning and e;ening hunting. Once you ha;e identified a maAor food source then your strategy should e to place yourself in a funnel to intercept deer tra;eling etween the two. 7se caution when approaching a stand to a;oid spoo!ing deer in route. #or e>ample@ when approaching a morning stand located near a edding funnel@ do not wal! through the maAor feeding area. 9he re;erse is also true when

hunting an afternoon feeding area. 0lso@ pic! routes that !eep the wind lowing from the deer to you. WH09 0BO79 9H2 179, 5o deer hunting discussion would e complete without co;ering reeding acti;ity. Most whitetail hunting seasons coincide with the reeding or rut period@ therefore understanding the acti;ity that is triggered y the rut is ;ery important. ?uring summer months whitetail uc!s usually tra;el in small achelor groups of two or more. 4t is Buite common to see se;eral uc!s feeding in crop fields during late summer e;enings@ and it is smart to spend summer e;enings tra;eling on rural roads locating achelor groups of uc!s that you may want to hunt during the upcoming season. Howe;er@ when the season arri;es do not e>pect to see these uc!s tra;eling together in small groups. 0s days shorten and the ;el;et comes off their antlers@ uc!s ecome ready to reed and their tolerance of one another ecomes ;ery low. Buc!s are physically ready to reed at this time and would reed a recepti;e doe as soon as their ;el;et is gone. 9his is the period that many descri e as the pre"rut. 4t would e more accurately descri ed as the pre"estrous ecause the does are not ready to reed yet. When mild weather coincides with this time frame it is not uncommon for hunters to claim that the uc!s are not in rut yet. 9his is a fallacious remar! ecause the uc!s are ready to reed as soon as their ;el;et is gone. Photo"sensiti;ity is the iological response to light@ and a uc! responds

to the shortening of fall days with an increase in testosterone that causes antlers to lose their ;el;et and the reeding urge to egin. ?uring pre"estrous@ uc!s spend much of their time ma!ing scrapes and ru s. Det:s tal! a out scrapes first. Because there are few does ready to reed@ uc!s will ma!e and ;isit scrapes regularly at this time. Buc!s will ;isit scrapes hoping that a doe will come y and e ready to reed. 1u s@ on the other hand@ are caused y fighting practice. Buc!s instincti;ely !now that they may ha;e to fight for the opportunity to reed so nature prompts them to strengthen their fighting muscles y pushing against trees with their antlers. 9his acti;ity strengthens their nec! muscles which e>plains the large nec!s displayed y uc!s har;ested during the rut. 0s does come into estrous@ deer mo;ement and acti;ity increases. Buc!s egin to chase does as part of the mating ritual. Once a uc! has located a doe on the ;erge of estrous he will follow her until she is willing to stand and e red. When the doe is red and goes out of estrous the uc! will e on the mo;e to locate another doe ready to reed. 9his period is often called the pea! of the rut@ ut it is really the pea! of the doe estrous cycle. 9he pea! of the estrous is when the highest num ers of does are ready to e red. 0s a result@ deer can e seen mo;ing at all times of the day. Buc!s will lose interest in scrapes at this time ecause they are usy chasing recepti;e does. 0fter the pea! of estrous@ e>hausted uc!s will egin to slow down some to restore lost fat reser;es and energy lost during the rigorous

reeding frenFy. Howe;er@ the urge to reed does not disappear and interest in scrapes returns ecause some does still remain to e red. 9his is sometimes called the secondary rut. Biologists in your area can tell you when the pea! of the estrous is and you can e>pect another pea! reeding time to occur a out %' days later. 9his cycle of reeding and tending scrapes will continue until the uc!s lose their antlers. 9he pea! of estrous is in mid"5o;em er in my area@ ut many first"year does are red in January and #e ruary during their first estrous cycle. 9H2 179 #0E9O1 5ow that we ha;e some !nowledge of reeding acti;ity let:s see how we can use it to increase our hunting success. 4n many ways a whitetail uc! is doing the same thing that we are during the season loo!ing for deer. 9he only difference is that he is only loo!ing for does. Ceeping this in mind@ let:s e>amine how this information can help us get close to a whitetail uc!. ?uring the pre"estrous the uc!s are ma!ing scrapes to attract does@ ut what are those does doing, 4f you said feeding@ edding@ and tra;eling etween the two you would ha;e een e>actly right. With this in mind@ where do you thin! uc!s would e li!ely to ma!e their scrapes, 9hey will put their scrapes in the tra;el corridors etween edding and feeding areas. 4t Aust ma!es sense that they would locate their scrapes in high traffic areas in order to ha;e the greatest e>posure to potential mates. 5ow the importance of !nowing and locating fa;orite deer

foods and edding areas ta!es on e;en greater significance. When you locate the funnels etween edding and feeding areas you also locate the highest num er of does. Docating the does will lead you to the highest num er of uc!s during the pre"estrous and post"estrous periods. My personal hunting strategy has een to hunt the funnels etween edding and feeding areas in the early ow season. While 4 am in these areas 4 am constantly loo!ing for scrapes and ru s. Once 4 ha;e located an acti;e scrape during the pre"estrous 4 will hunt it when the wind is right. Scrape stands should e placed on the downwind side ecause uc!s will often scent chec! from the downwind side. 4 do not hunt a scrape e>cessi;ely so 4 will not cause the uc! using it to change his mo;ement pattern. 4 will !eep hunting different edding and feeding funnels until 4 ha;e located se;eral different scrapes in different areas. Once 4 ha;e located se;eral@ 4 will rotate from one to the other eing careful not to put too much pressure on one spot. Once the estrous is in full swing 4 do e>actly what the uc!s are doing H759 9H2 ?O2S/// ?uring the early season 4 usually identify se;eral different areas that a lot of does are using. 9hese are the areas that 4 hunt during the pea! of estrous. 0lso@ 4 spend a lot of time in the woods at this time ecause uc!s are particularly ;ulnera le and constantly mo;ing. 9his is the est time to spend all day in the woods. Many good uc!s are !illed in the middle of the day during this time. Se;eral years ago 4

hunted a spot twice in mid" to late"Octo er and saw si> does each time 4 hunted it. 9hese sightings prompted me to lea;e this stand alone until the estrous pea!. On 5o;em er Oth 4 returned and the first deer 4 saw was a nice eight"pointer that was standing e>actly where 4 had first seen the does. He had his nose in the air and was trying hard to smell those does. 4t was a fun hunt ecause 4 had formulated a plan that pro;ed to e successful. 0fter the estrous pea! 4 will go ac! to hunting edding areas@ feeding areas@ and scrapes. Why, Because that is where the does and uc!s are. One of my fa;orite late season stands is in the middle of an alfalfa field on a farm 4 ha;e access to. 9here are not suita le trees near y so 4 hunt in the middle of the field with a stic! lind and a porta le stool. 4 ha;e ta!en se;eral deer from this stand and ha;e put many others there with the same results. Dast year 4 placed two different people there and they oth loo!ed at me li!e a cow loo!ing at a new gate. Both hunters shot two different deer each for a total of four. 2ach hunter shot a doe and a good eight"pointerPone of which was ;ery good for our area. 4n each case the doe came out followed y the uc!. 9hey oth ha;e greater faith in my stand selection now//// HOW O#925 SHO7D? 4 H759 0 S905?, One of the most common mista!es hunters ma!e is to put too much pressure on a stand y hunting it too often. 9here are many reasons for this. Some of the reasons include lac! of hunting

area@ unwillingness to ma!e the effort to locate other good stand sites@ ina ility to identify other good stand sites@ and not !nowing that hunting a stand too often will cause a change in tra;el patterns. 0nyone who lac!s hunting acreage can fi> that y finding additional areas to hunt. How, 4 ha;e li;ed in my home area for ten years and 4 ha;e a out O@''' acres to hunt on o;er a doFen pieces of land. 4 got those hunting areas y constantly eing aware of potential opportunities and as!ing a lot of different people for permission. 6uess what, Some people said 5O/ 4n spite of that 4 still !eep as!ing, 9he est way to get permission to hunt is to dress in street clothes when you go to as!. Put yourself in a position to ma!e a good first impression. Doo! li!e some ody lo;es you//// My fa;orite approach is to find someone out in their yard or field. Whene;er 4 see anyone outside of their house 4 stop and as! them a out permission to hunt. Many times they are not the landowner ut they !now who is. 9his is ;alua le information. 4 am ne;er offended y a no. 9hose of us who are married would pro a ly ha;e ne;er een married without ta!ing some no:s. What were we going to do Buit after the first no, 0 solutely not@ and you shouldn:t either. When you get a no Aust as! someone else !nowing that you are getting close to yes. 0lso@ once you ha;e acBuired permission you should ma!e an effort to spend time with the landowner outside of hunting season. Offer to do helpful things and ring them small showings of your appreciation. 9his is what 4 call the courting phase. 4 do it sincerely and it has helped me gain many 6OO? friends.

0lways remem er that you are a guest and act accordingly. Be a good steward of the owner:s property and you will ha;e the est chance of ha;ing a good place to hunt for years to come/ 0nother option for acBuiring land to hunt is to Aoin a hunt clu . Be certain when you find one that you are comforta le with the clu rules and a ide y them to stay in good standing as a mem er. Hunt clu s also pro;ide a great way to gain access to other areas of the country that you may ha;e a desire to hunt. Pu lic lands also pro;ide great hunting opportunities that many people do not ta!e ad;antage of. Many of the hunters that 4 tal! to a out pu lic land are concerned a out safety and hunting pressure. 9hese are legitimate concerns that can e o;ercome with a little creati;ity. 9he simplest way to a;oid others hunters on pu lic land is to do what most are unwilling to do. 0 lot of times you can separate yourself from the masses y wal!ing a little farther@ finding o;erloo!ed areas@ or ta!ing a uniBue approach. #or e>ample@ 4 freBuently hunt on pu lic land that surrounds a near y la!e. 0ll 4 do to a;oid the crowd is use a oat. 4 am certain 4 am not the only one using this tactic@ ut it is effecti;e for one great reason " it ta!es a little e>tra effort@ and that is what separates me from the masses. 4n $' years 4 ha;e umped into two other hunters while approaching a hunting spot. Both times it was my first attempt to hunt those areas. 4 simply got ac! in my oat and went

somewhere else. 9here were thousands of acres a;aila le to me. 9wo of my fa;orite places are effecti;e ecause they are ;ery close to homes or usinesses. 4 thin! they are o;erloo!ed ecause most people elie;e there is too much human acti;ity for the deer to stic! around. Oh contraire@ the deer are right there and 4 am har;esting them in places others are o;erloo!ing. Just eing creati;e has pro;ided me with great opportunities. 0;oid the easy access and you may find pu lic land hunting ;ery enAoya le. 5ow that we ha;e opened up new lands to hunt letQs tal! a out how to a;oid putting too much pressure on a spot. 9here are se;eral ways to accomplish this. 9he first and most o ;ious is to limit your ;isits to once e;ery O $' days. Ma!e sure that you do not hunt when the wind is not in your fa;orK and do e;erything you can to a;oid changing the deerQs normal tra;el routes. #or e>ample@ ma!e sure you approach your stands with fa;ora le wind. 0nother way to minimiFe the pressure on a stand is to !eep a significant distance etween yourself and where you e>pect to see deer. 9his is most effecti;e for rifle hunting and can allow you to hunt consecuti;e days without detection. 4 ha;e a place where deer freBuent a green field in the afternoon. My approach and e>it allow me to mo;e undetected@ therefore 4 ne;er alarm the deer. 4 see a lot of Gcele rity huntersH using this tactic to locate the deer they want to hunt. Many of the Montana hunts you see on tele;ision are set up using this tactic. 9he hunters wait at

an ele;ated spot o;erloo!ing a !nown food source <i.e. alfalfa field= and then wait for one or more GshootersH to enter the field. Once they see their deer and his approach trail they plan the hunt. 9his is particularly effecti;e in the western states ecause the lac! of dense ;egetation ma!es it possi le to see for great distances. 4n the south@ where 4 li;e@ it is a little tric!ier@ ut you can still use this tactic with good success. #ields that deer use are specific e>amples of areas that can e hunted this way. Whene;er possi le plan your entry and e>it so as not to alarm the deer and it will afford you the opportunity to hunt that spot more often and still see deer. We ha;e all had the e>perience of going to a stand for the first time and seeing a significant num er of deer@ ut if we continue to put pressure on that area the deer sightings egin to decline. 9his particularly true on afternoon hunts where you spoo! the deer as you lea;e the stand. Many times it is una;oida le@ ut you should attempt to a;oid this as much as possi le. 4 ow hunt a lot and many times 4 ha;e deer in range after it is too dar! to shoot. 4 ma!e e;ery effort to a;oid letting these deer associate the upcoming distur ance with human intrusion. 4 will ar! li!e a dog@ throw my soda ottle at them < of course 4 pic! it up efore 4 lea;e=@ and sometimes 4 do oth. When 4 am ow hunting in an ur an setting 4 will egin to sing out loud Aust to throw them off a little. 4 am not sure any of these tactics wor!@ ut they do ma!e me feel etter a out how 4 left the stand.

9h ottom line is once again to e creati;e and not put so much pressure on a stand that deer Buit coming there in legal shooting light. Ehances are they will continue using the area@ ut o;er hunting can cause deer to ecome nocturnal. 8ou o ;iously cannot ta!e them without hunting@ ut use good common sense and try not to put enough pressure on them to impact your chances for success.

D29QS P79 49 0DD 9O629H21 0 few years ago 4 was fortunate enough to get drawn for a ow hunt on a state par! in a neigh oring state. 4t was a two day hunt and they were allowing those that were drawn to hunt due to o;erpopulation. 4 was una le to get to the area until the e;ening efore the huntK and when 4 arri;ed to scout there was less than an hour of daylight. 4 had two friends hunting with me. Both manged to hang stands and that is where they hunted for the ne>t two days. 9hey inBuired a out where 4 had hung my standK and 4 responded that 4 did not find a spot that 4 felt confident in. 9hey then as!ed what 4 was going to do the ne>t morning. My answer was that 4 was going to put the wind in my face and slip through the woods until 4 found a spot that 4

elie;ed a deer would range.

e apt to pass within

ow

My original plan was to use the formula 4 ha;e descri ed in this oo!. 4dentify the edding areas@ find the preferred foods@ and locate the funnels that connect the two. 9his is a great strategy unless there are no o ;ious edding areas. 9hat was my plight on this hunt ecause the area was completely co;ered in mature tim er. 9here were no cut"o;ers@ powerlines@ pine thic!ets@ or swamps on the entire loc!. 4 wal!ed with a stand on my ac! for two hours and did not see anything ut ig mature tim er. 9he forest floor was ;oid of ;egetation ecause the old trees had cut off the sunlight and pre;ented weedy growth. So what did 4 do, 4 went to plan B. Plan B was to hide my stand mar! it with my 6PS and continue wal!ing slowly through the woods with the wind in my face. 1esult 4 slipped within fifteen yards of an unsuspecting deer and with one well placed arrow 4 performed my conser;ationist duty that morning. DetQs re;iew " my original strategy was my stand" y edding area@ foods@ funnels@ and proper wind. Once 4 realiFed that the edding areas were going to e hard to identify 4 adapted and got the desired result. We ha;e outstanding resources a;aila le to us in this age of lightning fast information. 6oogle earth is one of them that can e used to get

familiar with a piece of hunting property. 4t can e used to identify edding areas and funnels. 4t is an amaFing time sa;er. 4 e>pect to see deer e;ery time 4 hunt. Why, Because 4 ha;e a strategy that wor!s. 4t wor!s for me and it can wor! for you. 4t wor!s ecause it is ha itat ased. 8ou simply identify the est deer ha itat and guess what else you will find, 1emem er@ find the edding areas@ find the foods@ find the funnels@ and hunt with the wind in your fa;or. 9hroughout the entire process you will e gathering information as 4 did on the state par! hunt. Start with the plan and adapt to your disco;eries. 4 hope this information helps you the way it has me/ 6et Outdoors/////