© By Othmar Vohringer
Let’s face it. If you are an avid whitetail deer hunter with hopes of bringing home a deer this season, it probably won’t happen. Statistically speaking, the odds of taking a deer are clearly stacked against you. Ten percent of all hunters take 100 percent of all deer is a common saying.
Yet, each season, hunters throughout the country beat the odds. While there are some hunters who are just plain lucky, there are many others that score consistently by becoming students of the whitetail deer. To take them, ordinary hunting techniques aren’t enough. You’ve got to go the extra yard. Here are a few tips that might help you to turn the odds in your favour this year.
Locate Several Ambush Sites
The number of ambush sites should not be limited. I have always found that the more I have, the better my chances of success are. Today’s lightweight portable treestands in a wide variety of models to cover every need make it possible for you to change locations at a moment’s notice and hunt where the wind is favourable and where deer move.
Hunt Only Where the Wind is Favourable
The biggest mistake deer hunters make is hunting where the wind is unfavourable. You could luck out, or you can hunt where the wind is sure to be favourable.
I would suggest making notes about each ambush location and the prevailing wind direction. Never let yourself be fooled by “scent control” or “scent elimination” products, it’s a gimmick that only works when you in addition consider the prevailing wind.
Stay Clean and Reduce Human Scent
It is impossible to be scentless, but you can take precautions that will help. Take a shower before every hunt. Dress in clean clothing, including under garments to reduce human scent. Remember you cannot eliminate scent, just reduce it. Water and soap are much better than any spray on “magical potion” offered on the market. Whenever you walk to and from your stand avoid touching vegetation with your bare hands.
Avoid Getting Close To Buck Sign
Most of us find it tempting to look or even touch scrapes and rubs. However, doing that will leave your mark behind for every buck to read.
Pay Attention to Rub Lines
I seldom pay attention to rubs scattered throughout a given area. However, several rubs along a trail may indicate that a buck is traveling the route frequently.
I would also suggest you inspect the rubbed trees. Both large and small bucks rub trees of all sizes. However, if the tree has deep gouges, you can assume that this is the work of a larger deer.
Always Carry a Grunt Tube
Bucks are the most vulnerable to grunt calls when they are rutting. However, many hunters claim grunt tubes also work well in the pre-rut and post-rut periods. For this reason, I would suggest you always carry this nifty device along.
I would not use the grunt tube repeatedly when you are not seeing deer. Save the call as a last moment technique, or when a buck passes by out of range. Blind calling seldom works but when it does it’s pure magic.
Get Away from the Crowds
This seems like a no-brainer but time and again I see hunters following each other, even hanging stands close to each other. Don’t do that. Deer know about the habits of man and adjust accordingly.
You should consider getting away from the crowds as soon as others begin making a habit of passing through the area. When hunting heavily-forested areas, get further from the roads and fields whenever the hunting pressure intensifies. In farmland areas, look for terrain where few hunters venture, such as high-grass fields, standing corn, swamps and thickets. Learn what escape routes the deer use and then let the other hunters “push” the deer to you.
I often forfeit hunting time so that I can scout for meaningful deer sign. When things are not going well from my ambush location, I feel that it is wiser to spend time walking in search of deer sign and active trails then keep sitting in the same unproductive spot and hoping against all hope. Do all your in-season scouting during midday hours when deer are less active.
Changes in food sources, bedding areas and hunting pressure are the primary reasons why whitetails change their habits and a smart hunter adjusts to these changes. Continues scouting will keep you abreast of deer movement patterns and lets adjust you stand sites and strategies accordingly.
Hunt Smart and Hunt Hard
Smart hunting is easier said than done. Smart hunting means that you should not take unnecessary chances. Always plan your approach and departure routes to and from your stand in a direction where you will not alarm deer. Also, keep noise at an absolute minimum.
Hunting hard is absolutely necessary. It seems we always hear about the guy down the street who bagged a monster buck the first time he hunted. But you can bet you are not that lucky. If you hope to kill a super buck, count on hunting often. Hunt every opportunity you have, the more time you can spend outdoors the higher chances are you score.