Sunday, September 23, 2012

Whitetail Deer Hunting Tactics: Read All About It

© Othmar Vohringer

Common belief has it that outdoor writers are the lucky ones because they can spend all their time in the great outdoors. While I admit that I call myself “lucky” I do not spend all my time outdoors. A good part of my time as an outdoor writer is used up in my office writing about the outdoors. Proof of that are my new articles published this fall in the BC Outdoors and western Sportsman magazine, available on the newsstands now.

Western Sportsman magazine. September/October 2012: Beat Them To It. On page 69 I reveal seven of my favourite early season deer hunting tactics that may help you too to get an early season buck this year. Here is a teaser.
Hunt Escape Routes.
For most hunters there is nothing worse than having to share the same area with hordes of other hunters. In fact, dealing with all the other hunters used to be the reason why I rarely went out in the early season. Not anymore! I learned how to use the other hunters as my involuntary deer drivers. When hunting highly pressured areas I forget about scouting for deer sign. Instead, I scout for other hunters and the sign they leave behind. Given the habitual human nature the hunters will do the same things again this season. Try to find trail markers hunters have left behind (they always do), stand locations and easy walking and driving access routes to the area.

Once you figure out what hunters do, where they are going, and what routes they are using, pinpoint the thickest and nastiest thickets inside the woodland. Now find an easy access route that provides some form of cover for the deer to these thickets and you will have found yourself a deer escape route and refuge.

When I hunt escape routes I try to set up as close to the thicket as possible and be in the stand well before the other hunters arrive. All I have to do is sit tight and wait for the other hunters to head into the area and start pushing the deer my way.

BC Outdoors (Hunting & Shooting) magazine. Fall 2012 issue: Whitetail Deer Rut Myth Buster. On page 26 I attempt to clear up some of the oldest held, but flawed, beliefs about the deer rut and replace them with scientific facts. If you have hunted the rut with these old rut hunting tactics and never had the success you expected then this article will turn your luck around. Here is a teaser.
Myth: During the rut taking up a stand near a fresh scrape means better odds that a great buck will come by.

Fact: Here’s the skinny on scrapes. Did you know that over 90% of all scrapes are random? Meaning, the buck that made them will never return to it again? But hang on, it gets worse. Does make scrapes too and no, you can’t tell the difference from a buck and doe scrape. Scrapes come in all sizes from as big as a car-hood to as small as a dinner plate; some scrapes are only used by bucks, others only by females and again others are used by both sexes. Then there is the little known fact that the majority of mature bucks visit scrapes only at night. Now add to this confusion that a buck can make 40 or more scrapes in his territory of which none is regularly visited and others never attended to again and it becomes obvious how slim the chances are to plan on encountering a buck at a specific scrape.

All these limiting factors may be the reason for the answers I got from “scrape hunters” when I asked them about the success rate of employing this particular hunting tactic. It can be summed up like this: if you hunt over the same scrape from dawn to dusk for several days, even weeks, a buck eventually will walk by it. To me that sounds more like depending on luck - not a sound strategy.

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