No guaranteed success in whitetail deer hunting

Most whitetail deer hunters have spent plenty of time in a deer stand to realize there is no guaranteed secret to success, with hunting techniques, attractant scents or stand set-ups. Hunters have read numerous ways to bag a mature buck. Many of these hunters remain unsuccessful. The following tips may help put the odds in your favor.

  1. Scout before and during the rut. You can’t hunt a trophy buck without knowing where he lives. Scouting before season will reveal travel routes, feeding areas, bedding thickets, etc. Continued scouting throughout the season, can keep you hunting the hottest deer sign and can increase your chances of bagging that mature buck.
  2. Arrive before dawn and leave after dark. With their sensitive eyesight, deer see best during the low light conditions of dusk and dawn. Mature bucks use these low light periods to travel from bedding to feeding areas and to search for receptive does.
  3. Make sure your weapon is properly sighted. You do not want to find out your weapon is off when you pull the trigger or squeeze the release on that mature buck. If you properly sight your weapon, you can truthfully blame buck fever for your missed shot.
  4. Inspect your hunting equipment before season. Change flashlight batteries, locate all of your hunting clothes, check your stands for squeaks, organize your gear bags, etc. Do not wait until you are getting off your stand after dark to find out your flashlight batteries are dead or wait for your stand to squeak as that mature buck is stepping out of the brush.
  5. Watch “Old Man Television.” My family refers to The Weather Channel as “Old Man TV.” I simply laugh it off, but it is extremely important to monitor the weather forecast daily. Any changes in the weather conditions, such as wind direction, air temperature, and cold fronts, can determine where and how you hunt.
  6. Hunt the funnels. During the rut, bucks can be hard to pattern. They are always on the search for does. Funnels situated between doe feeding areas and bedding areas can be the best location to intercept a roaming mature buck.
  7. Do not forget to use scents or calls. Typically, deer calls produce their greatest response during the pre-rut and rut. This is the prime time to be aggressive with grunt calls, bleat calls, and rattling bags. This is also the time for attractant scents. Deer urine placed in a mock scrape or dripped along a nearby trail may draw in a mature buck you might not see otherwise. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of deer decoys during this period. Under the right conditions and used in conjunction with calls and scents, decoys can be game changers.
  8. Do not get hungry or thirsty. When the rut is at its peak, bucks often move best during midday. Be prepared to stay on stand all day. Bring plenty of snack food and drinks. The more time you can spend on your stand, the greater your opportunity of seeing the mature whitetail deer you are after.
  9. Have a back-up plan. Every whitetail deer hunter has a favorite hunting area, either because of familiarity or past success. Without multiple hunting locations at your disposal, your season could come without a hunting location. Land can be sold, deer herds can die out, and farmers can change their normal crop rotations. There are numerous factors that can negatively impact your favorite hunting grounds. Having a back-up plan can keep you from scrambling for a hunting spot and have you spending your time on stand.
  10. You do not know everything. A whitetail deer hunter who thinks they have everything figured out is either naïve or stupid. No matter how much knowledge you gain, hunters will never learn everything about deer behavior. Never stop striving to learn. Additional knowledge will only make you a better hunter.