Deer drives can be very fun but you need a group to effectively make it work. A well thought out deer drive is planned very well and has a drive leader. The drive leader should know the land and the deer as well as be experienced with deer drives. On a deer drive you’re not worried about noise or spooking a deer the purpose of a deer drive is to push deer to hunters waiting in pre decided locations with good shooting lanes to shoot the deer that have been pushed from the drives.
When doing your drives if you haven’t made lots of noise or moved to fast, the deer being pushed should be trying to escape but not at a fast unpredictable way. Make sure all drivers can see each other and you have some type of communication with the shooters.
This tactic is easiest on small or medium wood lots that hold deer surrounded by field. Large are very difficult unless you have a large group. Your shooter should be a good shot and be in a place with a very open good size shooting lane. The shooter should have a steady rest and be ready as soon as the drive starts not letting there guard down.
The drivers need to know zones of fire and should have a driver stay back a good ways behind the line some deer will try and circle around the line being evasive from the side. The driver in the back should stay in cover moving very slow and quietly having one or two is a good idea on a short line. One on each side and one in the middle is good on a larger line be safe and good luck.
Ground blinds are great for camouflaging yourself and blinding in with your surroundings. They are also easy because you have options you can buy one or build one with things you find around your hunting area. The goal of a ground blind is to conceal yourself from your game. There are different types of ground blinds.
Existing- this could be anything that conceals your movements things like brush, downed trees, a large rock.
Constructed- These would be when you use brush, vegetation, sticks, stumps, and natural to your hunting area to build some type of cover yourself.
Pop up- these are manmade they can be put up fast taken down fast and moved around they look like small tents.
Box blinds- these are like small sheds and normally out year round in some area.
The benefit for hunting from a pop up blind is that they hide your body, contain your scent, minimize sound, and protect you from the weather and bugs, along with making it possible for multiple hunters to be at the same location.
Set up your ground blind on travel routes with good visibility in multiple directions. A way to do this is going high on a hill top or ridge. Don’t set up to close to a trail that you spook the deer this is not something that is there every day and it could make the deer cautious try and set your blind up early or camouflage it with natural foliage the breaks up the silhouette and make sure to scent away your blind. Use a camouflage pattern that matches your area. Good luck make sure to practice setting up whatever blind you choose to use before you go out
Over the next few days we will be talking about different hunting tactics. Tree stands, ground blinds, still hunting, and deer drives. Each hunter will have their own tactic they like best and each tactic has its pros and cons and a right time to use it. Many factors should be considered when trying to decide how you will hunt. Time of the season, property, hunting pressure, and amount of land you have to hunt. You should also consider time of day and weather for you own safety. But above all experience is the biggest thing to consider.
We are going to talk about the keys for each type of hunting and the gear you need to do each one. I hope over the next few days everyone enjoys reading the articles and even learn something. Enjoy and let’s hear your comments and what your favorite hunting tactic is you can post how you feel and talk about your favorite tactic by clicking the tab DEER CAMP TALK.
We all want the deer we hunt to be healthy and the bucks to have larger racks. A lot goes into play when bucks are growing antlers stress, age, genetics, and nutrition. Most we can’t change but one thing we can help with is nutrition so we are going to talk about mineral blocks.
Most people wonder when they need to put out mineral blocks and sites its recommended for the south to make a mineral site in late winter and early spring around February. In the Midwest and north it’s recommended to make your site in March.
There are different types of minerals you can use to make your site. You can use mineral blocks or the granular minerals you buy in a bag. The granular form is easier for deer to eat and they are able to have a larger intake then licking on a block. The down fall of granular mineral sites is that they have to be reapplied about every 60 to 75 days depending on how much you put out and the number of deer using your site. The blocks last longer and can be left alone for a longer period of time the deer mineral intake just isn’t as much. Meaning your results won’t be as fast or dramatic.
The best places to place a mineral site are where deer already are trail crossings, travel corridors, and natural funnels. Find a good trail move off 5 to 10 feet clear the ground of debris and poor the minerals on the ground deer will lick the ground and consume the dirt. When it rains the minerals will soak into the dirt and the deer will actually eat the dirt trying to get the mineral they crave.
Minerals are important for antler growth for bucks in summer months. For does it’s the reproductive process and lactation. A salt lick and mineral lick aren’t the same so everyone knows. They crave salt and need it but the minerals do more for the deer herd then just salt. Deer crave salt so if you’re just trying to get trail came pictures a salt block will work or if your feeding the deer and adding a mineral blind to the corn the salt block will be fine. You can get the mineral blocks or granular minerals at most feed stores and even some outdoor stores.
Nice winter weather
We are having nice days here and there this winter. Some days you kind of forget that it is still winter. The days that are nice go spend them in the woods. Go to your hunting grounds and just walk the property. Use this time looking for sheds and bedding areas. Take a pad of paper with you and write down thoughts you have since right now you’re not worried about jumping a deer spend this time checking out where you think that big boy is sleeping and spending most his time. If you know where his home is you can use this time to really get in there and find out where he is entering and leaving look for trees or spots surrounding it that you can put a blind or hang a stand.
Take the family with you! You can try and show them why you hunt there and show them the signs you look for when scouting. Just because bow season is 7 months away and rifle season is 9 months away doesn’t mean you can’t scout and start trying to plan next year’s hunt. Year round I’m thinking about deer season and always trying to find a new way to get a hand up on that wise old buck. If that means year round being in the woods why not, I love the outdoors and hopefully that will help with putting a mature monster on my wall. The nice days and the days that the weather is amazing outside spend them in the woods with your family. If you don’t get anything new out of it at least you have spent time in the outdoors and with your family.
Most hunters when they start scouting want to find massive scrapes to hang a stand over because they think a buck will check it every day. Hunting scrapes aren’t a free pass and don’t need to be a big part of your hunting strategy.
The best time to hunt scrapes is during the early phases of the rut and not during the middle. Most hunters hunt the wrong scrape at the wrong time. A scrape that seems out of place not in a normal travel area probably needs little attention.
When does begin to go into heat or estrus bucks will have little to no use for them and will stop using them. Scrapes are more like a mailbox or fire hydrant for dogs used by males to track of other males or possibly maintain order to show dominance not for males and females to get together. The scent left in and around is a way for bucks to know a dominant buck is available in the area.
They most likely freshen scrapes that are happened on and don’t go out of their way to freshen a scrape. They should be used to identify buck travel routes. So look for scrape lines not just a scrape here and there that has no real purpose. You don’t have to sit right on top of it just where you can watch the trail.
Scrapes in early fall are more significant and early pre-breeding is the best time to hunt scrapes. They can be used for direction since he threw dirt behind him and that would be the direction he approached from.
scents and calls to consider
The best time to use a scrape dripper is around the time of the first full moon in November. Fill it with doe estrous urine. Hang it over a scrape or mock scrape depending on the cover where your hunting determines if it should be up wind or down wind. If where you’re hunting is very think and you need the deer to stop in a certain area hang it downwind within range. If it’s Fairly open hang it up wind of your stand so you get the deer to walk past your stand and you can grunt or whistle to get the deer to stop and you get the shot. Makes sure either way the scrape dipper is within sight of your stand and in range for you to get a shot.
Multi-sound deer calls that make doe bleats, mature grunt, young buck, and fawn tones is a must it saves on the amount of gear you will have in the woods and is easier to switch between calls. Being able to make it sound like you have a buck and doe or two different bucks will add to the realism of your calling sequence.
Rattles either antler or a rattle bag are another piece of gear you should have at parts of the season. Antlers are bulky and during rifle season should be carried carefully or painted orange so they don’t get mistaken as a buck slipping through the woods. Make sure earthier one you decide to use are carried in a way that as you walk they aren’t clinking together making noise.
These are just a few scents and calls that you should consider using this year. They all have a time and place so do some reading on here to find out when they work best.
Calling a buck you can see!
If your calling to a buck you can see and want to get him closer for a shot start softly and non-aggressive with a grunt if that doesn’t work try a bleat but don’t over call. Every call you make gets that buck a little closer to figuring out where you are like tracing a phone call the longer you are on the line the closer they get to pin pointing your location. Keep alert because they will often circle downwind before they walk close. There may also be other bucks in the area that you cannot see. Keeping an eye on the buck and keeping an eye down wind is a must. Even if you don’t see a deer make sure to stay very alert and make slow movements and try and move as little as possible. Don’t call if the deer is looking at you or in your direction. Stay alert as you call!
Why I’m Getting Starbucks on Valentine’s Day
Most hunters think that still hunting is the hardest and most challenging. It’s pretty much just walking through the woods looking for deer. There is an art to it and it is very difficult but with experience can be very effective.
When you still hunt you want to move very very slow deer move slow when walking through the woods when they are un disturbed. When you’re still hunting move from tree to tree waiting at every tree a few minutes you should spend more time looking around then walking when you find a place that you feel is the place a buck should be find a spot and sit for 20 to 40 minutes or even the rest of the hunt. The best time to hunt is on a morning right after the rain or heavy dew on the ground so you make less noise.
During your hunt you want to try and stay down wind or crosswind from deer. make sure to be as scent free as possible know the deer and the land your hunting all the scouting you have done should give you an idea of where the deer are. Stay as quiet as possible be conscious of where you step avoid taking regular steps and try your hardest not to step on sticks and limbs that can snap under your body weight.
Wear full camouflage including face and hands. Try and get your camouflage to match your area. A gillie suit is perfect for still hunting. When moving slow movements are best, fast jerky movements will catch a deer’s attention very fast.
Look for horizontal lines since deer don’t stand vertical look for legs, nose, eyes, antlers, and throat not a complete deer. Patience is key along with attention to detail be slow and good luck.
Hunting from a tree stand gives you advantages that other tactics don’t such as they give you a longer view of your hunting area, you’re out of sight of a deer’s normal line of sight, and it reduces the amount of scent on the ground. A negative is that thermals can carry your scent farther by being high in a tree.
When hunting from a tree stand the most important thing is location. When trying to find a location you need to spend time scouting try and pattern the deer and understand where they are moving just because you shot a deer from a tree one year doesn’t mean it will be productive the next you have to scout and find well used trails every year.
You should probably not set up a stand near a bucks core area stand hunting to close could result in the deer smelling you set up your stand and hear you climbing the tree. You should place your stand at a comfortable distance away from where you think the deer will be you want to be within range but not to close. You want to be downwind or crosswind from the direction you expect the deer to come from.
In hilly country thermals normally rise in the morning and fall in the evening or afternoon. Consider how you will get to your stand you don’t want to make too much noise or sweat too much. Creek beds and streams are good routes if you can use one.
Be careful when hunting from a tree stand don’t fall asleep in your stand, wear a harness, and never try and climb a tree with your bow or rifle. Safe hunting!
Day survival pack
This is for hunters that walk a lot and even hunters that plan on staying in the stand all day. The gear listed here is a recommendation and should be altered to each hunters own needs. No two hunters will have the same thing in there pack this is a general list.
Basic first aid kit – Small and lightweight
Extra flash light - Small, cheap, led as a backup
Extra clothes - Whatever you need but a must is socks
Emergency shelter – Space blanket 50 feet of nylon parachute cord
Extra food and water - Granola bars high calorie water bottles
Water purification tablets – Simple for safe water
Your location – A map for you and one in your camp or vehicle, Tell people were you plan to hunt, and a compass or GPS
Water proof matches – Matches, lighter, flint, anything to make a fire
Kindling – Lent in a plastic bag works great
This list is in no certain order and should be considered just a reference for your own hunting pack. It doesn’t include regular hunting gear such as knife, saw, calls, scent, and weapon. The key is to keep your pack light weight but efficient. I recommend a side arm or secondary weapon if it’s legal in your state. Good luck!
Age factor part 2
Deer have a peeking order by testing each other this includes ears back, stare downs, threat walking, hair standing on end, and snort wheezing. If none of that works they will fight. 3 ½ year old bucks act like they have a grudge and will go out of their way to settle it even if the other buck only has spikes they will try and fight him or just run him off. They have attitude problems and will pick fights with any buck no matter the size and due to the fact of their age they are in the best shape of their life and can hold their own even when they pick a fight with a bigger older buck. The older the buck the fast he can end the fight he knows the keys to ending the fight fast.
When they reach 3, 4, and 5 ½ years old the way they stay the dominant buck is about attitude and body language not antler size. They walk with a chip on their shoulder, a short fuse, louder more often vocalization, rub and scrape more than younger bucks, and they are also quick to settle a fight if it gets to that point. There dominance is won be head games winning without having to fight. If he reaches 6 he starts to mellow out they can be mean but not the way they were when they were younger. By the time he has reached 6 years old he has probably lost muscle mass and his antlers are probably shrinking at this point. So they key for him is technical aspics not strength and he has mastered fighting. His body language is probably keeping him out of fight he is most likely standing tall and the other bucks have watched him year after year and are just waiting for him to start shrinking his territory so they can move in.
Mature bucks are masters of the rut they know all there is to know about scent communication, scrapes, rubbing, chasing, and breeding. Young bucks tend to not be able to stop moving chasing does regardless of estrus. A mature buck knows it’s not a sprint but a marathon. They stay calm, and don’t begin searching until estrus fills the air and their noses tell them it’s time. That’s why you will see younger bucks start chasing does and early on in the rut you will see younger bucks and start wondering if there is a mature buck in the area. There probably is he just knows not to waste energy and strength early on when does aren’t in estrus.
That’s what there is to say about mature bucks and young bucks and how age affects a buck and makes him mature. When you are able to fill your tag with a mature buck you have achieved something very special it’s not often that a truly mature buck fills a tag because they become the shadows and ghost that move through the woods silently making very few mistakes. Taking a mature buck should be an achievement that we all strive for and a goal for everyone of us.
There are young bucks and there are mature bucks. 2 ½ years old are young bucks, bucks older than 3 ½ are mature bucks and they have become different then young bucks. They have been alive long enough to know how to stay alive and evade danger.
Very few bucks in the wild live to be 3 ½ and considered mature. If he has made it to 3 ½ you can bet a tag on it that he has had enough encounters with humans, predators, and Mother Nature to know what danger is. Everything we do as hunters’ deer learn from, everything Mother Nature throws at them that they live threw makes them a little smarter. It’s true what they say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” this applies to deer as well.
Age allows deer along with genetics to survive. Whitetails are quick to learn and never forget what they learned if they make it to be a mature buck the way they process there senses is amazing. They can smell the air and no what odors are edible, dangerous, and enteral. Everything they learn and that happens to them changes their behavior. The way they see isn’t in a whole it’s a tree, bush, downed tree, person, or something they don’t know what it is they just know it shouldn’t be there. Learning from year to year and day to day, not making the same mistake twice.
When bucks are young they hang out with other bucks there age when not in the rut. They feed, travel, and bed together. When a buck reaches 3 ½ and is mature there age turns them into loners and more nocturnal every year thereafter and they are very smart. They know younger bucks are making mistakes that could get them killed. A more mature deer ends up bedding more often and bedding in the thickest locations. They stay off their feet traveling less and less every year.
As a buck matures it learns that the dark is safe. He knows when the sun sets human odor leaves, winds are calmer, and noises are less. It’s safer to move! They have also figured out whether they know they can move more quietly through the woods when the leafs are wet but they also know that so can the predators. They know when the pressure changes the weather is about to change they have figured out the keys to staying alive.
When using a drag line you have a few options and depending on the time of year it is should change like described in earlier articles. Your options will have different effects threw out the season. Here are some of your options.
Buck urine- in early season when bucks are trying to build territory and show dominance.
Doe urine- mid season bucks will be searching for does trying to find were they are.
Double drag lines
Doe urine and buck urine- seeking phase this will give the impression that a buck is trailing the doe or already with her.
Doe urine and doe estrus- rut peak this gives the impression of two does and one is in estrus.
After you have made it to your stand don’t put your drag line away hang it low upwind of your stand about two feet off the ground so the buck walks past your stand/ during early season a drag line of fox or raccoon urine works well to hide the scent from your boots on your tail walking in.
There are multiple stages during the Rut. Normally beginning three or four days before the November full moon bucks start roaming when they are expanding their range checking for does. The roaming phase and chasing phase overlaps then you have the peak rut before the hew moon.
During the beginning of November add doe urine and a doe bleat. Use a drag line soaked in doe urine. Before walking into your stand soak it and drag it to your stand. Hang your drag line upwind of your stand about two feet off the ground in a shooting lane.
Don’t remove the buck scent and calls! You can have a double drag line and have buck scent on one and doe scent on the other. Use your doe bleat but not too often. Does aren’t very vocal throw in a few grunts as well.
As you start in with your drag line dribble a few drops of doe urine every 50 yards as you walk in. at this time you can call more aggressively but don’t over call. Doe bleats grunts and rattles are all good calls at this time.
Since bucks are searching for does they will be looking for doe scent but will also want to run off other bucks if they think there are does in the area. With that being said making it seem like there is a buck and doe together should bring in a buck ready to fight off the other buck and show he is the dominant buck in that neck of the woods.
When October rolls around bachelor groups have broken apart and bucks are establishing territories. As the Pre-Rut gets into full swing bucks will start sparring heavy to defend their core area and show who’s boss. Right now is a great time to really use your rattles to make it seem like two bucks are really going at it. With that being said a buck will go down wind of the sound to check out the situation. Make sure to be scent free.
Place two scents up wind and off to the side of your stand so you can try and get the buck right in front of your stand. Start out quietly have a grunt nearby. Lightly rattle then grunt a few times then don’t call for at least 20 minutes. Then grunt 2 or 3 times then another 10 minutes of no calling. You have now got him curious with his ears and nose.
Doing this won’t spook deer that are closer then you thought. Now that nothing has shown up go hard really smash the rattle and make it a battle with lots of pauses. Make the fight last about one or two minutes then grunt a few times and keep your eyes downwind.
Here’s a bonus if you have a multi-toned grunt use both the mature buck and young buck tone. It makes it sound like there are actually two bucks just adding realism to your fight.
Scents and calls
Those old bucks are normally pretty calm, very confident, and seem to be ghosts using the shadows. There instincts and experiences are about maxed out and dead on as they come. All they want is food, water, and a safe comfortable place to sleep. That’s until breeding in fall comes along.
During the summer bucks tend to be in bachelor groups that can be from two or six maybe more. When mid-august roles around and daylight time starts to shorten it changes bucks behavior, they fuse with other bucks gets smaller and they establish a pecking order by sparing and will eventually decide a dominant buck that will be proven and he will run off some of the competition and build his own territory.
If your states deer season starts in September your focus should be food sources or trails from food to bed. Bucks will bed down in or right on the edge of a food sources because there has been no hunting pressure. At first pressure this will change.
Scents and calls aren’t as useful right now so hunters should be as scent free as possible. Since it’s still warm bring scent killer to your stand use it threw out the hunt on your hat, under arms, and heavy around your neck line and arm cuffs.
You can use buck urine because they are more curious and less tolerant of other bucks. Putting buck urine in a shooting lane on a trail would get the buck to stop long enough to get a shot. Best advice right now is to leave your calls at home.
Do you have to find big rubs?
Do you have to find rubs the size of your wrist to know you have a mature buck in your area? Every year I spend countless hours in the woods scouting and normally the rubs that are near my stand are the size around of a quarter or smaller. I have only found 3 or 4 rubs I can’t reach one hand around and in my life I have only found one that both hands won’t reach around it and my fingers couldn’t touch. I have shot mature bucks walking small rubs.
Just because there small rubs doesn’t mean that it’s a small buck the buck possibly prefers small trees that he can really work.
My dad watched a buck walk down a draw that had 20 or 30 rubs the size around of a pencil. His rack was extremely tall and almost touched at the tips he couldn’t rub big trees it wasn’t possible.
So don’t be discouraged because you’re not finding big signpost rubs or even rubs you can’t reach around find areas that have lots of trails and rub lines use your calls and scent to bring those bucks in. if that area is commonly used by a young buck by using grunts and rattles a mature buck could be drawn in by throwing doe calls and scent into the air. You could bring the monster in to run the young buck away to get the does in the area.
Now if you find a rub line or area that has big rubs of course hunt that area because a small buck isn’t going to be able to make those big sign post rubs. But that doesn’t mean you have to find those rubs to kill a mature buck.
Why does deer season mean so much to you?
Under deer camp talk I posted why deer hunting means so much to me. You can comment on it and write why deer season means so much to you let’s hear your story! Everyone has their own reasons and here at Hillbilly Huntin we want to know why deer season means so much to you! Let’s hear it!