Every year I fly an American flag during the time I have my deer camp. The flag I fly has been all over the world and has been to many events. It was with me when I was deployed to Iraq, when I got married, and when my daughter was born. My flag has been flown at deer camps, fishing trips, and camping trips. When I travel my flag travels with me. This flag isn’t only a symbol of freedom it’s a reminder to me what I have fought for and what I stand for. I’m proud of my country, I’m not afraid to show it. The day someone comes up to me in the deer woods and bashes my flag will be the day that person sees how much my flag means to me.
Flying the flag shows support for the troops and the country. I have other hunters show up in my camp to take a picture of them and the deer they shot with my flag behind them. Everyone that has seen it and said something about it normally has a story to tell about someone they know is in the military and they ask if they can take a picture for them. Some of the stories give me chills to think about.
I don’t expect everyone to fly a flag at their camp nor does it make me mad if you don’t. Just remember to support the troops if you don’t support our president that doesn’t mean you can’t support or troops they need our support. Never forget the blood that has been spilt for our freedoms. We all know of a brother, sister, father, mother, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandfather, or grandmother that has served or given their life for this country. God bless this country and or troops bring them home safe!
Stars are aligning!
Stars are aligning and everything is starting to fall into place. The moon should be full or as close to it as it comes Tuesday and Wednesday. This cold front came through and the temperatures have dropped into the 30 and 40’s. The bucks are in the seeking phase of the rut and chasing does around. Putting all this together means that Tuesday and Wednesday should be great days to spend in the woods all day the activity should be decent all day but the best times to hunt should be around 1:30pm to 4:30 pm both days. Monday will be a good day to be hunting to I’m just not off.
My plan for Tuesday will be to go to my daughters doctor’s appointment after I get off work then head right to the woods. I will probably be putting a stand up were I ran into all of them last week. But I will also go and check the mock scrape I put out it will all depend on what I see when I get down there. I will probably just sleep in my car that night and get up and head to saddle that papa and I have both killed a few deer on. Late morning I will do some scouting and see if they are putting out more rubs and scrapes. All I have found so far are a handful of very small rubs and no scrapes.
With the bucks looking for hot does I’m going to hunt the areas that I know the does use often trying to get that buck as he comes in chasing the does. I’m guessing that all your calls should be productive. Scent wise I think it would be safe to say that sexual attractant scents will start working now. If you have a decoy right now would be a good time to have it out.
Try spending as much time in the woods as you can these next few days as the stars align it should be very productive and you should see plenty of activity. Make sure you are prepared for the lower temperatures so you are able to stay in your stand longer.
Best of luck and make sure to tell us about your hunt. If you get one send us a picture so we can throw it in the game bag. Stay safe out there and good luck!
Tuesday October 23rd
Well everyone I hunted on Tuesday for the evening hunt made a mock scrape and spilled some deer urine on me. I didn’t see any from my stand but could hear them walking behind me. When I was walking out had a heard of does on my path it was pretty open between me and them and I couldn’t sneak up to them. An old wise buck was in the thick of some brush on the back side of them and grunted sending the does off in a hurry. Since it was now to dark to see I threw my crossbow over my shoulder and started walking out figuring since the does left so did the buck I was mistaken. The wind was blowing right toward him and when I walked past a trail that leads to the pond I heard the same deep grunt I heard before looked in the direction it came from and I see a silhouette of a very nice mature buck. He put his head down and charged me I jumped behind a tree and couldn’t get an arrow in my crossbow by the time he slid turned around and ran past me again and kept running it scared the crap out of me.
Just my thoughts on this are that the bucks have started hanging with herds of does waiting for them to be bred. Be care full during the rut bucks are territorial and if you sound like a buck and smell like one he’s probably going to try and run you off. Be safe and mindful of your situation it could have been a lot worse for me and could have also been better.
Not so typical lethal shots
Deer anatomy I’m sure most everyone wants that broadside shot but I’m here to tell you about some not so typical lethal shots. Before you take any shot you need to make sure that you have spent time practicing and that you can make the shot your taking. No one wants to just wound there game everyone every time should be taking a lethal shot to put the game down fast. This is knowledge to keep in your head for when that monster won’t give you that broadside shot.
When you’re considering these shot think about the anatomy of the deer you have heart, lungs, brain, artery’s, and the spine. The heart supply’s blood to the entire body and keeps him alive the lungs supply oxygen to the heart and brain without oxygen nothing can live. The arteries are the blood highways that transport the blood threw out the body. The brain keeps the deer alive of course enough said. The spine when severed will drop the deer in its tracks you may have to do a secondary shot to keep him down for good. You also have to consider if you’re going to mount the monster or if it’s just meat.
If the deer is standing looking right at you it is showing you its face giving you a brain shot as well as a neck, spine and vitals shot. If you’re going for a head shot you want to aim slightly above his eyes I would put my horizontal cross hair at the top of his eyes. The neck shot I would aim at the center of its neck my vertical cross hair cutting him in half. The vitals shot I would aim at the center of its chest.
Its neck has vital arteries running threw it from the brain to its heart and lungs the concussion and shockwave should crush or destroy the arteries and sever the spine. Same with the heart and lungs the shockwave can be as lethal as the shot itself without the shockwave the bullet would just make a hole. The body is made mostly of water so when the bullet hits the shockwave is right behind when it hits it will displace the water in the body creating a bigger shock area then the bullet itself. The shock area depending on where it is by itself is very lethal. The shockwave may ruin the meat in that area. The shots I described can be used in almost every way the deer is positioned. You may not have the vitals chest shot if the deer is looking away from you but you will have the neck and head shot. Make sure to take the shot that you most feel comfortable with and best suits the situation.
Just my thoughts I’m very comfortable with my marksmanship skills so when I have the chance I take a head or neck shot. I get more meat that way and have to track down less deer. I don’t expect everyone to take that shot nor do I take the shot every time it depends on the situation. When you’re using a bow consider everything and take the most lethal shot you have. If you don’t feel you have a lethal shot don’t take the shot. Hope this helps this year when you’re in the woods.
Save money on a scrape
So I read an article that I found funny it was about making a mock scrape. We all know how much the kits cost and with the economy we could all stand to save a few bucks. The guy drank a mountain dew found an area with good deer traffic and a tree that had a limb 4 to 7 feet from the ground he cleared out the ground and peed in his cleared ground. He had a year old bottle of doe pee left over from last year and sprayed some in the scrape then on the overhanging limbs.
The deer didn’t care that it was from a year ago kept in a shed with ranging temperatures from -10 to 100 he said a study showed that bucks are as likely to hit a scrape with a new car smell as to one with just doe pee. Just a cost effective way to make a mock scrape the guy made four and had four different real nice bucks showed up.
Just my thoughs I’m sure when you head to the woods you drink something so you’re really not spending any money your just clearing an area and going pee I will be trying this the next time I head to the woods. Save money go all natural have a great hunt everyone!
Curiosity scents are used before the pre-rut you can use about anything. I recently tried taking a plastic jar putting about half an inch of vanilla extract in it drilled a hole in the lib put a string threw it tied a sock to the string glued the string and hole so it wouldn’t leak out and have been using it. I haven’t had much of an opportunity to see what the deer do or how they treat it. The two times I have put it out it has started raining within 30 minutes of me putting it out. I did put it out when I only had about 45 minutes to hunt and when I was walking out had a buck walking the trail right to me but I was also calling aggressively right before I left. The purpose of the scent is to put a scent into the woods that the deer want to investigate. Any strong smell should work its worth a try during this time. I’m going to try and come up with a list of homemade curiosity scents to try. If you have anything that works for you share it with us if you would like.
Increase your stand time = Increase your odds
Many experienced hunters that read blogs and spend a lot of time planning preparing and predicting game. Especially whitetail hunters think they know about the woods and deer more than the woods and deer know about themselves.
The great thing about hunting is no matter how the cards fall good or bad, or how many people say “it won’t happen today” when we take the small things that are in our control and put ourselves in the woods with the chance of getting that monster anything can happen.
No matter the conditions if you’re in the woods you have a chance; if you’re not in the woods you have sealed your fate that day for a chance.
The only way you can be positive you won’t get that monster is if you stay out of the woods. This doesn’t mean don’t hunt smart or be cautious. It does mean we just need to hunt, hunt smart, and be in the woods giving ourselves a chance.
Just my thoughts you can’t know that the monster won’t walk by your stand or be moving around anything can happen. If you want to fill that empty spot on your wall give yourself a chance be in the woods be in your stand and do what’s in your control.
Rubs and what they mean
Boundary rubs- mature bucks make these early season marking their territory. You will find these rubs along natural boundaries and funnels. They are large rubs along these areas. They are a good early season stand spot they are used as a trail the big bucks will move often
Trail rubs- they are made as the buck travels his core area and home range between feeding and bedding areas. Found in a line with a group of them close to the feeding and bedding area. Great pre-rut stand location figure out the direction he is walking by the side of the tree rubbed.
Rut rub- made during the height of the rut when a buck is near a hot doe. They will be Shredded small trees, brush, or 2-3 inch trees. Found near doe feeding and bedding areas. May be some small scrapes close by. If you find this and it wasn’t there the day before set up right away and hunt it the rest of the day and next.
Community rub- many bucks will rub the same tree in a high travel area. Found were trails are intersecting. Deeply cut up on 3-5 inch trees. Good spot to tag out but not for older bucks.
Field rub- rubbed trees on the edge of the field early and pre- rut bucks coming to the field. Walk the field edge or just inside the wood line may be part of a rub line. Shows were a buck enters or leaves the field but he may not do it during shooting hours.
Friday October 12, 2012
Well I made it to the woods this morning I hunted some public land outside of Marshfield. It was very wet and a little drizzle here and there. The deer hadn’t started moving when I got there it was about 9:00am.
I walked the property for about an hour before finding an old rub line on trees 3 or 4 inches in diameter I followed it down a draw and found a deer trail so commonly used it was worn down to dirt and looked like a cattle trail. I had spent too much time looking for a good spot to hunt that I only had about 45 min to hunt before I had to head home to get some sleep.
I grunted, rattled, and used the can, doe grunt, and my fawn bleat. I got up and started to walk out when 10 or 20 feet away from me I found the buck skull. I walked up the ridge fallowing the trail and walking down the trail was a monster buck that was just beautiful. The problem was he saw me before I saw him he snorted and busted off through the woods with me standing there jaw hanging. I now know where I will be hunting when I go back. The deer had started moving when I was leaving and it was between 11 am and 12.
Just my thoughts What I am taking from this is that you need to sit as long as possible and even if you have to get up and head out make sure you pay attention and look as far up the trail as you can. Give yourself plenty of time to still hunt as you leave. That was my problem I waited too long and had to rush as I left and wasn’t able to still hunt as I walked out. Always keep your eyes open for shed and other unique things.
Tanning your deer hide
I found an article in field and stream magazine called the bathtub tannery by Michael r. Shea it says you can tan the hide for less the $30 in your bathroom all you need is a knife, spoon, plywood, bottle of tanner, and a laundry rack.
1. REMOVE THE MEAT
Scrape all the red meat from the skin with a spoon or knife.
2. SAVE FOR LATER
If you aren’t tanning it right away you need to wrap the hide in two heavy black trash bags. If you’re not freezing it salt the hide thoroughly. Figure a pound of salt per pound of skin. Store in a 5-gallon bucket with a tight-fitting lid. Check the hide every other day for the first two weeks and drain any liquid that’s collected in the bottom. Spray raid into the bucket or in the freezer bag and trust the critters will die a slow death. If you’re tanning right away spray the hair side.
3. JUST ADD SALT
If the hide was in your freezer, let it thaw first. If it’s coming out of salty storage instead, just scrape off the old salt and salt it again. Rub it into every inch of skin. Fold the salted hide onto itself, flesh to flesh, and wait 24 hours. Then do it all over again.
4. SOAK IT UP
After 48 hours of salt rub, it’s time for a salt bath. Put a large plastic bin in the bathtub, fill it with hot water, and add a pound of salt per gallon of water. Soak the hide for 24 hours.
5. LATHER AND RINSE
Wash the flesh side with dawn dish detergent, which works best. Hanging the hide on a laundry rack and rinsing it off under the shower is the easiest way to do it. Let the hide dry on the rack.
6. TIME TO STRETCH
When it’s moist and still pliable, stand up a piece of plywood in the shower and Tack the hide flesh side up to the plywood. Stretching it out as much as possible.
7. SECRET AGENT
Prep your tanning agent. Check that it can be used indoors.) (Deer hunter’s & trapper’s hide tanning formula ($15; basspro.com) it smells like hard apple cider.) Apply the agent to the hide with a paintbrush. Do three coats, letting each dry for 24 hours.
8. TAKE A BREAK
Your dry hide will be stiff as the board it just came off. You can break it by hand rolling and twisting it. You may lose some hair here, so take it easy. If you’re making a rug or wall piece, stiffness won’t hurt.
My thoughts are that I’m going to try it this year. I think a deer hide would look great as a rug or on my wall. Hopefully this helps you and you’re able to use it this year.
Scout from home.
So I have talked about topographical maps multiple times and said to get one and look for saddles, ridges, funnels, and so on but I haven’t talked about everything you can use to your advantage to scout without leaving the home. To start off with you need to get a topo map terrain map and a satellite image map. When you have all you're map lay them out in front of you and when you find the areas on your topo map find the same areas on the other two maps. When you’re looking at the terrain map it will be easier to see how step the areas are then the satellite image will help you figure out if it’s a clearing or forest stuff like that compare the maps and find out the best place to hunt before you even leave the house.
Then get a moon phase calendar and a hunters almanac and figure out when the best days and time to hunt are by doing this you will be able to cut the time you spend in the woods that’s is not the best times. If your time is as valuable as mine then you understand that when you’re in the woods you want to have the best chances available to tag a monster.
After that check the weather hourly daily and weekly so you can figure out how the weather will change and you cannot waste time on a day that the weather changes and is giving you a minimal chance.
Now that you have all this done you have eliminated bad days to hunt areas that aren’t going to be worth your time to scout and you can focus on the areas that you have studied. Take your maps weather and a few pieces of lined paper and staple them together now when you see something or have things you want to remember you can write it down and not worry about forgetting it. Write down everything from trails deer seen beds rubs scrapes the actual weather and any information that you feel you might need to remember. Keep them with you and write down the information as it comes don’t wait all day and try and remember it. When you get home look over your notes and look at your map again and see if your plan changes at all. This should cut down on some of your footwork. Best of luck this year.
Build a mock scrape.
When you find a spot that has a high population of does and you don’t have many options for a tree stand or a deer blind you can turn an ok spot into a good spot by building a mock scrape. You can go as far as to transplant a tree.
To start off you need to find a spot with doe beds and heavy trails along with decent cover so the bucks feel safe and will visit the scape during shooting hours. Then find were you want to put your tree stand or blind were you have good shooting lanes and good visibility. Build you mock scrape 20 to 50 yards away from your stand taking into consideration of your shooting lanes and shot opportunities. You want to be able to see the scape and the buck checking it. The area you pick for your mock scrape should be flat and be seen easily from the ground.
If you cut and transplant a tree make sure it has limbs that drop down at about head or chest level trim lower branches so that the licking branch sticks out and is very evident. Dig a hole about 2 or 3 feet deep with a post whole digger so it is steady. Make sure the licking branch sticks towards your stand.
Clear out an area about 3 feet under the licking branch so that about 75% of the clearing is in front of the branch. Drip a scrape scent into the clearing or you can place a drip bag above the licking branch to keep the scrape active without you having to do anything.
Make sure you take precautions in scent elimination wear rubber gloves to keep the most human scent off your mock scrape you want to keep the human scent as low as possible around your mock scrape.
Just my thoughts this adds another weapon to your arsenal and trick up your sleeve for creating the perfect opportunity to fool that monster buck into coming in and giving you a shot. Use whatever scent you can find to create your scrape there are tons of mock scrape kits you can buy. Find what you can and use the transplant tree to make it perfect for your situation and give you the best opportunity to fill that empty spot on your wall.
Well I made it to the deer woods on Wednesday it was around 1:00pm when I made it to the woods it was 73 degrees slight wind and clear so I was sweating and the mosquitoes were terrible. I stopped where we normally camp to check the pond that’s nearby and jumped three does close to the pond. Then I left and went to a field that we normally see a few cross in the evening. This was my first trip and had no idea that the field had gotten so over grown. The field was sticker bushes and brush about chest high. I figured somewhere there would be an area that wasn’t so bad and would be a good funnel to cross the field there is a saddle where I was planning on hunting. I was right at the end of the field it’s not so think and only shin high I set up and waited about 15 min and started calling. I was using a mixture of doe and fawn bleat and heard so noise behind me I blew the fawn bleat again and the noise started coming toward me and it stopped in an island of over grown thick trees so I blew the fawn bleat again and then got the surprise I got roared at by a mountain lion. I tried to get him out but every time I blew the bleat he just roared and kept getting angrier. I didn’t feel like sticking around tell dark not knowing if he would so I ran my butt out of there and drove my car back to get my tree stand. The rest of my trip was more less scouting different areas I normally don’t bother with. Like the ponds on the other side of the forest saw a few very small rubs but that was about it. There were more green leaves falling then I have ever seen before and a few trees are starting to turn. Hope everyone is getting to the woods and having better luck then me.
A study I found not sure where I saw it but it said big mature bucks don’t spend as much time on their feet as their counter parts the smaller immature bucks. They move less frequently then immature bucks. The study said that big bucks were only being on their feet 19% of the time or somewhere around that number. It also said that during the rut a big buck was just as likely to be moving at midday as any other time.
Find the covert trails that that monster will follow through their home range and core are as they travel and wait for him there. A monster will more likely travel thick and dark areas instead of open areas. When he does feed he will most likely be downwind of his feeding area if it’s a field and be hiding in thick cover before he comes out under cover of darkness. Set of 50 to 100 yards off a field able to watch a trail leading to thick cover before going to the field or feeding area. Ambush the monster as he moves to the thick cover hunt the cover not the feeding area. You might see deer out feeding but that monster wasn’t born that way he did it being smart and has made it through many deer seasons he’s not your average buck so don’t treat him like one.
Just my thoughts like I said before that monster probably isn’t going to move far beyond his core area so when he moves and is on his feet you need to make sure your there and are going to be able to see him. Hunt his home, the cover, and the thickest areas that have trails going to it check for tracks and find your monster.
When you find where you would like to hunt or think you nowhere you would like to hunt figure a few paths that you could take to get into your stand. After you figure it out try and clear it out a little so you’re not busting threw brush the whole way to your stand do it a week or so in advance not the day before you plan on hunting that stand. Move the dead brush and logs out of your path and mark any spot that you will be turning so you make sure to stay on path. Pick ahead of time where you plan on placing your scents since distance is hard to judge in the dark get in your stand and pick the trees that you have a clear shot if there is dead brush effecting your sight move it give yourself the best chance at getting the shot of a life time. I have seen deer stick their nose right to my scent wick so make sure you have a good shooting lane to your scent. Make the trees for your scents so it’s easy to find. Clear out below the tree your stand is at if you’re hunting from a tree stand. If your hunting from the ground clear out the area make sure that the area you clear out is big enough you can stretch out a little so you don’t get cramped up. Use some of the dead brush and build a small blind out of it. This is not to keep you unseen but to make it so use can move a little and it not be seen. If your bow hunting find your distance markers ahead of time so that you’re not trying to figure it out when the deer is already there and you are trying decide if you will take the shot and where. Think ahead of time anything that that could come up that you might need, have it ready so you do not have to think. Figure out where the cover is that a deer could use to sneak past you even if it’s out of sight know where the trails, bedding, cover, and anything. The way you get to your stand is important but leaving from your stand is just as important being silent coming in and out are equally as important don’t get lazy on your way out it could be just as harmful to your hunt. Just my thoughts take them or leave them best of luck!
Depending on where you camp and how you camp there are different things I and my camp buddies have figured out that work rather well I will go over a few in the post. If you camp in a field or a camping area that doesn’t have trees some of the things might be hard to do but.
My camp normally consists of our main living area for years it was a large tent and recently we upgraded to a camper. We normally have a canopy for our cooking stuff and food and a tent for extra gear. We also hang a large tarp in the trees and tie tarps to the sides to cut down on wind. Depending on the weather will have been known to hang more tarps in the trees to the camper or tent so that we can walk out to the fire or the food canopy and not get wet. Every year since 2008 that I have had the chance to camp and hunt I fly my American flag that I had in Iraq and an air force flag in our camp. We use a piece of tin and some big logs or a few concrete blocks. We put the blocks on the side of the fire and put the tin over the top you can put a lot of stuff on the tin and keep it warm we have even made coffee on it.
To put a tarp in the trees you find a rock about the size of a baseball find the center of the tarp and put the rock on the bottom side. Take a rope and tie the rock inside the tarp tie a rock to the other end and throw it over a big limb that is high in the tree and pull it up make sure you leave enough extra rope that you can adjust the height of the tarp. Tie off the corners and sides so the tarp looks like a roof and now you have protection and shade.
The extra tent used for your gear will give you more space in your living area and is very nice to have. The night before make sure to get the clothes out you will need in the morning so you aren’t walking over in the cold to get you clothes first thing in the morning.
Our camp normally looks like a small village but there are normally only 3 to 4 of us there. We had the big tarp up one year and had very high winds and lots of rain a tornado hit the forest not too far from us and we only had one rope break so it can handle it you can make adjustments as you need. When it’s a very wet season it makes it nice when you have a dry place to sit and you can still be outside and able to watch the woods and your gear will stay dry. Just a few ideas use them if you want up to you.
Another weapon we have is our scents some tend to be more effective than other and the way you use them could make a difference on if they are effective or not. We need to try and think like a deer when we are using scents and use some common since.
Before you go out you need to try and use cover scents or scent eliminators to mask human odor. You can spray your boots with fox urine or something like that for whatever human odor on your boots. I also use fresh earth scent and cover myself in it and I use scent wafers on my person to cover my human odor. Where I hunt a combination of fresh earth acorn and pine scent wafers are used on my person as cover scents. Use what is prevalent in your area.
Drag lines- a drag lines is simple most hunters tie a string or rope to a piece of cloth then drag it behind them from where they enter the woods the problem here is that the scent depletes as you walk meaning that by the time you get to your stand that is the weakest smell of your drag line. The way to correct that is to walk to your stand then start your drag line 100 to 150 yards down the trail if you’re watching more than one trail walk back to your stand re soak the piece of cloth and drag the other trail. Now you have the strongest scent right where your stand is meaning that you have a better chance of luring a buck to you.
Hanging scents on wicks or wafers trying to cover your area with the scent is great but when you do that it’s not giving you much time in the morning in those so crucial hours first thing in the morning to have that scent dispensed and in the air. What you can do is put them out the night before and makes a perimeter covered in scent then in the morning freshen the scents and wait.
Mock scrapes work best during the rut and post rut find a scrape and within the area or close to it make a mock scrape to get the buck making the real scape to feel intimidated and work that area more often you can even throw a doe urine scent wick above your mock scape to add to it.
Early in the season food source scents and curiosity scents work best. Curiosity scents can be used during the rut to lure does into your area and hopefully a buck will fallow. Sexual attractants work best during rut.
My thoughts are with all then scents if you throw a decoy and calling using your entire arsenal you are putting the odds in your favor. Be smart know where you are hunting know what is in your area and start building and planning how you will execute your plan. Scout and be prepared. Hope this helps!
With the fires this year we need to get to the deer woods and see what the damage is in the area we hunt. It could really change were we are planing on hunting. The scouting this year should probably start early so we can come up with what we are going to do. Any time I'm in the deer woods is a good day.
My days off are threw the mid week so we probably wont be going on a scouting trip together but i will keep everyone posted on what I see. I'm probably going to take my bow to the deer woods this next week.
Putting the odds in your favor!
So this is my first entry of what I think would help most hunters out. We all use grunts bleats and rattle but one big thing we all forget is a decoy. How many times have you thought you head a deer and you called to it and you heard a reaction of it moving but you couldn’t see it? Chances are that deer is looking toward your direction looking for the deer. If he doesn’t see or smell you your chances go up but it’s still going to be on edge and nervous because they can tell were the noise is coming from but can’t see a deer so it will circle around tell it can get wind of what’s making the call. What you do to increase your chance of that deer stepping out so you can get a shot is throw out a decoy. A mature buck will come in to run the decoy buck off if you make your decoy a doe then he will come in thinking she is a hot doe if you use your scents. You have now given the deer a reason to come in because it can see another deer. Just my thoughts take them or leave them it’s up to you but it’s just my thoughts on putting the odds in our favor.
Make your target a decoy.
Yeah I know they aren’t the cheapest but I was just at the store and saw that a bow target is cheaper than a decoy. You can add to the realism of your target by putting scent on it and if you have a set of antlers you don’t have on the wall attach them to your target then next deer you kill cut the tail off and attach it to your target. You could even go as far as to take the hide of the next deer you kill and attach it to your target and you have a target that’s as real as it comes.
A cold snap triggers the rut.
That’s not true. The rut happens at about the same time every year despite what the temperature is. It is true that daytime deer activity is lower when temperatures are warm. Bucks are still rutting when it is warm, they just move at night.
Big bucks are the only ones that breed does.
not true if it was, only a few does would get bred each year. A buck usually locks down for 24 hours or more when breeding a doe. While some does come into heat a little earlier or a little later than others, most are ready to breed at about the same time. This means during peak breeding times there are plenty of does to go around for all the bucks in a given area.
Calling only works during the rut.
I honestly don’t think calling during the rut is even the best time. Bucks are busy trying to prove themselves as the dominant buck during pre-rut. A grunt, snort-wheeze, or rattling can be great at that time. I’ve called at one buck only to get the attention of one or more other bucks during pre-rut. tone it down during post rut. Soft grunts and doe & fawn bleats are usually the way to go. You want to project security with your calling post rut. Most bucks have no interest in a fight once most of the breeding is done.
Scents don’t work.
The truth is scents don’t work all the time. However, scents can be the difference between seeing a deer at 75 yards and having one in range. The scent flows to a buck bedding area which often gets them on their feet if the conditions are right. Does it work every time? No. It works enough to make it worth the effort. Nothing in hunting works every time.
You can’t kill a big buck during a full moon.
It is harder to kill a big buck when the full moon shines. Deer, especially mature bucks, will typically go completely nocturnal during a full moon period. Bucks will get on their feet a little earlier during overcast, cool conditions regardless of the moon phase. Also, peak rut is peak rut. Don’t let the moon keep you out of your tree stand during the best time of the year. If you have time limitations, try to plan your hunts when the moon is mostly dark. But your odds of killing a deer go up based on hours in the woods, no matter what the moon is doing.
Pressure of tagging out
When we as hunters are in the woods we rarely have time to enjoy nature and the body language of the animals we encounter. We have the pressure of tagging out on are mind and can’t just enjoy what we have. When you have a deer in front of you that you have no intentions of shooting take the time to watch it and watch the body language.
I have been in tree stands and had owls perched on the tree next to me. I have seen bears, eagles, and turkeys all during deer season. It never fails it seems like the woods are full of turkey when I have my rifle. The more you watch the body language of the animals in the woods the more you will understand. When you just sit back and admire a young buck walking past your stand give him a head nod or salute saying I will see you in a few years. Watch how he acts figure out his body language and just enjoy him being there. If your trophy hunting and a wise old do blesses you with her presence enjoy it embrace it learn from her.
When that wise old doe is moving her ears around like a radar she doesn’t have any noise focused on but if she has them turned right towards you she has you pegged. When she moves her head from side to side she is trying to get you to move. When she starts stomping or blowing she is trying to get a reaction. When she’s flicking her tail and has her ears pinned in your direction she about to bolt that’s your sign to shoot. If she’s feeding a flicking her tail, that’s a sign that she is content.
By just watching the animals you will learn a lot like weather your scent elimination routine is working, how stealthy you are, and if you try calling one you don’t plan on shooting you will learn how well you’re calling truly is. You will be able to watch how the other animals interact with each other and communicate.
Enjoy nature you never know the next time you will have a chance to watch fawns playing, owls, and eagles soaring. Don’t take the time you have with nature for granted enjoy it learn from it. Watch the body language of the animals you never know how it will help you.
How do you know its deer season in Missouri?
Even the beer is camo
Coyotes are one of the biggest predators on deer other the hunters. Coyotes kill fawns in the spring and areas that have large populations of coyotes probably have a smaller deer population. They don’t just go after fawns they will hunt in packs and take down mature deer as well. Keep that in mind when you see a coyote run past your stand if you know what I mean!
Trust your instincts!
If you’re not finding many rubs but you know that there are deer in an area look for trails. Follow the trails search for cover, funnels, natural travel routes, and food. There is a chance that there are just a lot of does or that the bucks aren’t rubbing in that area could be other hunters are cutting the rubs down I don’t like it but people do it. If you know there are deer trust your instincts, I have said it before but I will say it again hunt the does the bucks will show up. Do the foot work when I find a good trail I will walk it or close to it searching for what I think is a buck’s bedroom. Just because the rubs aren’t there don’t mean that monster isn’t in the area. If your only finding rubs that are small still hunt that buck I have seen rubs and ignored them thinking it was a small buck and then found out it’s a monster that has antlers that are so big and close together that he can’t rub the big trees you are looking for. Hunt the areas that you know the deer will travel threw and where the pressure is going to push them. Just trust your instincts!
Any time monster!
From my experience hunting I feel there is no better or worse time to be in the woods if you’re hunting a monster. I have seen mature bucks on their feet moving threw out the day morning, mid-morning, afternoon, midafternoon, evening and late evening. A mature buck travels at his own pace and will be cautious as he does. Meaning it will take him longer than other deer to get from one place to another traveling the same distance as the other deer.
By slipping into his home or core area you’re probably going to have to plan on hunting all day. Hunt be aggressive with your calling and be ready for him at any time. When you infiltrate these areas stealth and scent control is most important. By calling aggressively that mature buck will come in trying to intimidate. That mature buck will bed down threw out the woods to listen, smell, and see what’s around. You may find him bedded down anywhere.
So being slow and monticules is very important when you’re walking in and out of the woods. Don’t get down on yourself when you’re hunting that monster just because he didn’t walk through today. That doesn’t mean he won’t be there tomorrow if you bust him out one day don’t think he won’t come back give him a day or two and hunt him again he will be back. Trusts your skills don’t doubt or psych out yourself you have to have faith.
Anytime you can be in the woods you have a chance. As much as we all think we know and try to predict deer movement we aren’t deer and we don’t know everything. We can try all we want and we will never be 100% correct. The factors we use aren’t all of them because we don’t know them all. We will never know all of them!
Just my thoughts any time you have a chance to be in the woods you need to be so use it. Use your knowledge and skills but remember you don’t know everything no one does. Hunt all times of the day and hunt hard go to his home hit him in his home where he feels safe. If you want that monster you can’t expect to predict everything. Hunt even when the conditions and time aren’t perfect you have a chance. Every time you’re in the woods you’re giving yourself a chance.
Old rubs new stories
I recently hunted some property I had never been. I had looked at my topo map and highlighted areas I wanted to check out. I walked the property for about an hour and a half taking mental notes.
I found an old rub line and followed it threw some real thick stuff all the way from the top to the bottom. I found a deer trail that was used so often that it was bare dirt and looked like a cattle trail. I set up 20 yards from the trail and hung some scents sat and called for about 45 minutes. My time to hunt was up I gathered my scents and gear and started to leave when I found a mature buck skeleton I put the skull on my pack.
I was sure this was the buck that made the rubs I followed to the trail. I wasn’t sure where I was going to hunt now. I started walking the deer trail looking at the tracks when I was about 45 yards away from where I was sitting I got snorted at. I looked up and there was a monster standing on the trial looking right at me hair standing on end and stiff legged. He had been walking right at me down the trail and I didn’t have a shot because I was leaving and my time was up.
Now I know the skull I found isn’t the only mature buck in that area. I know where I’m going to hunt and I’m planning a hunt to try and bag the monster.
Just my thoughts what I’m taking from this is that old rubs can lead you in the right direction the buck may not be there, he may be dead, or moved on but if he felt safe there are other bucks that will fill safe there. Live and learn my heart was broke when I found that skull and I wasn’t paying attention I learned the hard way you always need to be ready and not to count yourself out. Anything can happen and use every hunt as a scouting trip and a learning experience.
Tips for moving silently and without being seen
Cut a 2 or 3 foot branch from a cedar tree hold it to your chest so that your chest and face are covered and move through the woods.
Get a pair of felt bottomed wading boots to soften your step. If you wet the felt it will make them quieter.
Wear a gillie suit or leafy jacket top to break up your silhouette.
Fleece or soft cotton pants won’t make as much noise when they snag on brush.
Wrap strips of tape around your pant legs so they don’t make noise when you walk.
Kneepads dyed brown green or camo will keep you from getting uncomfortable and moving when you’re kneeling to make a shot.
Tie a feather or piece of string to your bow to keep track of wind direction.
Face paint or mud will hide the glare and shine of your skin. And won’t get in the way when you go to shoot like a hat or facemask can.
Field points - In the corner of fields you will see lots of deer, field points probably not. A doe will lead a buck to a field point to get them away from all that activity so it’s a quiet spot that she can watch the fields around her.
Chase- rut the bucks and does will do there chasing in normal places to find a mate. Find the chase area and walk the edges look for the closest place that is thick but not too thick that a buck and doe can go when the rut kicks in.
Island of cover- an area of brush, grass, or kind of thick cover in a field is a normal mating spot. It normally has food to feed on around it for them to eat when there not breeding.
Draws- does will run bucks down into deep woods and hallows between 40 and 80 yards wide then back up on top along the sides. They will at some point head down into the draw to breed.
Grassy areas- You won’t find deer breeding in big areas of grass lots of doe’s bed in that area and there is too much activity going on. But a small area of tall grass that isn’t part of the field will be were you find them breeding.
Cedars- you will find deer breeding in cedar patches that are away from other cover but close to chasseing areas. They won’t all have breeding deer in them but the ones that do will be great.
Down trees- small trees aren’t enough you need to find a big tree that has fallen that gives them cover and food to feed on. If a storm has knocked down a lot of trees look for a cluster of the trees set away from others and by themselves and there is a good chance you will find a big buck and doe breeding in that cluster.
Field & streams top days to hunt!
Oct 24th: predicted to be the start of the seeking phase. The bucks should start moving during the day as they start searching for a doe.
Nov 2nd: the full moon is gone the morning deer activity should be higher by now. You should be finding more scrapes and the monsters to be on their feet looking for a doe.
Nov 6th: by this time we’re in between the seeking and chasing phase and there has been some breeding. Some does are in estrus at this point. Use all your weapons calls, decoys, and scents to get that buck to come your way.
Nov 10th: field & stream says today is the best day of the 2012 rut. Most the does are in estrus so all the bucks are rutting very little moon means the deer should be moving all day. SIT AND HUNT ALL DAY!!!
Nov 19th: the hight of the rut has come and past you can still find bucks looking for hot does. With the moon rising at midday the deer should be feeding early. The young bucks should be about done but the older bucks should still be searching for a hot doe. Figure out where these old bucks will be searching for does.
Nov 24th: with the moon it should have good daylight activity.
Dec 9th: the beginning of the second rut unbred does will go back into estrus and the fawns will go in for the first time. The main feeding area should be a hot spot for the recovering deer from the main rut and getting ready for winter.
Hunt the does
If you’re trying for a monster buck you need to focus on the does the older more mature does normally go into heat sooner and before the younger does. The mature bigger older bucks no this and will stick around the does. That’s why the pre-rut can be your best opportunity of tagging that monster buck. You need to make sure your area has everything the does need and that will keep them around like food, bedding, water, and cover so they feel safe.
Find were the does are feeding and bedding down. If there are multiple trails you can drop a tree in the trail creating a funnel to crowd the deer towards your stand. On public land it’s most likely that it is against the law to cut a tree down so find a down tree and thick brush to drag to the trail you’re trying to alter. So that you’re not creating a bedding area deer will crawl under brush to bed so be aware of that. The point of this is to try and dictate the trail the deer are going to take and get them to travel in your direction by creating a funnel.
During the pre-rut a mock scrape can be deadly and work well. Make one close to your stand like I talked about in my last article. The does and bucks will visit it and the goal is to give you a shot at that monster since the does will be visiting it so will he.
Don’t follow a deer trail in or out yes it might be the easiest path but it will cause the deer to use another trail and not bother with that area. Even if that means you have to walk a further distance don’t be lazy and hurt your odds by traveling deer trails.
A buck doesn’t make a straight line from bedding to feeding he will wonder about making rubs, checking scrapes, and checking doe beds. So you need to have your stand close to the buck bed and hit him in his home like I talked about in an article that I wrote earlier. The stand you place there you should hunt in the evening setting up an ambush on the monster. You want to be close to his home since he doesn’t travel the same trail every time.
Just my thoughts you need to hunt the does and in turn you will get your shot at the monster. Make sure you know were the does are, were they bed, feed, and travel. The mock scrape and cover will have them hanging around if you don’t put too much pressure on them. Pay attention to how and where you enter and leave the woods. Alter the woods and use terrain to your advantage. Funnels will be your best friend if you use them correctly. Best of luck this year!
Practice shooting with your pistol
I read an article in game and fish magazine called “handgun shooting tips for hunters”. In the article the guy says to think of a pistol as a miniature rifle everything you have to do with a pistol are the same as a rifle. Trigger pull, proper breathing, proper stance, and sighting in on a target. There are many more pistol ranges than rifle ranges and the ammunition is cheaper. The benefit for shooting more often will help and be seen when deer season rolls around.
Just my thoughts’ practicing is always something we can use and who doesn’t like shooting. When you shoot so much that you don’t think about your shot you’re more likely to make it. When you practice with your pistol focus on your fundamentals then apply them to your rifle and you should be fine. Make sure your ready when that monster shows up. If it saves you money then it’s a win win. Best of luck this year.
Turdy Point Buck Lyrics