When you scare deer away from your hunting area on the approach to your stand don’t feel like all is lost. Play it cool and follow through as quietly as possible. Deer often move away from an area and return afterwards. Other deer will most likely be close behind.
When you see a doe and her fawn nuzzling or possibly nursing it doesn’t mean that the days hunt is going to be any less exciting. In truth it means that you’ve done your homework and the deer are unaware of your presence. A buck could approach at any moment.
When you happen upon a buck that was bedded take note of the area and it’s immediate sorroundings. Deer often will bed in similar areas on another parcel of property. Put the clues together from one area to another bedding area and hunt the trails in between to catch the deer traveling.
When deer have visually spotted you leaving your scaffold or hunting blind don’t stop and try to hide or duck for cover. Continue walking as if you are unaware of their presence. This will raise fewer alarm bells and the deer may just return to their routine as they listen ot your departure.
When you see a lot of young bucks around your hunting area don’t feel as if this is as good as it gets. Not all antlers or body masses of deer grow at the same rate. There’s typically at least one big buck in the bunch that may be worth your attention and in time the dominant buck will appear.
When a smaller buck keeps looking back on the trail he just arrived on it could be because he is keeping tabs on a larger more dominant buck. If you see this happening try to refrain from shooting the smaller buck until you can verify what has it’s attention and your patience could pay huge dividends.
There are times when getting off a clean shot at a deer is simply impossible without getting busted. Take these times and study the deer as well it’s escape route once he leaves the area. He could very well point in the direction of a second chance or a new spot to create a better ambush point.
Deer will often hang tight in water up to their belly if they know danger is nearby. It’s not as uncommon as you might think where deer will literally spend the entire day in water for security. Take advantage of this opportunity by checking the perimiter of large ponds for access trails.
Groups of bachelor bucks are impressive but dont expect them to hang in these groups once the weather starts to change. Take advantage of this time when bucks congregate to evaluate your local herd and possibly pinpoint the buck you plan to hunt. Pictures and notes if possible are in order.
Flowing water such as rivers and creeks don’t only provide a drinking area for deer they also provide a barrier. Many hunters are not equipped to cross a river or deep creek. You can increase your hunting opportunities by wearing a pair of hip waders for just such an occasion.
The start of colder weather and the presence of snow will stir a major change in a whitetails daily actions. Food sources will diminish and deer will change their daily feeding patterns. You should also change your patterns of hunting to match that of the deer. Look for the food sources.
Deer may not seem to have a very robust vocal range but if you’re looking past the option of talking to, or calling, the local deer herd, then you’re missing out on the action. When calling deer you don’t need to sound like a giant. Remember the deer have extremely good hearing.
After you’ve shot a deer it’s common to get lost in the moment and rush of adrenaline. Try to keep your eye on the deer as it leaves the area and listen once the animal fades out of sight. Many times you will hear vital clues as to the direction the deer is heading. When the shot is perfect you may even hear the deer fall.
When that big buck walks directly under your treestand the shot can be awkward and often hunters just aren’t comfortable with the shot yet they let an arrow fly hoping for the best. Try to hold your composure in this situation. Most times the big buck will present a better shot.
When you’re rattling try to start out with some small antler touches or tickling as it’s called. Most deer never fight and very few start out with an all out brawl. Start small and work your way up to full blown battle rattling with some ground scraping thrown in for realization.
Busted again by that smart old doe standing right in front of you. Keep your cool as this is no time to lose patience. Once the deer leaves keep in mind that the hoof stomping left a warning scent on the ground. Try to shoot the next deer before it reaches that spot.
If you’re seeing a lot of young does or fawns around your hunting area this could spell bad news. Fawns on their own can mean the mother has abandoned them as she went into estrus. Try some estrus scent and doe bleats to attract a nearby buck chasing does.
Late season whitetail deer hunting varies across the state but in the northern regions is definitely means snow and cold weather. Try glassing the eastern slopes of hills in the mornings to locate deer soaking in the first early morning rays and poay attention to the sun during the hunt.
Staging areas between transitions in terrains are notoriously hot spots for whitetail bucks. The bucks hang inside the denser vegetation before venturing in to the open fields and meadows. Setting up in sight or on the edge of these transition areas is always a good bet.
When a big buck is staring you down from inside bow range it’s a tough sell to simply tell someone to stay calm but in essence it’s the only sage advice. Look down at your feet if necessary using your peripheral vision to spot movement. Make your move once the buck moves.
When you see a buck of this size checking it’s backtrail it probably isn’t worried about a bigger buck moving in on it’s territory. He is sure he is king of the jungle in this neck of the woods. More likely the threat comes from a human or predatorial nature. If you’re going to shoot, now is the time.
Bucks that are approaching the rutting stages will begin to show visual keys and physically changing attributes. Bucks will often lower their nose to the ground to examine a trail where the doe has recently crossed in an effort to guage her stage of estrus.
If you’re a fisherman you have probably stumbled upon that area of flooding along a creek or river that was created by a beaver dam. This area of flooding is a perfect source of water and security for whitetail bucks as any approach by a hunter is heard long before he becomes a threat.
Deer are like any animal that have the instinct to know a storm is approaching. Some say that they can also guage the severity of that storm. Regardless of the science behind the matter you will find deer moving more before a storm sets in. Try to hunt as many hours now as possible.
If you live in an area where the deer yard-up every year you have the visual guage of the deer herd. You can actually visually determine of the deer yard is larger than the year before or vice versa. Use caution approaching the herd as this is a critical moment for their winter survival.
Bucks tend to rub and scrape quite frequently in transition areas where fields and forest meet. You can take this information a bit further by following old logging roads as the bucks will make use of this visually appealing area to create both rubs and scrapes.
Hunting fields of tall grasses is no easy chore and whitetails understand the relative safety this provides. You can use this scenario to your advantage by still-hunting the grasses on a windy day which will cover your movement, scent, and any sound you might make.
When you see a set of antlers like the ones shown above it’s easy to understand that this buck has been working the area and we’re fast approaching the rut. Check the area for rub lines and scrapes to determine if more than one buck is working the same territory.
All too often a hunter, especially an archer, will not take a moment to read the visual signs that a deer is sending. A deer with really stiff legs is probably nervous about approaching and this may continue through it’s grazing for a bit. Let the deer relax before taking a shot.
Early in the season while bucks are still in velvet is a great time to get an idea of what caliber animal is in your hunting area. While not all of these bucks will stick around, especially if you’re seeing bachelor buck groups, it’s fairly certain that one of these animals will remain resident to the area.