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How to Tell Where Whitetails Are and What They’re Doing with Nationally-Known Bowhunter Jerry Simmons

Where You Should Be to Bowhunt

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: One of the best bowhunters I ever have met is Jerry Simmons of Jasper, Alabama, the creator of the Interceptor and Land Shark broadheads as well as numerous other hunting aids. Some years ago, in 80 days of one season of bowhunting, Simmons let arrows fly at 53 deer and harvested 43 of the whitetails. One of the primary reasons for Simmons’s success is because he finds places in the woods to put his tree stand where the deer will walk Click to enlargeto within 18 yards or less.
Simmons, with more than 40 years of experience, spends most of his time scouting.

Jerry Simmons not only scouts to determine where the deer will show-up but also to pinpoint the tree he should be in when the animals do appear. According to Simmons, “Sometimes I worry myself nearly sick trying to decide which tree I should climb and put my tree stand in to take a deer. But figuring out which tree to place your stand in is time well-spent, because you must put the stand in a tree where the deer will pass within 18 yards or less. Let’s look at three different options bowhunters may have for their tree stands. The first option is the food tree itself. The tree dropping the food may appear to be the perfect tree to climb. Perhaps it has plenty of cover in it, is the right size for your treestand and has adequate back cover. But when the deer approaches this particular tree, he always will come straight at you – which is one of the worse shots a bowhunter can take. I’ve found the best time to bag a deer is as soon as he gives you the opportunity to shoot within range. Therefore if a deer’s moving straight toward you, quite a while may pass before he turns sideways to you, which delays your shooting time. And, since the deer is walking toward you, I’m convinced he can see you better when you’re straight in front of him. Now, I wouldn’t totally eliminate standing in a food tree, because there may not be another tree close enough to it in which to place my stand. But I don’t want to get in the food tree, if at all possible. I prefer to use a tree that doesn’t offer as many advantages as the food tree to get a shot at the deer’s side rather than having to set up in the food tree.Click to enlarge

“Another tree within 15 yards of the food tree may have plenty of cover too. But perhaps from scouting, you learn that the deer will be coming from behind you from a bedding area along the trail that passes under the tree to get to the food tree. Although you can turn your stand to face a deer as it comes down the trail, once again you’ll be trying to take a head-on shot, which I don’t think is a good shot. The tree may be a skinny tree with not many limbs on it to break-up your silhouette or may be in an open area that can’t provide a good background to break-up your silhouette. I’ve Click to enlargelearned that if I can have at least one limb below my tree stand, I’m less likely to be spotted by the deer. I believe that when a deer sees a limb at the base of a tree or on its trunk, then he believes everything from that limb up is safe. I also like to have leafy limbs around me. I use a small portable band saw to trim limbs to have holes to shoot-through in the tree. But let’s say this secondary tree doesn’t have a limb below me and is relatively clean. Then probably I’ll   eliminate hunting from this tree.

“I consider the perfect tree for my stand to be a tree that’s off to one side of the food tree. If from the signs the deer seem to be approaching from right angles to that tree, then you’ll have a broadside shot. I’ll choose a tree that either has numerous limbs in it that I can hide in or a big trunk so that my silhouette will be broken-up against the tree. I prefer to place my stand in a large-trunked tree, because I have to worry less about back cover. Too, I believe the deer are less likely to see me. And, the type of tree stand I use allows me to adjust my stand to fit any size of tree in the woods. Too, I search for a tree with vines growing-up the sides of it, which also aid in breaking-up my silhouette and hiding me better. I want the deer to come in to that tree at less than 18 yards. Then I believe I have a better-than-average chance of bagging the deer.”

Tomorrow: When to Hunt Deer Where

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Tell Where Whitetails Are and What They’re Doing with Nationally-Known Bowhunter Jerry Simmons"

Day 1: How to Begin Bowhunting
Day 2: What about Droppings?
Day 3: Where You Should Be to Bowhunt
Day 4: When to Hunt Deer Where
Day 5: Middle-of-the-Day and Afternoon Spots for Deer  


Entry 532, Day 3