John's Journal...

Successful Deer Hunting’s Top Secret – Match Tactics to Terrain for Success

Day 4: Hunting Thick Cover for Deer

Editor’s Note: You know the deer are there – yet you can’t seem to get a buck in your sights. You may be hunting your area all wrong. And, if you do jump a buck, don’t fall for the often-repeated advice that they’ll stop and take a last look at you before they disappear. Most will tear out of a region without a backward glance.

Look to Thick Cover to Beat the Crowds:

Click for Larger ViewThere is one more characteristic you must look for after you’ve done other scouting to find the feeding, bedding and mating areas and the trails the deer like to use to these places. Many diligent deer hunters who have done their homework fail in their scouting, if they overlook hunting pressure as a factor. No matter how well a sportsman learns his woods and his deer’s habits and has calculated where the deer should be during the season, this one variable is often not considered. When hunters move-into the woods and begin to shoot at deer, and harass deer the animals often will change from their usual feeding and bedding habits. Sometimes the deer will become nocturnal and feed and move only at night. Click for Larger ViewWhen this occurs, only the sportsman who knows how to hunt the pressure really stands a good chance of bagging a buck. Make a special note as to where the thickest cover is in your woods, because that’s where the deer will head when excessive hunting pressure interrupts their normal routines. When there are a lot of hunters in the woods, the older, smarter bucks will move into these heavily-protected regions that may be big briar thickets, fallen treetops or deep sage grass to hide where a hunter may be able to walk by to within 10 feet of them and never see the deer.

If, after the first day of the season, you fail to see your deer in the regions where they’re supposed to be, check the thick places. Fresh trails should be leading in and out of the heavy cover. Once you find that the deer are utilizing the thick places, there are two tactics that you may try. First, you can take a stand on the edge of the thick stuff before daylight.Click for Larger View If the deer have become nocturnal from the hunting pressure, you may be able to surprise a buck as he comes from his feeding area and tries to move into the protection of the dense cover before the first light. The second tactic is to get into the cover with the deer. I’ve known hunters who crawl on their hands and knees through briars and brambles to get into thick places to wait in ambush for a big buck.

My hunting buddy, James, once told me, “I’ve got this one spot where I usually can get an older buck out of every year. I have to low-crawl for about 30-yards through galberry thickets and briars. When I get in there, I only can see about 10 yards, and for that reason I hunt with a shotgun and buckshot. Click for Larger ViewWhen a deer comes sneaking through, he’s usually going to be extremely close, and I have to sit really still. In close quarters like that, I always use a masking scent. I usually plan to fire at least three times, quickly, before the deer gets out of sight. Sitting still in a thick place for 8 to 12 hours is miserable. But when everyone else is walking-around in the clean woods, I generally can take a nice buck in my thick place.”

Tomorrow: Finding Someone Who’s Had Deer Hunting Success on the Property You Hunt

Check back each day this week for more about "Successful Deer Hunting’s Top Secret – Match Tactics to Terrain for Success "

Day 1: Learn White-Tailed Deer Methodology
Day 2: Learn the Terrain and Consult with Specialists to Help You Take a White-Tailed Buck
Day 3: Mapping Out Your Deer Hunting Strategy After Consulting with the Specialists
Day 4: Hunting Thick Cover for Deer
Day 5: Finding Someone Who’s Had Deer Hunting Success on the Property You Hunt

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Entry 637, Day 4