John's Journal...

Hunting Cold Weather Buck Deer with a Bow

Day 5: Deer Hunter Travis Hall – Rattling Pulls in More Deer During the Prerut and the Rut and the Value of Spotting and Stalking

Editor’s Note: When snow falls, and the temperature drops, you'll find hugging a heater much-more appealing than leaning-up against the bark of an icy tree to take a buck with your bow. In cold-weather conditions, you must make staying warm your first concern without wearing too-many bulky clothes. You also must know what the deer do under these weather conditions for you to locate and take them. These top hunters I’ve interviewed hunt in the ice and snow every year. Here's the bowhunting tactics they've used that have given them success in cold, bad weather.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View"In the West, we've found that the rattling tactic during the prerut and rut seems to pull the most deer and the best bucks to within bow range," Travis Hall from Morgan, Utah, Browning’s President and CEO, says. "I'll set-up on the downwind side of a thicket, get into my tree stand and begin to rattle. After I've gone through a rattling sequence, I hang my rattling antlers up out of the way, get my bow in hand and my release clipped on the string and prepare for the shot. Often deer will come in quickly to the sound of the rattling antlers. One of the advantages of rattling when you have snow on the ground is that the sound of the antlers seems to travel further than it does when no snow is on the ground. Then you can call deer in from much greater distances.

"I've also discovered that by wearing using the new ScentSmart suits that Browning makes helps prevent one of the biggest problems that tree-stand hunters face in cold weather when they use the rattling tactic. Often if a buck is close when he hears rattling antlers, he'll circle the spot where he's heard the rattling come from and move in from downwind. If a buck does circle downwind before he comes in to the antlers, he's less likely to smell you. You also can stay extremely warm in this suit, which means you can hunt longer and draw your bow easier than you can if you're cold and shivering."

Why Spot and Stalk:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View"To be honest, we don't use tree stands much here in the West," Hall mentions. "We prefer to use spot-and-stalk tactics to take deer, whether they're whitetails or mule deer. After a snow when the white stuff is like powder, you actually can move much quieter than you can through the leaves, sticks and rocks on the ground. Once I spot a deer, I'll try to circle downwind of him and then stalk in close enough to get a shot. I like to bowhunt when a little wind is blowing and hunt into the wind to keep my odor from the deer's nose. The wind also masks the sound of my movement. Even if the deer does see me, he may not pick up my movement, because the bushes and trees around me are moving."

How to Hunt Deer Up CloseDeer and FixingsTo get “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” and “Deer and Fixings” by John E. Phillips, go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Check back each day this week for more about "Hunting Cold Weather Buck Deer with a Bow"

Day 1: Chris Kirby Explains Why He Scouts for Deer and Where to Hunt Deer in Cold Weather
Day 2: Chris Kirby Explains the Importance of Wearing Camouflage, How to Call Deer in the Snow, and Why He Shoots from a Sitting Position
Day 3: Deer Hunter Chuck Jones tells us Why He Hunts in Cedar Thickets in the Late Season
Day 4: Avid Deer Hunter Chuck Jones Explains When to Hunt During Bad Weather and Why to Drive Deer in Bad Weather
Day 5: Deer Hunter Travis Hall – Rattling Pulls in More Deer During the Prerut and the Rut and the Value of Spotting and Stalking

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Entry 701, Day 5