John's Journal...

Make a List to Successfully Bowhunt Deer

Day 4: Questions to Ask Yourself on the Day You Plan to Hunt Deer

Editor’s Note: The little things that may seem insignificant can make or break your bowhunt. Here’s how to spot potential problems.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTo make the best stand choice on the day the late Clarence Yates (see Day 3), an avid, longtime deer hunter, planned to hunt, he didn’t overlook little details.

According to Yates, “I always ask these questions:
* “Which area have I been away from the longest that has had the least amount of hunting pressure? I’ve found that deer are more likely to frequent good hunting sites when their chances of seeing hunters there are less. The least amount of hunting pressure that’s put on a region, the more likely the hunter is to see deer there during daylight hours.
 * “Which one of my hunting regions can I approach with a favorable wind? The wind direction on the day I’m hunting helps to determine where I’ll hunt. To make the proper stand choice on hunt day, I must know the direction in which I’ll have to walk to my hunting site, and what wind conditions are the most favorable for that particular stand.
* “Which stand has had the most deer activity of the sites I’ve picked? Oftentimes because of wind direction or due to the site with the most deer activity also has had the most hunting pressure, I won’t choose to go to the spot where I’ve seen the most deer sign. But I may pick a place that has less sign, a favorable wind and less hunting pressure.
* “How much food is left where I plan to hunt? Of my five-potential stands, the region with the most deer sign in it may have had the food depleted due to the deer’s intense feeding. Therefore an area that has more food in it but less deer traffic actually may be a better site to hunt than a spot that’s been extremely active the previous week.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View* “What effect is the weather going to have where I plan to hunt? If a storm hits on a hunt day, I may prefer to hunt a spot with really-thick cover, rather than an open feeding area. But if a warm front is moving in on my hunt day, I assume that the deer will be active.

“Identifying the best place to hunt on the day you plan to hunt should involve more than locating a tree stand site where there is evidence of a great deal of feeding activity. If you overlook small details like wind and weather conditions, hunting pressure and the availability of food on the day you plan to hunt, your entire scouting program may be just wasted time.”

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here on each. Or, go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) 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.

Tomorrow: Recover Deer by Identifying Every Sign

Check back each day this week for more about Make a List to Successfully Bowhunt Deer

Day 1: The Importance of Checking All Aspects of Bowhunting Equipment to Take Deer
Day 2: Pattern Your Bowhunting after the Greats
Day 3: Don’t Overlook Anything When You’re Scouting
Day 4: Questions to Ask Yourself on the Day You Plan to Hunt Deer
Day 5: Recover Deer by Identifying Every Sign

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Entry 839, Day 4