John's Journal...

Overlook the Obvious for Successful Deer Hunting

Identify Other Hunter’s Locations

Greg MillerEditor’s Note: You can scout out the perfect spot for taking deer, put up your stand and camp out to wait for deer to come along, but all your work will do you no good if you’ve picked an obvious place that other hunters also will choose. The trick to bagging big bucks is to think like other hunters don’t. Here are some tricks I’ve learned through years of deer hunting that have helped me overlook the obvious and take more bucks.

Fly the Area:
Tournament bass fishermen discover hot spots for big bass by flying over the region they want to fish a day or two before a major tournament. From the air, they can spot underwater stumps, brush, subtle water changes, underwater drop offs and ledges where bass tend to hold that they probably won't see from a bass boat when they travel down the lake. Using a hand held GPS receiver, successful bass anglers will mark the places from an Greg Miller airplane that look like they'll hold bass as waypoints. They'll also make notes using the waypoint numbers they have given these hot spots on their GPS receivers. Then they can return later and read about what they've seen at certain points as they’ve flown over the lake.
This same tactic will produce big bucks for deer hunters. By flying over an area that you hunt while looking at a map of it, you can locate obvious deer hunting sites that you may not spot from the ground. Follow this checklist of what to watch for when you fly over the land you plan to hunt. Look for:
• obvious funnels where two different types of habitat come together creating a wooded bottleneck;
• edges of habitat where deer often travel;
• dry land surrounded by water;
• openings in thick cover that you can't see from the outer edges of that cover;
• thick cover bedding areas close to food sources like agricultural crops, clear cut regions near acorn producing hardwoods or thickets on the edges of railroad tracks;Greg Miller
• low places or saddles in mountains where deer can cross the mountains;
• thick cover spots beside campsites, homes, check in stations, roads and hardwoods;
• drainage ditches or small creeks that run through dense cover;
• obscure trails well away from access roads and the backsides of property where no one ever hunts; and
• other hunters. To learn where everyone else hunts, fly over your hunting property on a day when most hunters hunt, generally opening weekend, the last weekend of the season or a holiday during deer season. Since hunters wear blaze orange, you can spot them easily. Then you can avoid the obvious high hunter pressure spots.
Locate Other Hunters:
If you belong to a hunting lease or have hunted the same public lands for three or four years, get a map of the area. Mark all the places where you've seen other hunters to pattern the hunters just like you pattern deer. Most hunters hunt the same places every Greg Milleryear and take the 1 1/2 to 2 year old bucks that they've always harvested from these sites. If you eliminate these spots from your hunting plan before you ever begin to scout, you can scout the areas where no one else hunts and locate bigger and better bucks faster.
Look for Heavy Traffic Areas:
The Bible in Isaiah 11:6 says, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb," and here's another key to successful deer hunting. The lamb only lies down beside the wolf without fleeing because the wolf doesn't pose a threat to the lamb. In certain areas where humans come in close contact with deer often and pose no threat to the deer, the animals won't spook if they see or hear humans. Classic examples of heavy human traffic regions often overlooked by hunters include a briar patch behind a clubhouse, the thicket next to a farmer's garden or a dense-cover thicket close to the campground. Also search the tall grass not 50 yards from the check out station, the little thicket about 25 yards from the gate that unlocks the hunting property and the area within 100 yards of where everyone parks their vehicles. Too, don't forget the edges of the road everyone drives on to come into the hunting property.

Tomorrow: Forget the Feeding Site

Check back each day this week for more about "Overlook the Obvious for Successful Deer Hunting"

Day 1: Overlook the Obvious
Day 2: Identify Other Hunter’s Locations
Day 3: Forget the Feeding Site
Day 4: Other Tactics
Day 5: Hunt When Other Hunters Don’t


Entry 376, Day 2