John's Journal...

Overlook the Obvious for Successful Deer Hunting

Forget the Feeding Site

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.

Forget the Feeding Site:
Ninety percent of hunters act just like I have in years past. When a hunter finds a tree with numbers of droppings around it, three trails leading to it and acorn shells all around where deer have fed, he'll set up a tree stand in that area. A hunter who sits there for three days without seeing a buck won't understand why. Although he's picked an obvious feeding site, more than likely three or four other hunters Greg Milleralso have discovered this same spot. Too, the deer only may feed there at night. Instead of hunting that feeding site, follow the trail back to the bedding place, usually a thick cover area like a 3 or 4 year old clear-cut, a big briar thicket or some other type of dense brush where the deer bed down during daylight hours. Plan to hunt within gunshot or bowshot of that thick cover region. If you hunt in the morning, get to the bedding site early enough to catch the buck returning to his bedding area after feeding during the night. Or, arrive at your stand site early in the afternoon, hunt with a favorable wind, and make no noise going to or climbing into your tree stand, in hopes of seeing the buck leaving his bedding place to feed.
Plan Your Hunt a Year in Advance:
Most hunters start thinking about deer hunting just before they arrive atGreg Miller their hunting camps. They make their hunting decisions based on the experiences they've had the last time they've hunted. However, successful deer hunters who bag the big bucks decide where to hunt a year in advance. They begin to scout after deer season by moving into bedding sites and searching for deer trails, scrapes, rubs and brush infested, overlooked places where no one has hunted the previous year. You'll find that the spots you've singled out for hunting after the close of deer season last year will yield the most and the biggest bucks this year. Scout for deer right after deer season ends to pinpoint the places where the big bucks have held during the season and where no one else has wanted to go for fear of spooking the big bucks.
Work Hard For a Big Buck:
No one usually carrieGreg Millers a canoe, a belly boat or an inflatable raft with him when he deer hunts. However, often you'll find the most-productive place to bag big bucks is on the opposite side of some type of water. Older age class bucks like to bed and hold in regions where the hunter has to cross water. Using water as a barrier, the deer can see and hear the hunters as they approach. The deer also have learned that most hunters won't cross deep water to come after them. Because today you can buy small cylinders of air to blow up belly boats and rubber rafts, you can carry a flotation device into the woods with you to cross water with and hunt in places other hunters don't hunt. You can take a two man boat or a portable canoe to where you want to cross water to hunt, hide your craft and then return to your boat before daylight the next morning. The more labor and time you expend to hunt a place no one else can hunt, the better your odds for bagging a buck no one else will harvest.

Tomorrow: Other Tactics

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 3