John's Journal...

PLOT YOUR WAY TO A BUCKClick to enlarge

What To Do When The Wind Changes

Editor’s Note: You can blueprint a deer's movements and accurately predict when, where and from what direction you can expect a deer to show up. But to have a successful deer hunt, you must get to your stand without spooking the buck you hope to take. Although most deer hunters know this fact, few sportsmen understand how to accomplish this feat. This week we'll look at ways to plot your way to a buck.

I had set up perfectly to take a buck last season. I had scouted the area and knew where the buck should come to feed in the late afternoon. I had gone to my tree stand in the middle of the day. Then if the buck came in early to feed I wouldn't Click to enlargespook him. After only 15 minutes in my tree stand, a strong wind started blowing from the east. I had my stand positioned to face the west because the prevailing wind in the area I hunted blew from the west or southwest. I knew I killed my chances for bagging a buck in this place, the longer I sat in my stand. My human odor blew toward the direction from which I expected the buck to come. I had two options. I could lie to myself and say, "I'm so clean, I've used so much odor killer, and I've got such a strong masking scent on that the deer probably won't smell me." Then I could try to convince myself I had told the truth, knowing all the time I had lied. Or, I could leave that stand site, although I hated to, and move to another area where I could hunt into the wind and expect the deer to come from either the northeast, east or southeast.

I decided to use my GPS receiver to pull up on the screen the stand Click to enlargesites I had logged as waypoints. Originally, besides giving the stand sites numbers, I'd also included in the name of the waypoint the wind direction I needed to hunt from that stand site. While in my tree stand, I took my GPS receiver out of my pack, scrolled through the stand sites I'd entered as waypoints and located three stand sites I could hunt from with an east wind. I also determined my distance from each stand site and the direction I needed to walk to reach each spot. From the receiver, I saw that less than .4 of a mile away I had a stand I could hunt with an east wind. With this information and following the path the GPS receiver showed me, I knew I could leave my stand that wouldn't produce a deer and move to another stand site less than 20 minutes away that drastically would increase my odds of bagging a buck. Once I made the move, a nice 6 point came to within 50 yards of my stand just before dark; I took him.

Click to enlargeThe internal compass and steering screen of my GPS receiver as I left one stand site and headed toward another stand site . . .
* kept me on course,
* updated my progress constantly,
* showed me how far I was from the stand where I wanted to go and
* told me how much longer I needed to walk to get to where I planned to set up.
My GPS receiver gives me much more freedom to change stand sites quickly. It also helps me to consistently hunt from the right stand site at the best time of day, regardless of which way the wind blows.


Check back each day this week for more about PLOT YOUR WAY TO A BUCK...

Day 1 - Plot the Direction of Your Buck
Day 2 - What To Do When The Wind Changes
Day 3 - How To Time Your Hunt
Day 4 - How To Find Your Buck
Day 5 - Why You Hunt More Effectively With GPS


Entry 276, Day 2