John's Journal...


How To Time Your Hunt

Click to enlargeEditor’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.

Although deer never do what we think they will all the time, usually they are creatures of habit. Generally, deer will feed at night or early in the Click to enlargemorning, return to their bedding area just at daylight and eat again just before dark. In regions of intense hunting pressure, deer may remain in thick cover all day or may feed in the middle of the day when the smallest number of hunters stays in the woods. During the rut, bucks often will appear in the daytime at any place that does frequent, including scrapes and feeding sites. Based on these assumptions, you can hunt two or three stand sites in one day, if you know how to navigate effectively. For instance, if you hunt a bedding area or a scrape next to a bedding place during the rut, then you'll probably see a buck just before daylight until an hour or two after daylight.

If the section of land you hunt has plenty of hunting pressure, you know Click to enlargemost hunters will leave the woods around 11:00 a.m. and return about 2:00 p.m. from their lunch breaks. After you've hunted a bedding region in the morning, you may want to move to a feeding spot where bucks may appear during the middle of the day to feed. They know they more than likely won't have a hunter encounter at that time of day. At 12:30 p.m. you may want to change stands again and move to a creek crossing or an escape trail, knowing that as hunters come back into the woods, they'll spook deer. The bucks then will head back toward their thick-cover sanctuaries. At 3:00 p.m. or so, you may want to move your stand site again and walk to a bedding area where you hope to see a buck leaving this region just before dark to go to his feeding place.

Click to enlargeHowever, just changing stand sites won't insure your success. You have to know before you move that when you get to the new stand site that you can hunt with a favorable wind, which allows the buck to walk to you without smelling you. You also must understand how far you are from the stand and in what direction you need to walk in to move quickly to that stand. A GPS receiver will give you this information if you've logged all your stand sites in as waypoints. Also with a GPS receiver, you can stay on your stand until the last minutes of shooting time and still walk out of the woods in the dark to your vehicle with no difficulty.


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 3