To harvest a mature whitetail you have to become overly obsessed with all the details no matter how minor they might seem. The slightest mistake can mean the difference between having an opportunity at a mature buck and not seeing one all season.
A lot of hunters fail when it comes to access routes to stand locations. You have to get to and from your stands without alerting deer that you are in the area.
Keep Noise to a Minimum
The quieter you are the better. During the summer when you are setting stands think about the approach. Will it be easy to slip in and out undetected? If not this is the time to deal with it.
Either move the stand to a better spot or create a quieter route. If you are tipping off deer on the way to the stand it isn’t going to matter how perfect the setup is.
Will deer be able to see you? Walking a straight line across an open field to your stand might be convenient and shorter but if deer can see you it defeats the purpose. Hopefully you don’t assume that if you can’t see any deer they can’t see you.
Deer are very good at hiding and blending in. You on the other hand in full camouflage walking across a picked corn field do not blend in.
Here are some quick tips to consider:
• Mow a lane or path to your stand if possible so entry and exit aren’t noisy
• Plant clover lanes to walk on. Clover will not only provide food but it’s extremely quite to walk on even when it’s dry or frost covered
• Cut paths through brush so entering a stand site in the woods is easy
• Pick up and clear away any fallen branches or sticks that might snap when stepped on
• Trim up any low overhanging branches that might snag your clothing or equipment as you walk by
• If possible use a road for entry. Deer are use to seeing and smelling humans near a road
• Use shallow creeks or ditches as access to stands nearby
• If deer are use to seeing and hearing a golf cart or buggy on the property then consider having someone drop you off to far distance stands
• Plant a screen between your route and where you expect deer to be. Planting something like Egyptian wheat on the edges of bedding areas and food plots will not only make the deer feel safer it can help to screen your approach
• Use ridges and other terrain features to help conceal your presence
This was more of a unique situation, but I once hunted a piece of ground that butted up to a golf course. I was able to have a stand location at the very back of the property that never got pressured because I could walk along the edge of the golf course before cutting over to the stand.
I would only do so when the wind direction was blowing my scent towards the golf course not onto the property I was hunting. This made for a deadly quiet and scent free approach!
Play the Wind
Most hunters play the wind while hunting, meaning they choose the right stand according to the wind direction. But you should also consider the wind direction when going to and from your stands (like I did with the golf course route).
It’s best to have more than one access route to a deer stand. Choose the route that makes the most sense for the conditions. Example – you don’t want to walk by a bedding area in the afternoon if it’s downwind of your travel route.
Take one of your alternate routes or don’t hunt that stand because getting there will alert deer. Even if the stand itself is good for that particular wind it won’t matter if deer have already been alarmed.
Walk Like a Deer
Probably one of the best tips I’ve ever heard has to do with how you walk. Consider this, deer have heard the distinct crunch, crunch, crunch of a 2 legged predator walking through the woods and then either saw them or winded them.
Now most all deer associate that sound with man (danger)!
So when I heard that walking like a deer can fool them I was intriqued. Sometimes your footsteps are loud no matter how hard you try.
Dry leaves, crunchy corn stubble or a hard frost can make for a loud approach. The best thing do to is walk like a deer so they think you’re just another deer.
You know what they sound like when they walk, you’ve heard it a million times. They are slow and methodical. They take a step or two at a time then stop and look around.
Mimic this sound and even though deer may hear you, they may mistake you for another deer. This way you can reach your stand with out setting off a blowing doe alarm.
Be sure to give yourself more time to reach your stand when using this method. Walking like a deer means moving slower and taking longer to reach your destination but trust me, it’s worth it!
Entering and exiting your stand locations like a ninja will certainly increase your deer sightings as well as your chance at a mature buck. Try it and let us know how it works for you. Leave your comments below.