The Ins & Outs to Deer Hunting Success
There’s a million in and outs of deer hunting, and ways to chase America’s favorite game animal. However, possibly the most important of all is the way you go in and out of the stand on every single hunt. Your entrance can make or break your hunt, and your exit can make or break future hunts. Entry and exit is vital to scoring a trophy whitetail, and is not the time to get lazy. It may seem impossible or too difficult to concern yourself with, but if you can follow some practical thinking guidelines, your chance at a great deer is greatly increased.
If you can’t see them…. they can probably still see you.
The first step to improving your in and out, is to admit that deer have a greater set of senses than you. Most people might argue with you that despite their superior sense of hearing and smelling, a deer’s vision is inferior to your own. People argue that because a deer has dichromatic vision (they can only see 2 colors and variations of them) that they pale in comparison to a human’s trichromatic eyes. Here’s the problem with that assumption, a deer’s vision is simply different. A whitetails’ eyes are tuned keenly to breaks in patterns and, in turn, movement. They are masters at spotting predators moving through their area. Deer can easily spot a stalking coyote at a long distance, and i can say inexplicably, if you are reading this you’re bigger and less stealthy than a coyote. So what then? Is avoiding being seen a moot point and all-together impossible? Not quite!
Change the Playing Field
We’ve established that deer will be able to see you if you’re not vigilant with concealing yourself. Now there is no magic stealth tactic that will guarantee you are able to slip past an unsuspecting whitetail. So, instead of changing yourself. Let’s change the playing field around you. Trees, earthen berms, and tall thick growing grasses are all excellent methods of concealment. Grasses of course are the cheapest and fastest method between these three. I personally choose to plant some form of tall grass to block off my silhouette. Sorghum varieties, egyptian wheat, and switchgrass are all very effect grasses for screening of food plot edges, ridge tops, or entry trails. The problem with these grasses is that they are annuals and require planting every year. Trees, especially pines, are another great source of screen. Norway spruce is a tree I have personally planted on my own property. These trees have a good survival rate, and are not attractive to deer in their youth stage so you save much time not having to cage off every tree. If you choose this route, typically about 6-8 feet is recommended for spacing of the trees, which will intertwine branches by maturity.
The last land-altering method is that of hinge cutting. I’m sure many of you are familiar with hinge cutting and its many benefits in the deer woods. Along with providing great cover and possible bedding for deer, hinge cutting can be used to block off your entry into the property. Hinge cutting the act of cutting a small immature tree halfway through and pushing it into the desired spot. If done correctly the tree can even stay alive and continue producing forage horizontally. This is an extremely popular method among outdoorsman and is a fantastic way to block yourself off from a whitetail’s view.
These ideas have all dealt with changing the ground around you to ensure proper entry and exits. Now, what can you personally change in your own strategy to help with this?
Avoid Being Patterned
Probably one of the best things you can do to avoid bumping deer, is to keep yourself from being patterned by them. Just as you have probably been devoting your summer to figuring out the deer on your land, these same deer have been building up a memory of you and your tendencies. In order to keep the deer in the blank, you must continually change the way you are using the property. If you are always pulling up in 5.9 24V Cummins with screaming turbo and slamming your door shut when you arrive at the hunting grounds, believe it or not deer will simply exit the area or be on-alert for you when they hear this sequence unfolding. Try to park farther away than you think you need to. Walking is far quieter! Always be vigilant with scent control even if you are just on the property for a few minutes to pull SD cards. Lastly, try to be where the deer are not at any time of the day. If you want to check a cam on a food plot, go onto the property when the deer are bedded and far away.
Most of the previous strategies have dealt with off season preparations. Now, when you are actually in the real deal and entering your stand, keep these few things in mind.
Wind Direction, Scent Control, & More
Wind direction is super important for your entrance. Is it just as vital as the wind direction in the stand you choose to sit. You want to enter the stand with the wind blowing your scent back towards the entry point of the property. Another obvious one is the issue of scent control. Scent control is needed head-to-toe. Simply wearing a scent free deodorant and spraying down is not going to typically be enough. You need to wash your clothes with some sort of scent controlling detergent (or baking soda for a cheap scent-free option). Residual ground scent is often left behind when you walk into and out of a property. Simply ground scent alone is enough to spook a deer out of the area. Make sure to spray down boots and keep them away from human scents when in storage. Get into the stand when the deer aren’t there. Just because you got to your food plot at 4:30, doesn’t mean you’ve avoided the deer. Know how the deer use your land. Sometimes getting to your stand at 8 o’clock could be just as good as being there hours before the sun.
In conclusion, you all are aware of the value of staying hidden from a deer senses. With these tips you can be an even more improved force in the woods and be one step closer to being a deer slayer!
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