The satisfaction one gets out of any endeavor is typically proportional to what one particular puts into it. Proper stand preparation leads to self-assurance, and confidence leads to success. And nothing at all prepares us for a hunt like a do-it-oneself try.
Not only will you acquire a lot a lot more satisfaction from the hunt, you will also obtain a finding out experience you can use for the rest of your life, and even pass down.
In my naivety, I thought everybody prepared for each hunt. There are several pieces of the puzzle to contemplate, but I’m purposely not going to get into the “whole picture” with regards to land contours and/or structural positioning. But I do want to touch on a few specifics that will hopefully get you pondering.
This will likely not be an effortless study, and may possibly even seem confusing, but the fact is it will make you a much better deer hunter. You could even want to draw out some schematics to aid make items clearer.
Place, Location, Location
Over the years, my private accomplishment has depended on hunting terrain structure. As soon as in the proper region, you need to pick the right tree, and a lot goes into that choice. I’ve stated several times I’d prefer a mediocre tree in a great place more than a great tree in a mediocre place.
A single of the most critical aspects of the correct tree is an entrance/exit that will produce as little disturbance as possible. In nearly all cases, we are greater off hunting undisturbed deer — animals that are moving with some predictability. This is a fundamental truth.
When almost everything is naturally balanced in the woods, there will be a typical “buzz.” Background noises of birds, insects, frogs, etc. are expected and accepted in the everyday normal cycle/rhythm. Short-term dead silence is a sign of disturbance. Wildlife will choose up on it, and this is 1 of the factors I’m an advocate of arriving an hour early rather than a minute late in most stand situations.
I want a buffer to lessen the adverse effects of my disturbances on entering. Not disturbing the “buzz” is also why I’m a huge advocate of quietly remaining in position when the ambush has been established.
Changing stands or moving in/out for a lunch or potty break will all disturb the typical buzz, therefore costing you a half-hour prior to the frequent, anticipated, and standard noises return.
Entry and Exit Route
A low-effect entrance/exit is vital, and the intelligent hunter must think about sight, sound, and scent in the course of their approach and departure. Let’s use an instance of each in illustration. Often, your stand placement is just off the crest of a ridgeline.
Human nature is for old logging/skid roads to follow the crest of the ridge because it makes sense for ease of travel for humans and equipment. But it doesn’t make sense for the deer.
Though not often the case, game will generally shy away from becoming skylined on a ridgetop. They’ll tend to walk parallel to the crest on the downwind side. It often depends on the angle of the terrain and visibility (density), but normally they will prefer just far adequate off to the side so their silhouette is much less apparent, and exactly where they can see downhill just as nicely as if they had been on the crest.
You will also notice their passage will have a tendency to be on the downwind side of the crest. Consider about it — they can see downhill and can scent-verify areas upwind, and nevertheless not be silhouetted.
We, as hunters, need to do the identical issue. When entering a stand web site along a ridgeline, it’s effortless to stroll the logging road on the leading. This is fine when it is dark (another benefit of stand strategy ahead of light). But when it is already light, or in the afternoon, you’re generally far better off selecting your way in by walking parallel to the crest.
If I do stroll in on a logging road, I try to stroll in the “tire track” of the downwind side. For example, say the logging road is running north/south and the wind is coming from the west. You walk in the east tire track so the wind carries your residual ground scent off the road. This ensures any deer that take place to be walking the road later will be significantly less most likely to smell your passage.
In addition to this, if you use a scent drag on method, you will notice it will benefit you even much more so. Tie a scent-soaked rag to a brief cord off a 4-foot switch (or your bow tip), and drag it down the west tire track whilst you walk the east (downwind) track.
Since I have a tendency to sweat, I usually carry my extra clothing/gear in a backpack. When I get to inside one hundred yards or so of the stand, I’ll quit and put my layered jacket, facemask, gloves, and security harness on. It is an obvious advantage possessing your scent on your final approach blowing away from the direction you consider the deer will be coming/going.
A Silent Strategy
To make certain a silent method, I like to rake out a footpath to the stand. For those of you who have hunted bears more than a bait web site, you might have noticed that when a number of bears are hitting the bait, they will method it via distinct footprints.
This is a dominant/subordinate situation. A subordinate bear knows if he is caught by a dominant bear on his strategy to the bait, he will likely get his butt kicked. And it could even be a fatal mistake. For that reason, if you appear closely around the bait web site, you might find distinct, separate footprint/pad marks that bears will actually spot their pads in, in order to guarantee a silent entry. I do the same thing when approaching my stand web site.
Soon after the foliage drops, you’ll frequently have six inches of dry leaves covering the ground. Walking through dry leaves silently is hopeless. If there is any cadence/rhythm to your gait, it is nearly not possible to hold your entrance/exit covert.
At this point I ought to mention that leaving your ambush silently is just about as crucial as entering it silently, and in both cases I use the “bear trick” to my benefit.
Following the majority of leaves drop, I simply face the reality that I will be disturbing the region and go for it. Time your entrance for midday, being aware of what you will achieve will be worth it in the extended run.
You can use a standard garden rake with the stiff teeth, but a garden hoe really functions greater, due to the fact you won’t have to continually clean leaves from the teeth. Clear away the leaves every single couple of feet in order to place your boots on strong ground rather than six inches of leaves.
Yes, continued foliage dropping will fill in the raked spots somewhat, but you can just kick them away with your boot tip if necessary. Quiet foot placement is especially essential on quiet days, or if you are within hearing distance and/or sight of a known bedding location. Of course there are variables, but I have frequently quietly slipped into a pre-raked, preset stand and taken advantage of the situation.
You’ll know it was all worth it when soon after quietly getting into and settling in you see the flick of an ear and notice a deer bedded within eyesight. That almost certainly won’t happen on a calm day if you don’t pre-rake your approach.
An additional use for the hoe/rake is to generate a visually more clear trail or path in the leaves that will direct passing deer to angle slightly to your advantage. I’m not talking about moving them fantastic distances. I’m saying if their regular passage angles slightly away from your very best shooting alternative, you can shift their movement a little closer by raking out a far more apparent path/trail in the ground cover in order to create a visual that will catch their eye and shift their angle of movement to your advantage. As long as the visual continues on to exactly where they intend to go, you are fine.
I’ll also virtually daily break out my trusty ratchet belt hand pruners to open and clear the understory of brushy twigs, both from exactly where the deer will be walking as well as my own approach. An opening by way of the brush will shift the deer to the path of least resistance, and they will adapt to it in quick order. At the exact same time, I want to eliminate brush and twigs in my entrance path to reduce scent retention and the noise my clothing may produce as I pass by. This is all just widespread preseason detailing.
On approaching a stand setup, I attempt not to cross the primary travel pattern I am hunting. Sometimes there are situations exactly where you have to do that. In these circumstances, I will program my strategy to the stand right in a precut shooting lane. That way if the deer cuts my entrance trail on method and stops to smell my minimal ground scent, at least he is standing in a shooting lane.
This is a scenario that may also get in touch with for the application of what I get in touch with “bowling for bucks.” On the way into my stand, I’ll pick up a couple hedge apples (osage oranges) with gloved hands. For these not familiar with them, they are the fruit of the osage tree. They are yellowish/green, about the size of a grapefruit, with an outer texture that appears grooved — equivalent to a brain.
Farmers frequently use the trees themselves for fence posts since the wood takes a extended time to ground-rot, therefore the term “hedgerow.” And, of course, we all know osage wood is commonly employed to make lovely yellowish-colored wood bows. Anyway, following climbing into my stand, I’ll take a liquid or gel deer lure and run a bead about the hedge apple (if you do not have osage trees, you can use a normal apple. Just be positive it is legal).
The grooved texture of a hedge apple will accept the scent easier than an eating apple (specially if a gel scent is used). Soon after scenting up the fruit although in my stand, I’ll roll (as in bowling) the apple across the deer trail, right by means of 1 of my shooting lanes.
The common situation is the deer comes walking down the trail and hits the fresh scent where it crosses their path. Since of their ability for directional tracking, they will stop and appear in the direction you rolled it. It will supply you a standing, broadside shot at a deer searching the other way. Excellent. No directional, audible bleat required.
I also like to play the odds when prepping my stands by hinge-cutting trees for blockage. But prior to I get into hinge-cutting, let’s talk about girdling. It’s a practice where you reduce the bark all the way around a reside tree. It can be achieved with an axe, a hatchet, a handsaw, or chainsaw. This will cut off the life-blood to the tree and sooner or later kill it, causing it to topple in what ever path the wind takes place to be blowing that fateful day. You have no control more than that.
But the fallen tree will open up the canopy, enabling a lot more light to enter the surrounding grounds, as a result producing a lot more secondary growth and thicker understory for much better habitat densities. The advantage you have with hinge-cutting more than girdling is that you have manage over the angle you want the tree to fall for your advantage. Make sure you have total permission from the landowner, so he/she understands what you are undertaking.
My definition of hinge-cutting is cutting the living, upright tree straight across horizontally till it can be dropped/pushed more than in the desired path. Simply because the tree is not girdled or reduce all the way via, it hopefully will continue to live. Yes, the tree will be horizontal to the ground, but it need to nonetheless be capable to draw water and nutrients up from the soil.
This has the exact same impact of opening the canopy and allowing sunlight in, yet the nevertheless alive tree allows for continued leafing and promotes supplemental feeding where it was previously out of reach. It also increases ground bedding cover and densities, so you obtain numerous positive aspects.
I favor to use a great handsaw on trees that are six to eight inches in diameter, and generally 40 or 50-feet tall. The handsaw is tougher, but it enables me to control the cut and push the tree in precisely the path I want it to fall. I typically make my reduce just below four feet above ground level to make the blockage high adequate to shift their movement, yet low sufficient the deer will not just duck beneath the barricade.
Know Your Limits
Due to the fact I only hunt with a recurve bow, I prefer my shots to be at 12 to 15 yards. Not beneath ten yards, and not over 20 yards…but that’s just me. By dropping a tree at a certain distance and angle, you can shift the regular movement pattern so they’ll stroll appropriate where you want them to.
I worry some young bowhunters today are not understanding the woodsmanship expertise needed to totally appreciate our sport. They are being taught all that is needed is to sit more than a food plot in a shooting house even though playing a video game, until a massive buck seems.
Spending time in the woods preparing for the hunt is half the fun. Not only is the loved ones bonding helpful, but it also will create beneficial lifelong memories of earned and learned success. I have mentored younger whitetail hunters for decades via my educational sessions.
Some of this stuff is challenging to follow along with unless you are actually shown. The bottom line is there will be a lot of satisfaction for your efforts. Not only will you watch a deer react specifically as you wanted and intended him to, but your efforts will hopefully shift his movement to a position where you virtually cannot miss the sucker-shot. And that alone will increase your bowhunting good results prices tremendously.
For years, I had always ready for bow season with the same general strategy: Place up deer stands in July and August, g…