Thread: Whitetail Tips

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  1. #1
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    Whitetail Tips

    I have been hunting for nearly 15 years now. I was fortunate enough to have learned some great tips from my grandfather and father at a very young age. In recent years, I have quit gun hunting and concentrated fully on taking a “mature” deer with a bow. I have been fortunate enough to take several nice deer. Here are some tips in which I follow: (more will be added as time goes)

    Scent Control
    As you know, the serious white-tail hunter has always read, been taught, or learned the hard way that a deer’s nose is the most important way in which it functions. I have purchased the $400 dollar set of scent blocker/scent lok gear, I have used the deodorants, soaps, mouthwash and every other gimmick they sale. They all have their advantages and I’m sure work to a certain extent, however, they are not 100% scent free. Between sweating, touching clothes putting them on, the odors of the house, garage, or anything else that is near your clothes when you store, it is tough to be perfect when it comes to scent free. In my mind, one of the most important aspects any hunter can have when it comes to being scent free is rubber knee high boots. They will always be scent free no matter where they are kept. You can buy the scent free boots, but the cost of them will break you before you know it and there are still pieces of material that carries scent. Knee high rubber boots come in contact with more in the woods than anything around you. Most of your brush in the woods is knee high or less, with rubber boots it doesn’t leave a scent behind. Whitetails pay attention as they walk, always smelling and paying attention of their surroundings. As it walks and feeds it’s nose is usually somewhere in the same height that your rubber boots come in contact with. I would like to have a dollar for every time a deer as walked down the same trail that I used to get in and didn’t smell me. Not only does rubber boots stay scent free, but they are also affordable; they come in different colors, heights, and insulation. You can get them for cold weather or for the hot early season hunts.

    How high is high enough?
    Ask this question any hunter and you’ll different answers. I have hunted with people who have success at the 15 foot range and I’ve hunted with people who hunt in god’s country and have success. On a personal preference I keep two things in mind when I hang a stand; wind and terrain. When I walk into a stand I first look at the wind, which way is it blowing? Then I look at the terrain, am I on a hill where the deer in front of me will be eye level and the deer behind me will be way below me? Or is it level ground? Always try and hang your stand up wind, the key word being “try.” As we know, unfortunately most of the time it just doesn’t work out that way. If that is the case get high in tree (if heights aren’t a factor). The scent of human will rise as it and go with the wind as it leaves your body. If you’re high enough, the scent will stay above the deer’s nose and give you that extra chance of bagging the trophy. This in my mind is beating a deer at his own game. If your fortunate enough and can place a stand upwind, height shouldn’t really be an issue, however, there are still some important factors to keep in mind. Silhouetting is a very big problem a lot of hunters have. The do all the right things but never look at their background after they hang the stand. I always try and face my stands away from the from direction the deer will be coming, I would rather my shot to be a little tougher rather than them taking a chance on seeing me. Don’t clear out to much brush around your stand either, brush and limbs can easily break up that “dreaded stare-down” between the deer and yourself. Another important factor to keep in mind is to be ready, comfortable. I’m as guilty of it as anyone, using on old tree stands the clothe seats rotted away and I’m in such a bind in the tree with room that I don’t even have room to hang my gear. The older I get the more comfortable I want my tree stands to be. Now when I set my stands, I go ahead and hang my hangers, get my limbs situated, etc. I usually carry a swivel arm for my bow which is always screwed in on my shooting side, for easy access. My bag is always hung on another hook on my right side for easy access with my right hand. Having this stuff organized will pay off in the crunch time when your looking for that second arrow, or need to squeeze off a quick first shot. Another important part of stand hunting knows when to move/draw. Mental preparation is something I always try and do with every new stand that I hang. As that first morning comes in that stand, I start ranging yardages-making mental notes. Pinpointing large tree for maybe that stand and draw, look for lay downs, or a tree between u and the trail that the deer will eventually be behind, always have everything pre-played out in your head so when the time arrives, it’s a lot easier to focus on the shot. Always keep in mind however, no matter how high or low you get….wear a safety belt.

    Wounded Deer
    If you have hunted long enough you know that whitetails are an incredible animal and at times seem to have a very strong desire to live. I’ve made the good shots, I’ve made the bad, there just are times where the deer is not comfortable and won’t lay down, making your tracking job tougher. Over the years I have learned a few things from magazines, books, and trial and error that I believe can come in handy.
    First and foremost, no matter the situation you owe it to the animal, the state, to work hard. The whitetail is a beautiful and fascinating creature; pay your respects and do all that you can to find that wounded animal.
    Immediately after the shot, the tracking starts, start taking mental notes as the deer is running away, landmarks, hills, ditches, bushes, etc. Also be listening for any crashes, trees breaking, water splashes, etc. Now is the decision that most hunters don’t choose wisely. Think of the shot, where was the deer hit? If you are unsure a general rule of thumb “When in doubt, wait it out.” The animal will eventually expire give it time and then starting trailing. If you heard it go down and are sure of an excellent shot, give it a few minutes, let the woods calm down, replay everything in your head. Then slowly start to retrieve your game. Once you have played the waiting game comes the scene of the crime. Look for any hair, blood spatter, hoof marks etc. If you can’t find blood, think of that mental note you took in the stand. Start walking slowly toward it, just off the trail that it took, looking for any blood spots. Once you find blood you need to recognize where the deer is hit. The hair at the crime scene can help you a little with that question, but the for sure way is to either check your arrow/ or the blood trail. What color is the blood? Does it have bubbles in it? Are they bits and pieces of food in the blood or on the arrow? Bright-red blood is a great sign, usually indicating an oxygen rich artery hit. Pinkish, frothy blood usually indicates a lung hit. Many times bubbles will appear on the shaft of the arrow or even the blood droplets. Easy-to-follow dark-red droplets that disappear after a couple of hundred yards often indicate a muscle shot. The chances are slim to none when trying to find these deer, but not impossible. The key to these shots are waiting on the animal. Something else to always remember when trailing is to mark the locations of the blood trail. I carry toilet paper with me, mark a limb as I find a new piece and will constantly be looking back at the trail the deer took. One last thing when trailing a deer, if you lose the trail of blood and start to become frustrated, now is the time where you become an investigator. Is there frost on the ground, dew? If so, get down on your hands and knees, look for the trail that has leaves turned. Are the spiders webs tore down? Are there indentions in the wet ground? As I mentioned above, do all you can to recover your wounded game, pay your respects to the sport and the creature.

    Archery Shooting for Beginners

    I was fortunate enough to be introduced to archery hunting at a very young age. I can remember some of my first hunts, going in and sitting without a sight even close and flinging arrows at less than 20 yards at the does walking beneath me. As I became older and I became more serious about my trades I started to practice my shot. At the age of 16, I began shooting indoor 3d tournaments, more often than not I got my butt handed to me by some great shooting adults, but I learned so much from them during that time.
    First and foremost, if your not willing to practice and practice again, archery will not be a good fit for you. A good archery shooter has a rhythm, a sequence that he goes through each time before the arrow is released. After you have made the commitment to practice it’s time to get yourself set up. Find a good shooting bow, something you feel comfortable with. Have a local dealer help set you up, the correct length, a release, and the correct weight. ( I shot heavy bows indoors for more stabilization, in the woods, I like something light, something I can maneuver easily.) Once you’re set up it’s time to shoot. One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners make is not anchoring the string at the same point every time. Some people prefer kisser buttons, myself I anchor out of the corner of my mouth and with my peep sight. Find where you’re comfortable and stick with it, have yourself a mental checklist as your practicing, things you should check, in order to make it like the previous shot. Secondly, don’t fight your sight when practicing, if you start to get tired, let it down. With practice your muscles will strengthen and you will be steadier and able to hold the draw for longer. Continuing to shoot when your muscles get tired, will cause you to pick up bad habits and hurt your confidence. I use to shoot year around, now that I am not shooting indoor tournaments anymore, I have to retrain my muscles each season, trying to shoot 3 to 4 times a week at least 20 to 25 shots each time out. Now..your staring down your peep, it sounds simple right, line that sight up and pull the trigger?? In a round a-bout way yes, but there are some tricks. Tunnel Vision is something I learned when shooting 3D targets. Always, I mean always look through your site to the target, or dot. Your eyes and mind will automatically put that sight inline with what you want. For example, take your hands together as you’re reading this and make a diamond shape placing your pointing fingers and thumbs together. Now place it on something across the room, the object will automatically be centered between the diamond. The same concept works when you look through your sights. It’ll take some practice, but it is a piece of art and will be the difference in a well placed shot and a great shot. Breathing comes next, as you’re at full draw; you still have to control your breathing. When your shooting in the yard, you made hold your breathe, trust me when I say you won’t be able to hold your breathe when that buck is 20 yards away and your heart and stomach are trying to jump out of your chest. Control your breathing while your shooting, its no different than shooting a rifle. Find a rhythm!! Next is the squeeze of the trigger (if you shoot a release). Again this is just like shooting a rifle, place your finger on the trigger ( I shoot a back tension thumb release) and slowly try and squeeze. Something I like to do is try and see how little I can squeeze the release without it going off. You want the surprise factor to happen. You do not want to punch a release, punching it can cause so many bad habits, jerking of the arm, loosing focus on your tunnel vision, and it will hurt your consistency. Practice, Practice, and Practice more. I promise you these things will help you become that archery shooter you want to be.




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  3. Member vatreefarmer's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Whitetail Tips (jseasor)

    Wow! Absolutely great post Jarred. There is deer hunting 101 for you beginners and a great reminder for you seasoned hunters. I fully agree one the necessity of scent control. I would like to add one more thing on that topic, scent follows air movement. In the mornings, scent will rise as the air warms, and fall in the evenings as the air condenses. So less stand height is needed in the mornings. But we must be aware of where and how the deer are moving. If deer are moving from a hollow in the evening toward your stand, you face greater risk of getting busted, move to where your scent will "pool" in an area that will afford you a shot first (downwind).
    Again, absolutely wonderful post Jarred. Gosh I love this new forum
    BBT.....

  4. Banned
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    #3

    Re: Whitetail Tips (vatreefarmer)

    very well said..... thanks for the comments...i got some more coming, archery hints, judgeing a whitetail, etc.

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    #4

    Re: Whitetail Tips (vatreefarmer)

    <TABLE WIDTH="90%" CELLSPACING=0 CELLPADDING=0 ALIGN=CENTER><TR><TD>Quote, originally posted by vatreefarmer &raquo;</TD></TR><TR><TD CLASS="quote">Wow! Absolutely great post Jarred. There is deer hunting 101 for you beginners and a great reminder for you seasoned hunters. I fully agree one the necessity of scent control. I would like to add one more thing on that topic, scent follows air movement. In the mornings, scent will rise as the air warms, and fall in the evenings as the air condenses. So less stand height is needed in the mornings. But we must be aware of where and how the deer are moving. If deer are moving from a hollow in the evening toward your stand, you face greater risk of getting busted, move to where your scent will "pool" in an area that will afford you a shot first (downwind).
    Again, absolutely wonderful post Jarred. Gosh I love this new forum </TD></TR></TABLE>

    +100 great posts guys.

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    #5

    Re: Whitetail Tips (jseasor)

    Good posts.

    I saw some interesting scent control by wildlife biologists from the U of Georgia (working deer studies). They kept rubber boots in a plastic bag. They put them in on when they were about to go in the woods, and changed out of them when they came out. They had mineral spirits to clean them with a rag.

    Another excellent sense that deer have is their hearing. I've climbed trees before daylight in a climber thinking that I am quiet, but friends have asked me why I made so much noise going up or down a tree. But, of course, I've heard them make a lot of noise too, more than they thought they were. There are some brands of climbers that make tremendous noise when going up and down a tree.

    Moreover, when you walk in with a climber on your back and a gun in your hands, it's amazing how much clanking others can hear, particularly in early and late hours when noise carries so well. If humans hear it, you know the deer can. I guess we all make a good bit of noise in a metal climber while sitting in the stand when he shift, turn, mount the gun, get a drink of water, etc. I need to find a wrap to dampen the noise from contact with the climber.

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    #6

    Re: Whitetail Tips (Rawthumb)

    This may sound silly and might look it. I have always found early in bow season(October in the north as far as my experience) that the leaves on the ground in dry weather make a heck of a lot of noise. As you are walking in to your stand try not to walk like a human. Try to think of what a deer sounds like walking, with a double paced quick short step. You are going to make noise no matter what, so might as well put them at ease of possibly fool them. I have had many come towards me from thicker bedding areas to investigate as I tip-toed at an odd pace through the woods to my target location. Saw my biggest buck ever this way, but had no good shot.

    If you see me in the woods doing this, just don't laugh out loud and scare any away!

  8. Member vatreefarmer's Avatar
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    Re: Whitetail Tips (jseasor)

    Great addition with the bow section! Bow hunting is a disease for me. Take bowhunting seriously like Jseasor suggests and you'll get the disease as well. Great post
    BBT.....

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    #8

    Re: Whitetail Tips (jseasor)

    Good tips Jarred, I have have been Hunting all of my life and I am 53 years old. The best tip of everything you wrote in my opinion is wind direction. I smoke , and as long as you are downwind you are good to go. I have been busted a few times as we all have, If you are upwind of a deer I don't care what kind of precautions you take, he is more than likely going to smell you. My point being , use the wind to your advantage.


    Modified by spotdoctor at 8:30 AM 9/23/2008

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    #9

    Re: Whitetail Tips (jseasor)

    Excellent post Jarred, couldnt have sdaid it better myself!!!

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    #10

    Re: Whitetail Tips (jettdog68)

    Yep, you have to play the wind. Every year I put together a map of all my hunting stands, all layed out on a topo or ariel map. I number everything and even indicate what the best wind directions are for morning or evening hunts. Wind direction is always the determining factor in narrowing down what stand to sit in.

    It is tough sometimes though. You want to keep hunting a hot stand, but that stand will turn cold in a hurry, if the deer you are trying to hunt catch wind of you.

    Your best chance of bagging a deer is the very first time you sit the stand. I think back over the years and I have shot a lot of deer the very first time I sat the stand, with the correct wind direction.



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    #11

    Re: Whitetail Tips (ProcraftMike)

    i am with you..i have 2 on the wall, 1st sits in the stand..

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    #12

    Re: Whitetail Tips (jseasor)

    One thing I'd add to the scent control tip is to not touch a damn thing if you can help it. Most hunters are real concerned about their footsteps but think nothing of pushing aside a branch if it helps them be quieter.

    I had this reinforced to me one time when I was hunting a new spot. I was running late and hurried past the tree I was planning to use for my climber. As I approached the tree I lifted a horizontal sapling with a gloved hand and ducked under it. I attached my climber and went up only to find I was in the wrong tree and couldn't see a damn thing to my left. Went back down and moved to the correct tree. But as I assembled the stand, I dropped the top half onto the bottom and made a god-awful racket. Believe me, it wasn't with much confidence that I settled into the seat but was hoping that maybe a wandering buck might show at dusk.

    I wasn't there 5 minutes when I spotted a doe feeding towards me. 45 minutes later she reached the spot I walked through and didn't seem to notice my tracks but one sniff of the sapling sent her tail to half mast and she stiff-legged it back in the direction she came.

    I think deer in general can be quite forgiving of boot tracks esp. if it's a place they expect to find human scent (like tote roads) but not near bedding areas.

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    #13

    Re: Whitetail Tips (BP in ME)

    Wow,
    That is some great information...
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    #14

    Re: Whitetail Tips (bayoubugman)

    WIND DIRECTION!!!!! I have found this to be THE most important factor in the equation. My two hunting buddies, and myself, have started to really pay attention to the wind in the last 3 years. We will not hunt a stand if the wind is not favorable. No matter how hot it was yesterday, or whenever the wind was right. The proof is in the pudding, a 130 two years ago, a 160 last year, a 140 and a 135 this year! Not bragging, just saying, if you stick to it, it works.

    Great info on this post guys! Hopefully it will help more of us be successful.






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    Re: Whitetail Tips (ChampioN181Benton)

    One tip for working on stands. Get a man lift for $500 a weekend. Really comes in handy. Not every club can afford that but if you can, its a good investment for some
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  17. SEE YA!!!!!!!! DLAB's Avatar
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    #16

    Re: Whitetail Tips (90xpress)

    Or you can just get in tha bucket of a tractor RED NECK STYLE! Man lift? For real!

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    Re: Whitetail Tips (DLABORDE)

    Gather up sticks, foliage, acorns, what have you, enough to fill a Mason jar 3/4ths. full, cover it with rubbing alcohol and let sit until the following hunting season. The best cover scent ever as it comes directly from YOUR hunting area!! The alcohol will extract the oils from everything YOU place in the jar and is a helluva lot cheaper than store bought!

  19. Member mrlawler1's Avatar
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    #18

    Re: Whitetail Tips (Terry Anderson)

    I agree that the best cover scent comes from the area to be hunted but I do it a differant way. I take a rubbermade tote box and put whatever gear I am hunting with at the time. I line the bottom of the box with dirt and leaves. Then as I am layering my clothes into the box take leafy twigs or sticks and layer them into the tote along with the clothes. The more of your area you can seal up with your clothes the more your clothes will smell like your area. You are in his living room and hes gonna notice something out of place or anything that smells a little off. Kinda messed up but area of cattle pastures and horse farms, its real easy to find a cover scent for your boots. Use you imagination there. Remember the smell of grandmas house, and how it always smelled differant. Everybody doesn't smell the same and I bet that if you walked in my house it would be differant than yours. And vice versa. Take every precaution you can but remember this, you will never be able to fool a deers nose. Its not possible. You have to play the wind, the weather, and the location in order to get the reward you are looking for. If you spend too much time worrying about scent, then you will forget about something else...and the something else is what will cost you most of the time...
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