With the hunting season approaching now is the time to start considering blind and stand placement for the upcoming deer season.
When going on a new lease or making changes on an old one, blind or stand placement is probably the first and most important step a hunter needs to consider. However, only pre-season scouting can do this, but is certainly helped by today’s trail cameras. Mapping or photographing the lease to study the terrain and deer movement helps insure a more successful season.
While trial cameras help locate and record deer movement and enhance scouting to a certain point, pre-season scouting cannot be totally replaced. Trail cameras pin-point where deer, especially bucks, are most likely to travel. However, while photographing a trophy buck may excite the hunter, predators, especially the human kind can cause deer to change course.
This writer has heard, read, or sighted too many accounts of deer being sighted, but not taken during the season, leaving both the hunter and guide perplexed as to what caused the trophy buck to suddenly and mysteriously disappear. Not to be seen either in post-hunting months and even for a year or two, only to once again appear in the trail cameras recording.
During pre-season scouting, locating a buck’s bedding area is one sure way of increasing the odds in a hunter’s favor. If successful in locating a buck’s bedroom, do three things:
1. Study his daily feeding and resting habits.
2. Approach a bedding area and scrapes downwind.
3. Arrive early and leave late.
4. Learn the prevailing wind direction.
Hunting close to a buck’s chambers increases your chances of taking him. Remember the name of the game is stealth. A whitetail buck’s home range can vary from a few acres to several hundred depending on the habitat’s characteristics and traits, deer, especially mature bucks, use land to their advantage.
A mature buck takes the path of least resistance – meaning his bedding area allows concealment, yet alerts him to approaching danger. Old mossy horns is more security conscious than does and yearling bucks, so he uses less travelled paths. Look for the dense, most impenetrable cover, for a trophy buck.
When placing blinds or stands in position remember to study which way the wind prevails. Here in Central and South Texas the wind blows in a southeasterly direction because of the Gulf of Mexico. Otherwise it comes from the northwest, especially during the winter months, with cold fronts moving as they do from west to east. A blind with sliding windows allows a hunter to conceal his/her odor, whereas an open stand leaves much to fortune, as it might be best to bathe and wash clothes with a neutral soap or detergent, preferably baking soda. Deer olfactory senses are excellent and should never, ever be discounted. An enclosed blind is not much of a problem, whereas an open stand and a sweet smell, from deodorants and soaps will send deer scurrying away from the sudden danger.
Three objectives to consider while scouting for a good buck are thick cover, a food source and an escape route from the first two when danger approaches.
During rut season, a buck’s home range enlarges while in search of does to breed with. Rubs and scrapes will grow in number as well, as a buck marks off more territory. The more dominant buck(s) extend their range during the rut – pursuing and mating with as many does as possible. However, spotting deer signs does not readily mean large bucks. Often does and yearly bucks make the most deer signs. Look for large tracks. These are the signs of a mature buck.
Patterning a buck from sign only gives a hunter little information, since many different forces affect a deer’s daily routine. Just like small bass can strike more oft en than older bass so it is with young deer leaving all sorts of signs.
A buck that survives the first year is well on his way of earning his Ph.D. in hunter elusion. Older bucks become more set in their ways. Outside of the rut, and those rare times he enjoys fellow bachelors’ companionship, a mature buck lives alone in heavy brush or wooded areas, primarily feeding at night.
During the early hunting season even older bucks still need to eat to gain weight for the upcoming rut and colder weather. Once rut season begins, the only thing on a buck’s mind is procreation. This is the time that a buck becomes most vulnerable to the hunter, since he can and will most probably throw caution to the wind when it comes to courting the ladies. Place a blind or stand wherever a bottleneck or funnel occurs between the food source and bedding area. Doing this helps a hunter intercept the buck as he travels from feeding to bedding areas.
If possible try to rotate blinds or stands, thereby lessening an alert buck as to your possible presence in his territory for a prolonged period.
Good common sense helps the experienced and knowledgeable hunter place a blind or stand. It might be better to sometimes place a blind or stand a little higher. Instead of 18–20 feet high place it 20-22 feet. For extra measure camouflage the blind or stand as best as possible. Some hunters are more interested in large racks, with venison being an added bonus. If you wish to join this exclusive club realize that many trophy hunters go seasons without taking a buck. More often than not they pass up on the 4, 6 or 8 pointers. However, when they do take a trophy buck, it definitely will be a wall hanger or even a Boone and Crockett /Pope and Young record. Be assured of that much.
Bass Wishes & Good Hunting/Shooting,