Show Notes:

Anyone can be get lucky, but to have consistent success in the whitetail woods you need strategy, experience, reconnaissance, and some understanding of how deer live. One today’s episode I focus on how you can define deer movement in order to multiply your chances for success, while spending little to no money.

Take Aways:

  • Deer are creatures of habit, and to be consistently successful you need to both learn their habits and how to influence those habits.
  • The main ways to impact deer movement are by cutting trails, building mock scraps, digging water holes, planting food plots, and adding cover.
    • Cutting trails can help by creating a path of least resistance in areas that are thick and hard to move through.
    • Mock scrapes can give deer a focal point to come to and stop at along a trail or in a movement area.
    • Water holes help in the same way a mock scrap when used on dry parcels or on high ground.
    • Food plots, especially small ones like 1/2 an acre to 1/8 of an acre, can give deer a place to browse on their way to more substantial food supplies. I recommend a perennial crop, something cheap and low maintenance, like clover.
    • Adding cover can create bedding areas and give deer more peace of mind for traveling through or eating in an area. One of the worst habitats is open woods in all directions, deer need places to hide.
  • Even if you are unable to add any of these habitat improvements, the more you know about them, the better you can read naturally occurring ones and use them to your advantage.

Show Notes:

A mock scrape is a powerful tool for defining deer movement that any hunter of any experience level can use to boost their chances of success. In today’s episode I talk about how you can use mock scrapes to improve your scouting and hunting setup.

Take Aways:

  • Mock scrapes should be placed in areas that deer already move through, or have a reason to move through.
  • Less is more when it comes to scrapes, the fewer you have the more value each has because you do not want to split the attention each gets.
  • The best time to setup a scrape is a few months before the season starts or in the post season.
  • Deer often begin to start using a new mock scrape within a few days or weeks.
  • A scrape can last for years with little to no maintenance. 
  • Scrapes are great places to put a trail camera.
  • All you need is a three step ladder, some black rope, a few zip ties, and a rake.

Show Notes:

When it comes to deer hunting, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of hard work. In this episode I talk about simple and inexpensive trail camera strategies that can completely transform the way you hunt by saving you time and improving your odds of success.

Take Aways:

  • Trail cameras help you do four things.
    1. Know if deer are the area you are considering hunting. You can’t hunt what isn’t there.
    2. How many deer are in the area. This lets you know your odds of success.
    3. What kind of deer are in the area. Whether it’s bucks or does, big or small, you need to know. 
    4. WHEN deer are in the area, so you only hunt when deer are likely to be around.
  • Simple and inexpensive cameras are an ok place to start if you can find the perfect place to put and aim them.
  • Your camera MUST be able to date and time stamp each photo and you MUST set this up to get the full benefit.
  • Put your trail camera above a deer‘s eye level to reduce the odds they will see it.
  • Avoid a deer’s most likely line of sight.
  • Put cameras back from a trail so you don’t need to walk the trail to check them.
  • Here is mid range camera that I’ve had good success with. It can give you a sense of the features to look for. I got mine on sale, the sticker price is a little high.
  • Setup a camera in August and check it every 2-3 weeks. Stop checking at least 2 weeks before you plan to hunt.

Show Notes:

Whether you can take two weeks off for deer season or you can only get out on two Saturday’s, time management is important. Maximizing your opportunities and minimizing fatigue and down time are important. On today’s episode I address the subject on the best times to hunt, a subject that is also directly connected with the best and worst times to scout.

Take Aways:

  • Hunting in the early morning is often the most fruitful. Try to get to your spot an hour before legal shooting hours begin to minimize the impact you entering the woods has on the deer.
  • Hunting at the end of the day is arguably the second most fruitful time. However, depending on the property and the deer patterns, this time could be the best for a specific area and herd.
  • The middle of the day usually has the least movement but deer do still move during the day, never give up and think it’s a waste.
  • Scouting during or close to the hunting season is best done in the middle of the day because you have the lowest chance of spooking deer and ruining the hunting area you are scouting.
  • The longer you can hunt the better your chances, but if you can only do a half day, you still can have great chances. Just try to either get there early, or stay there late.
  • Hunting the first half of the day often makes tracking and field dressing easier because you have plenty of daylight and you aren’t as worn out. This doesn’t help your chances any, but it is something to consider if you have to choose which time to hunt and you are unsure of the deer patterns in the area.

Show Notes:

Deer hunting is easy to do but can take a lifetime to master. The first thing you need to do is get into the woods and get some experience. The second thing is to begin working on these four tips every time you go into the woods. On this episode we will be focusing on critical deer hunting tactics, things you can start using tomorrow and can continue to refine every season.

Take Aways:

  • Always Be Ready. If it’s legal hunting ours and you are in a safe hunting area, you should always be ready to take a shot a moment’s notice. Keep your gun handy, and practice taking a quick offhand shot while hiking. You best opportunity of the day could come while walking to your spot. Don’t miss it.
  • The Wind Is Your Friend. Wind creates noise and movement which can help cover you when you need to move or make some extra sound. If you can wait for wind before doing something, you can lessen he chances of being detected. 
  • You Cannot Be Too Stealthy. The old adage is there is nothing nosier than a hunter trying to be quiet. Stealth cannot be over stated, both while moving and sitting. Camouflage is only a small component, eliminating movement and sound are arguably much more important. 
  • Pretend You Are Always Being Watched. Chances are, it’s true. If you hunt as if every moment you are trying to make an animal that has spotted you forget you are there, then you are well on your way to developing a very useful and effective skill. 

Show Notes:

Hunting in the rain is not something to be avoided, it can be a great time to hunt. But you need to adjust your plans if there is significant rain in the forecast in order to be effective and comfortable.  In this episode I talk about a recent cold rainy hunt that was successful, and how you can plan to hunt effectively in the rain.

Take Aways:

  • People often ask the questions “Are deer active in the rain? Do they still move around?” The answer to both is yes, very much. In all but torrential rain, deer continue to move, eat, and socialize. The rain does not seem to bother them at all. In fact because there is less light and its easier to move without making noise, deer may be more active on rainy days, throughout the day, and they may be less on guard.
  • The biggest benefit to hunting in the rain is very fewer other hunters will be out. You can have a lot more privacy and better chance at taking a deer. Normally I see half a dozen hunters on opening day where I plan to hunt, sometimes I can see them from my tree stand. This year it rained a lot and I did not see a single other hunter. I did see a lot of deer and I took one home.
  • If you are hunting in the rain, especially the cold rain, you must stay dry. This can be accomplished with a rain suit, umbrella, ground blind, or similar approach.  Be sure to wear extra layers so you can stay warm if you get wet from the rain or sweat.
  • Do not hunt with an umbrella in hand. You can use an umbrella to make it through downpours, but you cannot hunt while you are holding one. Umbrellas are easy to see and amplify your movement. And you cannot hold one and fire a rifle or a bow at the same time. You risk giving yourself away or dropping something.
  • They make umbrellas that attach to trees which can work while tree hunting but do not use those for ground hunting, deer will more easily spot them while on the ground.
  • A ground blind may be the best way to hunt in significant rain, it is basically a camo tent.  Consider setting one up before the season starts so you have a comfortable way to hunt if the weather is bad.
  • No matter how you choose to hunt, always have a backup plan for rain. Know what you will do if a lot of rain is in the forecast so you can make use of this great hunting opportunity.

 

Show Notes:

When it comes to managing scent for deer hunting, you are talking about a massive field of study and an entire industry. But if you follow a few basic principles, you can significantly improve your chances of being successful in the deer woods without spending any extra money or getting another college degree.  In this episode we cover the 3 basic principles for scent control when it comes to beginners and regular deer hunting.

Take Aways:

  • Scent Trails: When you walk through the woods, you leave an invisible trail of scent. You will greatly increase your chances of getting a deer if you pretend that every place you walk is a place that no deer will touch for the rest of the season.
  • Wind Management:  The wind is your friend or your enemy, if you can just keep it from being your enemy then that is good enough.  The big thing is making sure the wind is not blowing by you into the area you are hunting.  If the wind blows sent behind you or beside you, you still have a chance, if it is blowing it right into your shooting lane then you need to change spots or at least angles.
  • Extra Scent: Most deer are used to regular people scent, just make sure you aren’t bringing extra scent with you. Don’t leave your hunting clothes in the kitchen before frying food or in the garage before staining wood.  If you can just keep from bringing extra scent into the woods, it will go a long way.
  • There Are Always Exceptions: These principles are “rules of thumb” they are true 80% of the time, but there are always exceptions. Wild animals don’t play by anyone’s rules but their own. Sometimes scent won’t bother them at all, and sometimes you could wear a pressurized space suite and they will still smell you and snort, stomp, and run. Get into the woods and get your own experience so you can learn what works for yourself.

Show Notes:

The best way to hunt is going to depend on your experience, preferences, local terrain, weather, budget, and the properties you have permission to hunt on. The three strategies that we talk about in this episode are the most likely methods that new hunters will use to successfully hunt whitetail deer. The one that is best for you will depend on your situation. 

Take Aways:

  • Tree hunting gives you the best chances for success most of the time, but you need to know your spot really well, have the budget and energy to get set up well in advance of the hunting season, and pick a limited area to hunt.
  • Ground hunting with a good cushion is the most versatile and cost effective way to hunt. It requires the least preparation and you can move spots as easily as you can stand up. It does however put you right in the middle of a deer’s sense of sight, smell, and sound as you are in the same place as their predators.
  • Ground hunting with a blind gives some concealment but limits you to a specific area, and adds additional cost. It can be a good option if you need to hunt areas without good trees to climb or lean against.
  • Still hunting, or walking and hunting is an advanced technique, but it is possible to have some success if you play the weather and terrain just right.
  • The best thing you can do is get into the woods and hunt. Experience will inform you about where to invest your time and resources. Don’t spend too much your first year, focus on getting experience so you can make informed decisions next time around.

Gear Mentioned In The Episode:

 

Show Notes:

Before you step foot into the deer woods you need to have a plan for what you are going to do if you are successful. Most newer hunters are not ready to process or butcher their own deer. Learning to hunt, getting equipped, scouting, and field dressing absorbs all of their focus. I recommend you save processing a deer for a future hunting season, if you are interested in trying it. 

Finding a good deer processor is key and will relieve a lot of anxiety when it’s time to hunt because you will have a solid plan. This episode will help you learn everything you need to know about finding and vetting a good deer processor and what you need to do before and after.

Take Aways:

  • Get your deer to a processor as quickly as possible. Field dress it within minutes of the kill and then go straight to the processor to minimize chance of spoiling.
  • If you are able, wash out the animal and pack it with some ice. Nothing else is needed after you field dress it, and even these steps are optional.
  • Make 100% sure the processor you find will give you back the meat from the deer you brought in, not just meat from the last deer butchered. 
  • Ask the processor for a nice variety of meat items back, even if it costs a little more. Get steaks, roasts, ground, sausages, sticks, jerky, and any other options they have. It may cost a little more but it will help you learn what you like and you will enjoy the animal to it’s fullest.
  • Expect to only get back meat that is 60-70% of the weight of the deer after it is field dressed, if everything on the animal is perfect. There are many things that could result in you getting back less meat, and some things that could help you get a little more. 

 

Show Notes:

When it comes to deer hunting, it is best to think about what to do when you succeed before you ever step foot into the woods.  Feeling prepared and comfortable enough to field dress a deer is very important to the overall experience. It will give you confidence and help you focus on the hunt.  In truth, gutting a deer takes about 5-10 minutes. It is a fast, simple process that anyone can learn to do. In this week’s episode we talk about how to get ready, what you need to be prepared, and how to get over feeling squeamish about it.

Take Aways:

  • You always want to shoot a deer in the front lower quarter where the vitals are.
  • Never ever ever take a shot a deer’s back half, it will make field dressing most unpleasant.
  • Always have some rubber or plastic gloves on hand, you can get good Game Cleaning Gloves or around $5, maybe cheaper.
  • Keep a sharp knife in your pack at all times.
  • There is no best way to do this. Watch lots of videos and pick the techniques that you are most comfortable with.
  • Watch videos until you feel comfortable and can tell the difference between how different people do it. When you can do that and say which way you like more, you are ready.
  • Whether you are very meticulous or do a complete hack job, if you don’t puncture the guts, and you keep things clean, it does not matter much. This is easy.

Here are a number of videos to help you understand and become comfortable with the process: