By Scott T. Evans | Owner of Tall Tails Adventures
Some outdoor TV shows and magazines only teach hunters the basics behind deer movement, along with simplistic tips on how to find and intercept white-tailed deer on their property.
The fundamentals they teach are usually something along the lines of: Know where the bedding areas are. Know where the feeding areas are. Know wind direction.
Although there is truth to this, there is a lot more to learn about how your deer move.
Many hunters have become narrow-minded when it comes to locating deer. I used to be one of them.
Basing my stand locations and the timing of my hunts on nothing but the fundamentals led to far more failed hunts than it should have.
For example, I hunted a promising property in central Indiana for two seasons using my overly-simplistic mentality for setting up, and deer sightings were surprisingly rare.
This property had two big food sources and I focused on them. Finally, it dawned on me that this is Indiana — corn was everywhere!
The food was plentiful, so whitetails would rarely wander into the fields during daylight hours — especially not into bow range. I had to dig deeper.
It wasn’t until I went beyond the basics that I bagged the biggest buck ever seen in that area.
The first thing I did was go to the computer and zoom out on satellite maps of the property.
This helped me roughly determine where the funnels and pinch-points were, and I figured out where the deer were likely entering and exiting other properties.
When I compared my area to the surrounding parcels, my eyes were opened to what made my place special, and I used it to my advantage.
There is a great value in learning the easiest way for deer to get from Point A to Point B.
Whitetails, especially mature bucks, tend to use the paths of least resistance. Knowing this trait, I used satellite views to determine these paths of least resistance, but this also required getting out there and finding them by scouting on foot.
This change in tactics helped me set up on a nice 10-pointer last November in Indiana.
I figured the buck was avoiding the open fields but was funneled to a place he had to cross a small field in order to return to his daytime bedding area.
There was an open pasture gate I figured he’d use instead of expending the energy to jump a couple of fences to get home.
Sure enough, from my bow stand I watched this buck return from a night of feeding. It closely followed the fence line with full intentions of walking straight through the open pasture gate.
But after a quick “Mehhhh” stopped him in his tracks at 40 yards, my arrow found its mark with a resounding THWACK!
If I hadn’t broadened my knowledge of deer movement on this property with satellite imagery and boot leather, I’d still be hunting the cornfields.
Keep in mind every property is different. I’ve found the habits of my deer in Indiana are not the same as Texas and Ohio, so setting up on them is uniquely different.
The only way to find out where is to go beyond the basics and use modern technology that is readily available to all hunters today.
Still, nothing can replace getting your hands dirty and walking where the deer walk. So, get out there soon!
– Photo Courtesy Scott Evans
If you have a unique or special tip you’d like to share with Buckmasters fans, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and, if chosen, we will send you a cap signed by Jackie Bushman, along with a knife!
Read Recent Tip of the Week:
• More on the Vanishing Hunter Trick: In “The Vanishing Hunter Trick,” Buckmasters Tip Editor Tim H. Martin shares things he’s witnessed when animals THINK danger has passed.