2 Awesome Bow Stands

hanback w Milk River buck

Forget the rut for now. The first days of your archery season in September or October can be a great time to whack a 10-pointer. The bucks are relatively docile and locked into their summer/early fall bed-to-feed patterns. So long as you don’t press them too hard, they’ll keep moving reasonably well at dawn and dusk. Tweak these setups to your land and tag out early.

The Choke Point

One September I hunted in sprawling alfalfa and corn country where you could see deer coming and going for miles. The only way to have a fighting chance with a bow in a big spot like that is to narrow the country down, way down.

During the middle of the day when the deer were inactive, I looked around for two hours and sized things up. Then I tucked a tree stand back in a shady edge where a tractor path crossed a strip of weeds. There was a thin strip of timber upwind of my stand, and another strip 40 yards east of the farm road. I figured any deer that came off the alfalfa the next morning would gravitate to this choke point. If a shooter walked through there…

An hour after dawn, I glassed two racks a mile away. It took them a while to get to me. Around eight o’clock, the bucks hit the dirt road and walked down it. They turned, took the weed funnel between the tree strips and walked broadside 30 yards below. I nailed the 8-pointer in the lead.

To me, bowhunting for whitetails is all about edges and choke points, or spots where old roads, strips of trees, pockets of weeds and other terrains and covers converge. The more of these “fringe areas” the better. Deer walk the edges year-round, and they especially use them when traveling to and from food sources in archery season. Set up where three or four strips and edges meet, and you’re apt to smoke a good buck like I did that morning.

Corner a Buck

Anytime I hunt a crop field I look for the nearest fence and walk it out to the corners. You can never scout too much, just be low-impact about it. Inevitably I find a corner with a lot of deer sign—tracks, a trail and maybe tufts of hair on the barbed-wire where deer are jumping it.

A fence corner is a natural place for deer to travel, and a natural spot for you to set up. A prime corner to hunt will have lots of brushy cover, and at least one stout tree nearby for a stand. But if the sign is there and cover is sparse, I’ll play the wind and set up a small brush blind 35 yards or so off the corner. On the ground makes it tougher…and all the sweeter if you stick your buck in the corner.

2018 Deer Season Kicks Off With Big Velvet Bucks

manitoba 2018

One good thing about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is that once early deer seasons open up, big velvet bucks start popping up on your phone. From what I’ve seen so far from this anecdotal evidence, 2018 is shaping up to be a good if not great year for big racks across North America.

The buck above was killed in Manitoba, where archery season opens in August. I’ve seen a few big deer from Saskatchewan too, but Alberta has been the best, with hunters having shot several deer pushing 200 inches. This portends more huge bucks will be killed in Canada in 2018 as the rut comes on and rifle seasons open in November.

Tennessee held its first velvet buck hunt in August, and some good deer were shot. Once again, monsters were shot in early September in Kentucky, though I have not seen as many posted as last year. New Jersey, a sleeper state for archery whitetails, has produced some nice bucks.

manitoba 2018 2

It has been an unusual summer of 2018. I’ve talked to hunters across the country who have gotten far fewer big deer on their trail cameras than in summers past, though with the velvet now off more good bucks are starting to show up. It’s been like that here in the Virginia Piedmont, and I think all the rain we’ve has this summer has something to do with it.

Actually, the fact that it has been so wet in so many places this year is another reason I predict the hunting will be good this fall. Good moisture years grow big racks.

Better yet, there were minimal reports of EHD anywhere in the country, and with the first frosts coming on that threat has largely passed.

Bottom line: You have a good to great chance to shoot a big deer this season, so hunt hard and safe. Good luck!

Maryland Girl Bags “Long Brow” Buck

lexi long brow 2018

Today’s guest blog from our friend Dan Myers, who had been scouting and watching a tall and symmetrical 8-pointer all summer:

I wish there was more to the story, but it happened so fast there isn’t much to it.

Opening day in Maryland it was almost 90 degrees and to no one’s surprise we didn’t see much deer movement, just one little spike. The second day the temps dropped into the low 60’s with heavy rain most of the day.  The rain stopped around 5:00 pm and we were in the blind by 6:20.

My daughter Lexi being a 7th grade girl, most of her evening was spent texting friends and playing games on her phone. I’ll admit that after an hour of staring into an empty bean field I was playing a game on my phone as well.

At 7:30 Lexi looked up, tapped my leg and said, “Daddy big buck.” I looked up as 2 nice bucks came busting out of the corn field and were now about 20 yards away. One buck was still in full velvet and the other was hard horned. According to all my recent trail cam pictures this was Long Brow and his summer buddy.

md danny lb 2018 august

I told Lexi, “Top line,” referring to her 20 yard sight.

She asked, “Which deer?”

“The big one that’s standing broadside, goofball,” I whispered.

Her shot was perfect, and he ran about 70 yards and toppled over. The entire experience lasted 15-20 seconds at the most.  There was no time for nerves to set in, until after the shot. We both sat and shook for 10 minutes!

I am very proud of my princess, but her taxidermy bills are starting to add up.—Thanks, Dan

Way to go Lexi, beautiful deer! The symmetrical rack scores 136.

Hunters: Beware Illegal Pot on Public Land

pot

As deer seasons open across the country, if you hunt public land, you need to be on the lookout for pot gardens, which authorities refer to as “illegal cartel marijuana grows.”

California has the most of these illicit operations. In an ominous announcement, DEA Agents and California Game Wardens say a cartel “owns” every national forest, national park, state park and wildlife refuge in the state.

Marijuana grows have been found in 23 states and on 72 national forests. Other states with significant cartel gardens on national forests, parks and BLM lands include Colorado, Oregon, Michigan and Wisconsin. Farther east and south, the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky is known to have lots of illicit pot growing.

As authorities point out, this is big business. Larger pot grows are in excess of 1,000 plants per site, and some can go up to 200,000 plants. Each plant has a street value of over a million dollars. Illicit growers protect their crops. And early fall, before temperatures drop to freezing, is prime harvest time.

You need to be on your toes and aware of your surroundings as you scout and hunt for deer on public land. Most of the growers are heavily armed and trails leading to grows are frequently booby trapped with trip wires and punji pits. Also, growers are now using deadly illegal chemicals to grow their pot, and these pose a serious threat to an innocent hunter who stumbles across them.

What do you look for? How do you avoid a potentially dangerous encounter?

pot pipes

Authorities point out that most pot gardens are irrigated by black plastic irrigation pipes that carry water from up to a half mile away. You might spot a man-made pool or a small dam on a stream where chemicals are added. These criminals are trashy. If you spot lots of junk, propane tanks, old tarps, etc. in an area, be on red alert.

You can also detect marijuana plants by their odor, which can have a skunky smell.

You may overhear voices, typically speaking Spanish. Law enforcement notes that some 85% of all growers they catch are illegals.

In all these cases, quietly retreat and retrace your trail back to your vehicle. Don’t linger at the site, or touch anything that looks out of the ordinary. When you are safely out of the woods, call 911 with the location of the illegal grow.

Be careful out there and good luck.

Source: The Outdoor Wire

How To Hunt Deer On 30 Acres

iowa bow giant 2013

I got an email from a guy who landed permission to hunt a 30-acre block of woods. He had 2 questions. Is that spot big enough to kill a good buck, and if so how should he hunt it?

First, hell yeah, 30 acres or even 20 is big enough. Monsters are shot in small habitats like that every year.

On any new property, you’ve got to find out what kind of terrain and vegetation you’re dealing with. Right now is time to check the property. Spend a day and walk every inch of it; carry an aerial map or consult Google Earth as you go for reference. Walk and look for funnels, edges, little ridges, etc. where deer will move onto and off the land. Don’t worry if you spook some deer, they will be back.

Check the treetops for green acorns. When the nuts start falling, deer will find them, so look for an afternoon stand site close by. While the timber on the 30 provides some cover, the more thickets in there the better. If the whole place turns out to be basically one big thicket that is okay, it will be a great place for morning hunting, especially if there are crop fields nearby.

Set out at least 2 cameras on trail or funnels on either end of the 30, and check it regularly to get an idea not only of the bucks there, but also deer travel patterns.

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A big key to hunting 30 is not to push deer out when you go in. Look for easy, quiet, downwind routes that won’t take you busting through thick cover where deer bed. Plan your in and out routes to skirt spots where deer will likely be.

My favorite stand on a small spot is off-wind of a super trail on a ridge or near a creek that cuts through the entire property. Watch the main highway enough and you will see some bucks.

Hunt in early bow season, but don’t overdo it and burn out the 30. The November rut is the best time to kill a monster. Also, you have a great opportunity when gun season opens later this fall. Climb into your best stand on the 30 and sit all day. When other guys swarm and shoot on lands all around, some bucks will flee to your little spot, especially if it’s thick. I guarantee that without even seeing the land.