change stand

Another finding reported at the Southeast Deer Study Group 2014: Researchers say adult bucks traveled 55 yards farther away from hunting stands on average at the end of the season vs. the beginning of the season.

This further confirms something I have been blogging about and saying on TV for years: Mature bucks can learn your habits and pattern you. As the season progresses they see, smell and hear where you walk into the woods…where you climb into trees…where you walk out at midmorning or after dark… Then they skirt those stand locations to avoid you.

I did a “Top 10 Tactics” episode of BIG DEER TV on Sportsman last year, and this strategy was #6:

Change It Up. Say you’ve been bowhunting a big 10-pointer for a few weeks from the same 2 stands in a 250-acre block of woods. You saw the deer a couple of times early in the season, but it’s been awhile since you’ve seen him now. Chances are he has not gone anywhere. When he moves in twilight, chances are he knows you’re there, and he’s skirting those stands you’re hunting.

As I said on TV: “Sometimes you need to change it up and move. But you don’t have to go far. Sneak in and move one or two of those tree stands just 50 to 100 yards, to another spot on a trail on in a funnel near where a big deer might walk as he skirts your original locations. Be as quiet and wind-savvy as you can as you set up.

“When you sneak back in and hunt those newly positioned stands, you have a good shot at surprising that big buck in a spot where he doesn’t expect you. He thinks he is avoiding you, but now he might stroll 20 yards below your new bow stand. It’s a great way to shoot a giant.”

About the illustration: Stand 1 on the creek crossing is prime, but if you don’t see a big buck there for weeks, move 60 yards or so across the creek and set up a surprise ambush there (stand 2).