This is a transitional time in the woods. Some does have been bred, others are still to be bred, bow season is still on in some states, the rifles are starting to boom (or will shortly) in other areas. Four things to keep in mind:
#1: Hunt where two or three ridges converge and peter out into a creek bottom or swamp. The thicker the cover the better. If food sources are anywhere close, the spot will be a dumping ground for lots of whitetails. No doubt you’ll find trails, rubs and scrapes. Set a stand or blind on a vantage 150 yards or so downwind of a convergence of hills and watch for a day or two. Once you get a better idea of how, when and where deer move through the area, move in tighter for a quick-strike ambush. Of course if you’re hunting with a gun and a burly shooter rolls by within range, take him. It could happen.
#2:Look for the narrowest point between two blocks of woods, and set a stand or blind to cover it. When crossing a crop field or pasture many bucks will run the choke point between the two timbers or thickets, thereby minimizing their exposure in the wide open. This is an especially good setup for gun hunters. Stay on your toes and be ready for a quick shot, because bucks generally trot or move quickly from point A to B. Stop one in the open middle with a big grunt or a rattling blast if you have to.
#3: “X marks the spot” might be your deadliest tactic. Follow scrapes to a spot where it cuts a major doe trail deep in the woods. There you will find freshly thrashed saplings and more scrapes. Hang a stand on the downwind side of that intersection. You will see bucks; one might be a shooter.
#4: Hunting pressure changes everything, and you have got to factor it in to your strategy. If you hunt private ground or a block of public land with people, let them have the fields, cutovers, creek funnels and other “best” spots. You check an aerial map and go the thickest, roughest hell-holes a three-quarters of a mile or more away. That’s where the big bucks will go to flee the pressure, but most of the other people won’t go there. Hunt deep inside and get your buck.