tree stand hunter#1 Spot On: Best time, scraping/seeking, November 1-8

Details: Let’s say you spot a giant 10-pointer in a food plot or crossing a road…Once the buck moves on, sneak over there and check it out. If the nearest wooded ridge or draw is laced with fresh scrapes and rubs, Mr. Big will be back through there–maybe later that afternoon, or tomorrow morning or on the third day. But the big dude will back because he’s not yet gone on the lam for does. Move in tight, try to hang a stand on a trail near all those rubs and scrapes and hope for a shot at the buck as he trolls back through.

#2 Cover Scrape: Best phase, scraping first week of November. Now!

Details: Scout for rank scrapes back in the woods and around thickets where you know some does bed. Those are the ones an old buck is most likely to hit at dawn or dusk. You might even get the drop on a big deer checking a “cover scrape” around 9:00 or 10:00 o’clock in the morning.  Play the wind and set a bow stand 100 yards or so off a line of smoking scrapes. Hunting a ways off them lessens the odds of deer coming in and seeing or smelling you. It also gives you a better view of the cover as you watch for a big rack coming from any direction.

#3 Little Funnel: Best phases, seeking, chasing and through peak rut, November 4-18.

Details: It would be nice if every funnel were big and obvious or shaped like an hourglass, with 2 huge blocks of timber connected with a thin stem of trees or brush. But most of the best bottlenecks to watch are much more understated—and overlooked by hunters. Look close for a thin, dry strip between 2 sloughs; a low spot in a fence; an opening in a windrow…and hang your bow stand there. There are literally hundreds of nondescript terrains that affect and confine the movements of bucks; hunt there and be in position for a shot.