Only One Wind: Back in the rut you never knew exactly from which direction a buck would come, so some days you probably cheated and hunted one of your best stands on a marginal wind. But now that deer have been pressured, there is only one good wind and little margin for error. In the evenings, deer move straight from their beds to a cornfield, beans or other last food source. The wind can’t blow anywhere back toward that bedding cover, nor can it swirl out into a piece of field where the does will pop out first. Set up downwind of a trail or funnel where your scent will blow back into a dead zone where you figure no deer will come out. If just one doe winds you and starts blowing, you won’t see a buck that night.
Access is Crucial: With deer wired now, access to your stand is critical. Try to slip into a spot without a single doe seeing you. If you can’t use a ditch, creek bank, etc. to cover your moves, don’t risk it. If you bump one doe you’ll spook all the deer and the buck you’re after.
Upwind of the Does: It’s always a crapshoot where to set up along a corn or soybean field. Well now, anticipate a buck to show upwind of where most does will spill out of the timber. That way a big deer can see and smell what’s in front of him while the does cover his backside. If you’re hunting with a gun you’ve tricked him, shoot straight!
Back to a Ridge: Go back and scout an oak ridge where you found big rubs and scrapes in November. Find a single set of huge tracks, or some big prints mixed with a bunch of doe tracks, and you can figure a good buck is still working the area. Set up and try a ground ambush.
Hunt the Edge: Watch the fringes of pine, cedar or honeysuckle thickets. Bucks love to run any green edge between bedding and feeding areas, and often stop to stage and browse the greenery.
Hunt a Hideout: A beaver swamp beside a road, a 10-acre thicket behind your neighbor’s house, an overgrown hog lot back of barn… Look for an old 8- or 10-pointer trying to ride out the season in a spot you and other hunters missed earlier in the season.