Alternative Tree Stand Tactics

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Alternative Tree Stand Tactics

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 You don’t have to look far to see articles written about over-hunting your stands and ways to minimize your impact in the woods. After all, hunting a stand repeatedly is a sure-fire way to ruin your setup by allowing deer to learn your hunting patterns, usually. Likewise, there are times when conditions permit, that you should hunt it repeatedly, day after day. The most predictable thing about a rutting whitetail is his unpredictability. Early season and late season bucks are hitting food sources but nobody knows where a rutting buck will end up, not even he knows that. There are a few things that must happen in order for you to harvest the local monarch using this approach.

In order to get away with hunting stands multiple days in a row, which is what I call my burn out method, there are a few things that must happen. First of all, make sure that deer are using the area regularly. This sounds like a given, but you can’t kill a buck that isn’t there. Then you should attempt to hunt when the wind is right but, even if the wind is a bit iffy, spray down really well and try it anyway. Yes, take a second to re-read that. Remember, we aren’t hunting high fence deer like most hunters do on TV. Deer may not use that area all year so this is your best chance to kill him. It makes no sense to save a spot, especially a rut stand, when the deer may abandon their patterns or your time allocated to hunt dwindles later in the year. Plus there is plenty of new scent control gear that allows you get away with no-so-great wind conditions. The last thing is to make sure that you can get in and out of your stands without bumping deer, which can be tricky. I know all of this sounds backwards but it can pay off immensely. Eventually the deer will pattern your entrance and egress. Your stand will be burned out when you’re done with it, but you’ll probably have your buck on the ground by then. Think of this as a Hail Mary attempt at tagging a rutting buck.

If you have an area that has a creditable amount of deer activity, hunt it hard. A perfect example of this is a funnel near a bedding area to or from a sanctuary. I have a stand situated over a fallow field solely for hunting during the rut. The habitat consist of tall weeds and briars which forms a fortress of security that’s utilized by bucks when corralling does to keep them isolated from other bucks. The field borders a swamp and there are numerous scrapes oriented along the edge. It’s estimated that between 80-90% of scrape activity occurs at night, but are still great places to hunt over, especially during the pre-rut. This fallow field offers no food and is primarily used during the rut, so I feel confident that I will have success hunting other stands once I burn out this particular stand. All properties are different, but similar on the same token, so this tactic can be applied to a variety of properties. The said property is only 40 acres and I have various stands designated as early season, rutting phase, and late season stands, so a tract with an ample amount of acreage isn’t necessary.

While this isn’t the most common strategy for harvesting mature bucks, it can be practiced during the rutting phases when the aforementioned conditions are right. I have taken many deer this way, including 3 mature bucks on my wall from using this approach. Hopefully it will benefit you as much as it has me!

~ Andrew Walters  Mossy Oak Properties

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