Planning Box Blind Setups for the Early Season

Pairing Food Plots with Box Blind Setups

As turkey season starts to wind down across the country and we put our box calls and decoys back in storage, many hunters enter the summer slump. It’s that weird time of year again where there are no more game animal hunting seasons and deer season seems like a long way off. But luckily, there’s a lot you can do right now to make a big difference this fall. Before you hit the dreaded slump, turn your attention to pairing a box blind setup with an attractive early season food source. It’s the perfect way to keep busy in the offseason and avoid the summer slump blues.

Benefits and Challenges with Hunting in Box Blinds

Box blinds have a lot going for them when it comes to effective deer hunting. They’re comfortable and spacious, which makes it a whole lot easier to spend on all-day sits waiting for the right deer to walk by. Challenging and unpredictable fall weather can keep us out of the woods when we just use a climber or hang-on stand, but you don’t have to worry about that when you’ve got a high-quality box blind. They also keep your scent contained and hide your profile and movements from wary game animals. This is a huge advantage when hunting with a partner, cameraman, or even with kids. But maybe even more importantly, it provides a good space for you to draw your bow without getting busted when there are lots of observant eyes around. In some locations (i.e., edge of a clover or bean field), there could be dozens of deer all watching for danger, which would make stealthily drawing your bow pretty tricky.

That being said, there are a few potential disadvantages if you don’t plan ahead fully. For example, if a hit-list buck starts avoiding a hunting location completely, there’s really no stealthy or easy way to move an entire box blind around. If you have a climbing tree stand, you could easily sneak away to a different tree and/or location without making much noise at all. But you can’t exactly sneak a tractor around your property without wary bucks at least noticing. Granted, if it’s a farmed property anyway, they’re probably used to the sights and sounds of tractors, and may not view it as a threat. But this is why planting the right food plot in the right location and using the right box blind setup makes such a difference.

The Perfect Box Blind Setup for Different Food Plots

As we mentioned, box blind placement is going to be critical to your success this season, especially if you plan on bow hunting more than rifle hunting. For ethical bow shots, you need to be a heck of a lot closer to them than with a rifle. This means you can’t just deploy a box blind anywhere – you need to really think about how deer move through the area first. To counter their lack of mobility, you should try to position them strategically for different parts of the hunting season. To make them even more effective and sweeten the pot, if you will, you should consider pairing them with a food plot or agricultural food source as well. These areas will usually be the best place to put a box blind. Let’s look at some examples.

Annual Agricultural Fields

Whether you hunt over corn or soybeans in a given year, there’s no denying that big ag fields can really pull deer from far and wide. Whitetails in farm country will usually pattern their feeding schedule around one of these fields. It serves as a destination food source, and deer will usually spend most of the night feeding in and resting near them. How can you take advantage of that fact? Place a box blind on the field edge!

Wait, wait, it’s not always that easy. If you’re bow hunting in a box blind, you can’t put the blind up just anywhere along the edge. Deer tend to take a few common trails into these fields, and then slowly disperse into the center where there is more food available (due to better conditions and less browsing). While you could make a shot into the center of the field with a rifle, you’re headed for disappointment if you have a bow in hand and bucks out of reach. In this case, you really need to find a spot to funnel and congregate the deer movement so you can make a shot.

One example would be a converging trail system. Deer will usually take several trails from different bedding areas, but they might converge on a field corner, for example, as the main entry point. Inside and outside corners of fields are great pinch points for bow hunting whitetails. Placing a Muddy® Bull box blind in one of these corners near a trail system puts you within bow range of deer movement for an easier shot opportunity without spooking deer when you leave for the night. Additionally, placing your blind just within the woods may give you a better chance at a daylight shot, since reclusive bucks may hang out on the field edge until just before dark. If they stage up in front of your box blind, you may just get a shot off before the light completely fades.

Another example might be putting a water hole along the field edge to concentrate deer activity for a close shot. As we mentioned, field fringes are usually less productive and get picked over faster than the field centers. As a result, deer tend to cruise right past these areas. But digging a shallow water hole along the fringe can be just enough of a draw, especially in hot early season conditions, to make deer pause more than long enough for a good shot.

Perennial Food Plots

Another popular option for all-season hunting opportunities would be a clover or alfalfa field. Perennial spring food plots are green and lush through most of the year and help deer and turkeys get a head start each spring by being some of the first green forage available. But these plots can also be one of the best spots for deer hunting blinds as deer start to feel the pressure of the early season bow hunting crowd. Bucks will naturally want to avoid large open fields as they get more cautious, and these hidden food plots can be the best spot to catch them still wandering around during the day.

Large alfalfa hayfields can be hunted and approached much like the agricultural scenario above. However, you can also very effectively use the Muddy® Bale Blind if you routinely hay these fields. This allows you to hunt further out into the field with a bow than you would be able to with a typical box blind setup. Just make sure there’s some kind of natural draw or fence line nearby that you can use to sneak in and out without spooking deer.

Many clover food plots tend to be smaller in size, located in the timber, or consist of narrow travel lanes instead of large plots. These areas can be hunted a little easier than open fields because there is generally more cover surrounding them to sneak into and out of the box blind setup. Perennial clover plots usually respond best by planting seeds in the fall, along with a cereal grain nurse crop. This will give you a hunting opportunity this fall, but the real magic happens in the following few years. By next fall, your clover plot will likely be lush and full provided you do some maintenance on it throughout the summer. Hunting in a box blind above one of these fields can be magical on some properties.

Using These Box Blind Hunting Tips

As you consider the options above for a stellar early season deer hunt, you should always keep access and practicality at the front of your mind. If a certain box blind setup might be difficult to sneak into without disturbing deer, it’s probably not a good spot to sit. But if you can easily slip in and out without a deer noticing you, you have a chance at a successful bow hunt. And when you’re using the box blind hunting strategies above and pairing them with a good food plot, you have a really good chance.

Late Season Turkey Hunting | Tips for Stubborn Toms

Challenges and Solutions for Late Season Turkey Hunting

Hopefully, you’ve already put a nice tom down and on the table this spring. However, it doesn’t always work out the way you want. Calendars fill up, the weather might not cooperate, and the birds might be even less accommodating. But there’s still time to pull it off this year if you haven’t yet. Turkey hunting, like most types of hunting, can either be the most rewarding and fulfilling experience you can have or the most frustrating and confusing thing in the world. When you talk about late season turkey hunting, it tends to be an extreme case of both somehow. On one hand, the birds are seasoned survivors, so they know most of the tricks up your sleeve and will continue to avoid you despite your best efforts. And yet, when you do manage to kill a late season gobbler, you definitely feel like you’ve earned it and can wear it as a badge of honor. Spring turkey hunting is funny that way.

Each state has slightly different turkey seasons, so we’ll avoid diving into that too deeply. For the sake of this article, we’ll define late season as the last week or so of your state’s turkey season. It is crunch time and you need to make your time afield count. You may have only been able to hunt a small portion of the entire season, but the turkeys have been exposed to hunting pressure throughout the whole time slot. If you hunt turkeys on public land, especially, they have seen a thing or two. They know what’s going on at this point, which definitely complicates your life. Let’s look at a quick comparison of early season turkeys versus late season turkeys.

Early Season Turkeys Late Season Turkeys
Usually eager to respond to hen calls, and gobble back enthusiastically Often made call-shy by this point, they may silently slip through the woods

Often come running into decoys confidently

in small groups to fight for hens

May hang up out of range when they see a decoy to make it come to them

Cautious, but less discerning about

their surroundings

Very suspicious animals that will study their environment pretty closely before moving in

If you’ve noticed this pattern before when you’ve gone late season turkey hunting, don’t worry. There’s still hope for you. Let’s look through some turkey biology and explain exactly what turkeys do each day.

Wild Turkey Biology

In the early spring, hens will start to get ready to breed just after most males are primed for it and seeking them. This major peak in breeding activity is a great time to hunt since toms and hens are actively communicating and looking for each other.

However, after a few weeks of this, the bred hens slowly start to nest and the gobblers just can’t seem to find enough willing ones around anymore. They’ve also spent the last few weeks fighting each other for breeding rights and may be hesitant to approach other toms with hens (decoys, that is). But just as whitetails tend to have a second rut as more does come into estrous, there is another peak in turkey breeding activity shortly after the initial breeding phase. Toms will definitely be on the lookout for the last few receptive hens. That’s your ace in the hole for late season turkey hunting. With that, let’s dive into some spring turkey hunting tips you can use yet this season.

Late Season Turkey Hunting Tactics

When it comes to specific techniques, it really comes down to maximum concealment in the best places, the right kind of calling and using smart decoy tactics. Now we’ll break these out in more detail below.

Location and Absolute Concealment

One of the best tips for hunting late season turkeys is setting up in the right locations and then completely disappearing where you are. Setting up along travel routes and food sources is the best option to surprise a tom. After flying down from roost trees, toms will make their way to feeding areas. You can confirm that birds are using a given area with some light and fast scouting the day before or by using trail cameras to scout for you. The Muddy® Pro-Cam 10 or Pro-Cam 12 trail cameras both deliver amazing image quality with plenty of great setting. If you can stealthily sneak into a strip of trees between mature pines/oaks and a clover or alfalfa field, you should be able to surprise some turkeys in the timber. If not, green clover fields are magnets to turkeys in the spring, especially for late season turkey hunting. You’ll often find a turkey roost or two surrounding and in close proximity to green fields like these. Check out the video below, where two hunters tagged two gobblers on day one of their turkey camp in a clover field just like this.

By this point in the season, most gobblers have been harassed by all kinds of hunters and are pretty cautious. They generally won’t come running into fields and decoys as confidently as they did in the early season. They will hang back and make sure the way is safe before proceeding. Because of that, you need to make absolutely sure you can hide from their keen eyesight – that’s always been a turkey hunting 101 lesson. Muddy® blinds are the way to go in this regard. Sure, you could still tuck into some heavy vegetation with some head-to-toe camouflage clothing. But this really limits your movement and can ruin your hunt when a silent gobbler sneaks up behind you and sees you reach for your turkey call.

Instead, set up you blind in a spot with high turkey traffic. If the turkeys in your hunting area are really suspicious birds, take some time to brush your blind in a little using natural vegetation from immediately around the blind. This small act can do wonders for making your blind completely disappear, even in a wide open field. Be sure to wear black clothing and maybe even black face paint when you hunt inside a blackout interior blind. No gobbler will see what’s coming for him. This approach is pretty much mandatory for turkey hunting with a bow due to the extra movement involved in raising and drawing it.

Late Season Turkey Calling

Spring turkey calling is a tricky thing because it changes so much from the beginning of the season to late season turkey hunting. As we mentioned, early season turkeys are pretty likely to come running into a series of hen yelps without too much prompting. But late season turkeys are a different breed and the conditions are very different. The hens have mostly been bred and the activity is dropping off fast. Consequently, there are fewer hens calling and those that are vocal are timider. So you have a few options:

  • You could completely rely on stealth and make no calls at all. This is a great option for areas with lots of turkey traffic and for surprising pressured turkeys. It feels like more of a deer hunt since it’s a complete ambush.
  • You could also try to keep your calling limited to a few soft hen yelps and cuts, followed by long pauses of at least a half an hour (unless you hear a turkey respond). If you hear a hen call to you, try to mimic her tone and cadence in response. If you hear a gobble, call back and try to read the excitement level. He may be excited and still come running over, or he may shut up and silently sneak closer. It’s a case by case basis.
  • If you get a gobbler that hangs up out of range and sight, but keeps gobbling back to your hen yelps, you may want to get mobile. Assuming you have some good camouflage clothing, silently sneak away from the gobbler, making a few calls along the way. Then set up for a shot, stop calling, and just listen. Sometimes, this simulated hen leaving him will make a gobbler change his mind and come running in hot pursuit of his lost opportunity.
  • Finally, if you notice gobblers starting to travel together in bachelor groups in the extreme late season, it might be time to give up the hen calls altogether. Toms may just be looking for other toms to hang out with for the summer and could respond better to a gobbler yelp than a hen yelp. Try letting out three slower, lower, and raspier yelps to simulate a tom instead of the faster, higher, and clean yelps of a hen.

To Decoy or Not to Decoy?

Whether or not you should use turkey decoys during your late-season turkey hunting is a tricky question. In some cases, even the best turkey decoys you’ve got just aren’t good enough. Taking the complete surprise approach by not using any decoys may be the right thing to do. Particularly for cautious birds, this is a smart move. Some toms might see a jake decoy and decide they don’t want to chance an encounter that could get them in another fight with their busted up bodies. Some toms might also see a hen decoy and decide they’ve seen enough hens that turn out to be less than real. In that case, they might hang up out of range and wait for the hen to come to them instead – it’s just a safer option for them.

But using decoys can still be effective for late season turkey hunting, on one condition: you may want to avoid using a jake decoy. It’s just a little too risky in the late season. Usually, the best approach for late season turkey hunting decoys is to just use a single hen about 15 to 20 yards from your ground blind. If a lonely gobbler stumbles on it, he’s bound to come check it out.

For this year’s late season turkey hunting, consider your typical approach and how you could use the late spring turkey hunting tips above to put a gobbler on the ground.

Box Blind

Post Season Considerations | Box Blind Placement and Strategies

Box Blind Placement & Strategies

As hunters, we are always trying to elevate our game and surround ourselves with the tools and equipment that will increase our chances of success while in the field. When it comes to the post season, time allows us an opportunity to reevaluate the past deer season and make adjustments. These adjustments come in the form of new food plots, habitat improvements, new trail camera strategies, and changing the positions of your tree stands, ground blinds, and box blinds. While every single adjustment is a single piece to the bigger puzzle of a successful deer season, where the rubber meets the road so to speak is the exact placement and strategy behind where you are hunting.

We have come a long way from way from the days of when a deer stand consisted of 2 x 4’s and railroad spikes and a ground blind consisted of a bucket with a few limbs scattered around.  Those methods were effective and still are in the right situations no doubt, however, with the modern technology leading the way, today’s hunting blinds surpass anything that sportsmen of even ten years ago could have imagined.  Today, there is a long list of hunting blinds available for purchase, however, over the last three years, box blinds have continued to grow in popularity among all hunters.  Why might you ask?  The answer is simple, box blinds become a backbone for private land hunters by offering stable, consistent, and comfortable hunting.

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Why Choose a Box Blind?

Having choices is generally a good thing, so with so many hunting blinds to choose from, why should you choose a box blind?

It is All About the Two C’s

Everyone knows that there are many factors that go into being successful in the field.  Patience, persistence, hard work, and dedication are often the four building blocks that lay the foundation for a great hunt.  However, when you get down to brass tacks to lay a solid foundation you need to address the two C’s, comfort and concealment.  The fact is, if you are protected from the elements and are able to stay comfortable even in the harshest of conditions, you can extend your hours in the field.  Having the ability to stay in the field, no matter the conditions provides you with a huge advantage.  As we all know, when the weather gets rough, typically the hunting gets exciting.

Concealment is the name of the game.  Hunting from a box blind offers the hunter with an unmatched level of concealment as compared to a tree stand or even a pop up blind.  With space and storage to spare, box blinds allow the hunter the freedom to move undetected by game.  As a hunter, when you are confident in your concealment, then you have one less thing to worry about and you can concentrate on making that perfect shot.

A solid box blind creates a reliable hunting position, no matter the weather or time of year a box blind in the right setting is always a position that produces opportunities. Without box blinds, uncomfortable hunting conditions such as below freezing temperatures, high winds, or rain will keep hunters inside. The box blind is the opportunity that you should have available on your hunting property.

A Worthy Investment

Hunting is a very gear intensive activity, and as result, sportsmen have come to have high expectation of their hunting equipment. If you spend your hard earned money on a piece of equipment you want that piece of equipment to last and function for many seasons.  You expect it to withstand the elements, and you ultimately expect it to have a positive impact on your overall hunting experience.  Without question, a well-constructed box blind will check all of those boxes and much more.  The typical lifespan of a well-constructed box blind can be well over 15 years. A deluxe box blind that is feature driven that far exceeds what most box blinds entail can last even longer. What should you look for in a box blind? Check below to see a score sheet to judge a box blinds features before the buy.

Box Blinds, Food Sources, and Placement Strategies

One of the best attributes of a box blind is that they can literally be deployed in just about any setting or location.  From wide open range land to heavily wooded ridges, it doesn’t matter, you can use them anywhere.  Although box blinds are very adaptable to a wide range of conditions and situations, exactly where you choose to place your blind can often make all the difference.  There are certainly locations and settings that are more conducive for box blind hunting than others, and understanding how best to use your box blind is certainly an important piece of the puzzle.

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Box Blinds & Food Sources

Without question, one of the most popular locations to set a box blind is within close proximity of a food source.  These may be large Ag fields or small food plot locations. The pull and reliability of food goes hand in hand with box blinds. The pair creates an excellent location for hunting for a variety of reasons.

By in large, Ag fields and food plots have several facets in common.  Both attract a wide array of wildlife throughout the course of the year, however, both Ag fields and food plots come with their own set of challenges when it comes to planning how to hunt these areas.  The smaller the area, the easier it is to utilize a wider range of deer stands or ground blinds, however, as these areas grow in size and shape it can become challenging to find a suitable stand location.

Large food plots and Ag fields are harder to hunt for a couple of key reasons.  The first is simply the lack of stand locations.  Unless there is a draw or other scattered trees throughout the field (which is highly unlikely) you will likely be restricted to hunting the field edges.  In some cases, hunting the field edges can be very effective, especially if you are packing some firepower.  Things change significantly once you put down the rifle or slug gun and pick up your archery equipment as your effective range is cut dramatically, as it can only take a few seconds for your hit list buck to go from in range to out of range.

The second and albeit most common scenario is simply that the game you are after is utilizing the center of the field, and there just isn’t a good opportunity to hunt an “edge set”.  In larger fields, wildlife like white-tailed deer and wild turkeys will often utilize the center of these large food plots and Ag fields for a number of reasons.  For starters, they can see for a great distance, so they tend to feel safer knowing that they can see danger coming, and have time to escape.  Secondly, the center of the field often has more waste grain than the edges.  Field edges are typically less productive and thereby can sometimes have less food available.  The same holds true in a food plot scenario, as forage quality typically increases the closer you get to the center of the plot.

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If you find yourself in this situation, there is a good chance that you are going back to the drawing board in an effort to figure out a way to effectively get to where you need to be in the field, and hopefully, fill a tag.  Clearly, a deer stand is not the answer.  A tripod stand does have its advantages and can be effective in these situations however they are typically more effective when used in close proximity to cover as the structure and cover helps break up the outline and silhouette of the hunter.

Pop-up blinds can work in these settings.  They have proven to be effective time and time again for harvesting game in the open country; however, they do come with a certain set of challenges.  In open landscapes with high winds, using a pop-up blind can be difficult.  Though they are built tough, it can be hard for them to hold up to a high level of sustained wind and as a result, high winds can often restrict your ability to hunt and when your numbers of days available to hunt are limited you need to make every day count.  Probably most important, however, is visibility.  Most pop-up blinds are utilized directly on the ground, and as a result, a little topography or roll in the landscape can make it difficult to see and harvest game.

Box blinds are the absolute perfect solution for hunting in these types of locations.  Box blinds, when used in these types of locations offer you an elevated vantage point which minimizes the impact that any topography may have, and will help you to keep a keen eye on the animals in the field.   Having an elevated shooting position always affords a hunter a much easier shot window with both archery equipment as well as a firearm.  As has already been mentioned, the level of comfort and concealment you get when hunting from a box blind is unmatched.  Having the ability to move without being seen is often a critical part of being successful in the field, and no other hunting blind or stand gives the level of concealment that a box blind can provide.  Probably most important, however, is just how durable these hunting blinds are.  A box blind can handle a wide range of weather conditions, and allow you to stay in the field hunting rather than forcing you to call it a day.

TP1-9-17 from Muddy’s Trophy Pursuit on Vimeo.

Box Blind Placement Tips

Having the ability to monitor every inch of the food plot or Ag field allows the hunter to spot any wildlife that happens to slip into the plot or field, regardless of the topography or cover.  With visibility being so important, placing your box blind in an area that will increase your ability to see as much of the area as possible is important.  Although this tip may seem obvious, the fact is there are better places to place your box blind than others and sometimes we as a hunter have pre-conceived notions as to where we will place our hunting blinds and do not do a good enough job reading the area.  When this happens, we end up placing the blind in a suboptimal location, which inevitably costs us an opportunity.

Look for the High Spot

Before you set your box blind, take a good hard look at the area you are planning to hunt.  At first glance, it might all look the same however if you pay it a second or even a third glance there may be slight rolls or high points in the field that could offer an increased vantage point.  Remember the more height you have, the greater your visibility can be.  It is important to remember that the highest point in an area is typically the area that receives the most wind, so be sure to anchor your blind accordingly.

Path Most Traveled

Scouting is always the name of the game, and putting your trail cameras to good use can really pay off when it comes to setting up your pop up blind.  Having an understanding as to how wildlife enters and exit the field, and where the primary trail locations are can be excellent information to have in your back pocket as you begun to set up your box blind. You want to be close to these areas if you can, however, always keep visibility in mind, and try not to sacrifice your visibility if you can help it.  Be aware of bedding and roosting areas as well, and you would want to minimize any disturbance to these areas.

Although it is important to understand where wildlife enters and exit the food plot or Ag field you are hunting, it can be even more important to understand where they tend to spend the majority of their time while in the field.  Generally, these are better locations to establish your box blind set then along a major trail or travel area.

Entry and Exit

Without a doubt, developing your entry and exit strategy before you set your box blind can be one of the biggest steps in the whole process.  Developing your entry and exit strategy requires you to take an over-arching, comprehensive look at the entire set up and determines where the best blind location is, based upon all the factors available to you (visibility, wildlife use, scouting info, etc.).

Hunting in open areas like food plots or Ag fields can be a challenge, mainly because of ability for wildlife to see you coming and going.  Anytime you can take this advantage away from the game you are after it’s a plus.  Often, you can utilize topographical features like drainage ways, draws and even rolls in the field to help you make your entry and exit a little easier and a little more concealed.  If the opportunities to utilize natural features are not there, there are other options such as leaving standing grain or planting vegetative screens.  You might be surprised just how much cover can be afforded to a hunter by leaving just a couple rows of corn.  Likewise, planting a vegetative screen such as Sorghum-Sudan grass or tall native grasses like Big Bluestem can really do wonders to hide a hunter’s movement to and from the blind.

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Always give strong consideration to prevailing wind directions and what the optimal wind conditions may be for your box blind set.  Although your scent will be greatly minimized once you are in the blind, you still need to be able to get to and from the blind without spooking any wildlife life in the area, and if you are planning to use your box blind for species like white-tailed deer or pronghorn then the wind direction will should play a big part in your decision-making process.

Box blinds, like the hunters who use them continue to evolve and become more efficient and effective each and every year.  A box blind can be a sound investment for any hunter who is looking to raise their game to another level and appreciates staying concealed and comfortable each and every time they hit the field.

New 2017 Muddy Box Blind

New for 2017, Muddy introduces the Gunner box blind. The Gunner box blind is the younger brother of the Muddy Bull box blind. From the same genetic pool, the Gunner features all of the bells and whistles of its older brother, the Muddy Bull, just in a smaller package. This offers hunters the same superior quality they have come to expect from the Muddy Bull Blind, now in a smaller and more budget friendly blind! Check it out below!

NEW 2017 Muddy Gunner Box Blind

New 2017 Muddy Box Blind | The Gunner

Sit in Comfort with the New Muddy Outdoor Gunner Box Blind

Muddy Outdoors, known for exceptionally high-end and feature driven product lines, has now expanded and revolutionized their line to contain even more options!

New for 2017, Muddy introduces the Gunner box blind. The Gunner box blind is the younger brother of the Muddy Bull box blind. From the same genetic pool, the Gunner features all of the bells and whistles of its older brother, the Muddy Bull, just in a smaller package. This offers hunters the same superior quality they have come to expect from the Muddy Bull Blind, now in a smaller and more budget friendly blind!

The Muddy Gunner features:

  • Floor: Joist and Sheeting
  • Walls: Therma-Tek Panels
  • Roof: Sheeting and Plastic, Heavy-Duty Molded Roof
  • Windows: Residential Quality Glass and All Steel Hardware
  • Blind Dimensions: 4’ Square x 7’ Tall
  • Door: 30”W x 70”T
  • Windows: 33” Wide x 13” Tall

To find out more on the Muddy Gunner box blind go to www.gomuddy.com!

october deer hunting | Muddy Outdoors

2 Bucks That Show You Shouldn’t Dismiss October Deer Hunting

2 Giant Bucks That Prove October Deer Hunting Can Be Successful

What you are looking at are two bucks “Lefty” and “Danger”…and they are both examples of October deer hunting perfected. This is a smack in the face for many hunters. All too often bow hunters dismiss the first 3 weeks of October as fruitless and barren as far as deer movement and harvest opportunities are concerned. If you have up to this point been one of these hunters…the small amount of days left in October should be exploited.

The two bucks shown above and below are proof that big mature bucks can and will be brought down throughout October. If these two stories don’t change your mind about October upon watching them, will prove you might just be the most stubborn hunter in the woods to date.

Bill Winke’s “Lefty”

october deer hunting | Muddy OutdoorsOctober 19th Bill WInke had his last encounter with a buck he called “Lefty”. If you follow the Midwest Whitetail show at all, you were kept up to date with every single photo, trail camera image and video that Bill got of “Lefty”. Throughout the season Bill dove into a constant state of patterning “Lefty” with his Muddy trail cameras. In fact, in his weekly web show “Whitetail 101” featured on Muddy TV, he discussed “Lefty” on episodes, keeping an audience up to date with the buck’s home range, recent movements, and status. Even when the mature buck “Lefty” broke off his G3 on his signature left beam, Bill kept us up to date.

Midwest Whitetail’s signature, the thing the audience loves the most about the show, is that it is semi-live content. Every week, you get the latest intel, hunts, and what is coming up from the guys that are actually out there hunting. Some of this semi-live content is available on Muddy TV  under the web show name “Whitetail 101”. The weekly episode, Episode 8: October Cold Fronts, covering the hunting strategy Bill was going to be using, actually explained the scenario that led to the successful harvest of “Lefty”.

Whitetail 101 Ep9, “October Cold Fronts”

Bill’s focus for the week of hunting was to concentrate on cut corn fields. As soon as the combines rolled out, Bill went in. This tactic and information that he presented to the audience could not have proven to be any more reliable as the buck he named “Lefty” worked his way into the field.

Iowa Giant | Winke’s Quest for “Lefty

Mark Drury’s “Danger” 217 2/8” Inch Buck

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Another big name in hunting, Mark Drury of Drury Outdoors, found success with a very very impressive deer during October. Again, this particular buck was brought down with help of trail camera info. A build up of trail camera information from previous years and recent information on the bedding area where “Danger” resided, led Mark to believe that hunting the bedding area would pay off big.

After the thought, the strategy went into place Mark built a platform for, and hauled in a Muddy Bull box blind to hunt “Danger”. Mark spent a couple hours setting up the box blind, and trimming shooting lanes and set up for the day he would go in after “Danger”.

box blinds score sheet Blind | Muddy Outdoors

Takeaways From These Bucks

The takeaways from these bucks killed in October is obviously that October is a month to hunt. We all to often hear of hunters that completely dismiss October deer hunting as a “good” month of hunting, when in fact it could be the best to your specific situation. Sure October is a month of rapid change, this change is associated with homornes, weather, food sources and the changing deer movement as a result of those factors. But if you have the knowledge of how to kill a buck in October, then you can use the month of bow huting to its full potential.

This knowledge can be summed up from these two hunts that give you some amzing hunting tips for October. Bill WInke’s buck “Lefty” was killed using the information he revealed on his weekly show “Whitetail 101”. Cut corn fields, again the same information he told the audience “could pull deer off acorns during October”, led him to a successful harvest of his number one hit-list buck. But before this, with keeping up with both Midwest Whitetail and Whitetail 101, the audience viewed the entire strategy laid out behind the deer and the hunt that day. Years of trail camera information suggested not only the buck’s personality, but his home range depending on the month and time of the year. This supplied Bill with information to where the buck “Lefty” might be bedded, giving Bill the intel he needed to stay out of the area.

The biggest mistake hunters can make in October is being carelessly aggressive after a buck. Going after a buck is one thing, but being careless in you scent strategys, entry and exit routes, noise, and stand setup will ruin the hunt and your chance for the deer. Bill took extreme caution on this buck. This mostly came with his trail camera strategies, not being to invasive with his placement, wearing rubber waders while checking cards, and keeping the pressure off the buck.

Mark Drury used the same strategies with his buck “Danger”. The trail camera intel was invaluable, but his hunt brings with it a new factor that you absolutely should be paying attention to this time of year. Mark looked for an October cold front, just like the one that is explained and laid out in the blog: Deer Hunting October Cold Fronts. With a cold front pushing cooler temperature and a rise in pressure, Mark planned to go in for an aggressive hunt. The combination with the weather and an optimally placed Muddy Bull box blind came together for the harvest of the number one hit-list buck “Danger”.

Both of these giants are tangible evidence that October is more that a month to sweep under the rug. Each and every week we bring you new, “fresh” content on our semi-live, always available channel, Muddy TV. You will find several shows giving you the latest hunting observations, how tos, and tips for each week of hunting! October is not over, now is the time to get aggressive and go after the bucks, with of course the tips and tactics you have learned today.

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy Outdoors

Should You Be Bow Hunting Deer in Farm Country?

How Does Bow Hunting Deer in Agricultural Areas Rank?

Imagine a hunter sitting in a tree stand bow hunting deer. As the hunter perches above a field edge, you can see deer after deer entering a beautiful soybean field. The deer happily graze the last few green leaves as harvest season approaches and the beans are drying out. Among the herd, a giant velvet buck

raises his head, oblivious to the hunter only 30 yards away. Everyone who watches outdoor television can probably relate to this familiar scene. For those who don’t have access to agricultural land, it’s likely a dream to be in this situation. What is it about big “farm country bucks” that holds our imagination so much?

Before we get into that discussion, let’s define what we’re talking about. Agricultural areas are very different than wooded wilderness areas. For the purposes of this article, we’ll define farm country as anywhere where agriculture makes up at least half of the land use. That means lots of human disturbance on the landscape, and lots of open areas. Compare that to remote, densely forested wilderness areas, and bow hunting for whitetail deer is a whole different ballgame. So why is hunting farmland so appealing and are there any down sides to it?

Challenges of Bow Hunting Deer in Farm Country 

One of the best things about hunting whitetails in agricultural areas is also one of the hardest parts. Each year, there is a seasonal abundance of food. During the summer and early fall, deer can graze away at corn, soybeans, or hayfields until they’re absolutely full. This can make patterning bucks a little difficult when there is similar quality food everywhere. Similarly, once harvest season comes and farmers head to the fields, all of this food disappears almost overnight. Thousands of acres of high-quality, carbohydrate and protein-packed crops literally turn into bare soil and wide-open exposures. At this point, usually in late fall, bow hunting deer can get really hard without an alternate source of food around. Whitetails still have to eat. In fact, rut-weary bucks need a major amount of calories to gain back some weight and make it through the winter, so they will seek food out wherever they can.

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy Outdoors

Another issue with hunting farmland whitetails is access. Many public hunting lands consist of forested tracts or open grassy areas. But there are very few publicly-available agricultural properties. Some state agencies will plant food plots for deer and other wildlife, but it’s definitely not the norm in most places. So unless your family owns some crop land or you have some generous relatives or friends, you’ll likely have to lease a property or get permission from a land owner to hunt. Depending on where you live, this could be tricky.

One other challenge with farm country bucks is stealth. Because crop land is so open and exposed, having some variety of tree cover or topography is important for bow hunting deer. Without that kind of cover, it can be hard to sneak into and out of tree stands without deer spooking in every direction. For example, you might be able to sneak into tree stands for bow hunting on a corn field in the afternoon. But try sneaking back out in the evening with eyes watching you from potentially every direction. All you’ll accomplish is educating the deer herd on your intentions. And that definitely won’t help you out.

Rewards of Bow Hunting Deer in These Areas 

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy OutdoorsThough we’ve touched on the potential setbacks you could have with farmland whitetail archery hunting, there are a lot of rewards with it too. As we already mentioned, deer in these farmed areas have an amazing seasonal abundance of calories. Row crops like corn and soybeans are most commonly planted in these areas, but longer-lasting alfalfa/clover hay fields also provide a lot of forage throughout the year. They use these foods to grow larger bodies and antlers than many other deer across the country. That’s why states like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois have consistently high entries into the Pope and Young records. And if you’re hunting deer in agricultural areas, you could stand a chance at joining this crowd.

Another nice thing about bow hunting deer in these areas is that the open exposures allow us to keep an eye on the deer herd throughout the summer. Why is that important? Well, many bucks form summer bachelor buck groups and travel together often. If you get a bachelor group of bucks on your property, you can pattern them and keep tabs on their activities from a distance (say, from a county road using a spotting scope). If your bow season starts early enough, you just might be able to take advantage of this long-distance deer scouting to put you within bow range of a good buck. This isn’t an option in wooded areas with no main focal feeding point. Of course, once the corn gets tall enough even in farm country, this approach is no longer possible. So use it while you can.

How to Hunt Deer in Farm Country 

Now that we’ve talked about the ups and downs of hunting bucks in the country, let’s discuss how you could do it this fall. The first thing you’ll need to do is gain access to hunt a farm property. This process should not be taken lightly. First, spend some time looking for potential areas on an aerial map to find farms that could be good to hunt. Look for promising bedding cover adjacent to hidden farm fields or anything that might set up for a successful bow hunt. Later on, you can get more specific about where to hunt deer on a smaller scale. Then get yourself a plat book and contact the land owner. See if you could arrange to meet them in person so you’re not just a voice on the phone.

As far as how to ask someone to hunt on their land, it’s a delicate process. Be aware that most farmers have heard about a hundred different pitches and they’ve maybe even had some bad experiences with hunters. So don’t be surprised to get far more “no” responses than “yes,” and don’t take it personally. If they say no, simply thank them for their time and be courteous. As with anything in life, authenticity and respect make a difference. If you’re very respectful to them and perhaps even offer to trade some chores or venison meat for the privilege to hunt on their farm, you will stand a better chance at getting to a “yes” as fast as possible. From that point on, make sure you do whatever you say you’re going to do. Nurture the relationship by extending a helping hand or sending a card on Christmas. It will help you stand out.

As much as you’re able to, take some time and scout the property from a good vantage point over the summer. Whether it’s from a road, a hayloft, or in an observation tree stand, glass the fields with binoculars or a spotting scope in the evening to find out where the bucks are entering to feed. Try to piece together a pattern from their activities and try not to enter the woods until you absolutely have to. While deer in farm country are fairly used to tractors and four wheelers driving by, they still get very suspicious when a human walks through their territory on foot. Another way to keep tabs on the herd to know where to hunt deer is to use trail cameras on the field fringes. Be sure to only check them during the day when they are unlikely to be nearby, and pay special attention to scent control to hide your presence. If there are no suitable trees, such as in a hedge row, use the dual camera ground mount to cover a couple directions.

Hopefully by the time archery season comes, you’ll have developed a hunch as to where to hunt deer on the farm. The next step is to find a location where you could hunt them without them knowing you’re there. Wooded corners (outside or inside) bordering agricultural fields, hedgerows with some mature trees, or isolated forest islands are all good deer hunting stand locations you might want to try. If the landowner allows, using box blinds for deer hunting is a great way to stay comfortable.

should you be bow hunting deer in farm country | Muddy OutdoorsBut the single biggest predictor of success is how hidden you can stay throughout the season. If you notice that the deer aren’t traveling where you can hunt them, you shouldn’t just toss your bow hunting deer stands up and hope for the best. Instead, you need to get creative. For example, a ground blind covered in corn stalks and tucked into the rows can become nearly invisible. Make sure you’re overlooking a cut portion or you won’t have much of a shot available. Or an especially deadly tactic for hayfields is to use a hay bale blind that’s hidden amongst other round bales. After sneaking into one of these in the afternoon, you can wait in concealment until the deer pass by your location.

And as we mentioned above, even farm properties can become barren places after harvest season. Suddenly the typically larger deer herd has to compete for far fewer available calories. For that reason, either planting a food plot or negotiating with the farmer to leave some row crops standing are both beneficial. They concentrate deer in one area and can drastically improve your odds of putting a buck on the ground.

Should You Bow Hunt Deer on the Farm? 

If you can find a good property in “farm country” with a willing landowner, you should definitely try hunting it at least once. There are challenges, as with any hunting. But the potential reward of seeing a mature and healthy “corn-fed” buck that could land in the record books far outweighs the challenges with hunting them.

box blinds score sheet | Muddy Outdoors

Box Blinds Score Sheet | What to Look for In A Hunting Box Blind

Box Blinds Reviews, Considerations, and Score Sheet

Hunting box blinds can bridge the gap in many hunting situations. Whether it is a food plot, a giant Ag field, or simply a great spot for a permanent stand, box blinds are your best bet. Out of everything a hunter can possibly hunt out of, be it a tree stand, ground blind, or a brush blind, box blinds are always the most impressive and desired. Why? Simply do the fact that hunting box blinds are durable, comfortable, and above all functional. They can bridge the gap where tree stands and ground blinds cannot, giving you an elevated and concealing platform.

While hunters might, generally speaking on box blinds, think that all are “made the same”, they could not be further from the truth. When you are looking to purchase a box blind for hunting, you should be considering a multitude of factors. These box blinds factors, individually diagnosed will give you a clue to whether or not a box blind is worth the buy or not. In some cases what you pay for is and is not applicable here. Running through the following considerations will tell you what kind of hunting box blinds you should invest in.

Box Blind Score Sheet

The following list provides detailed factors that should go into your considerations before purchasing a box blind. These are basics, and will provide you with score sheet so to speak, to rate each brand and box blind you come across in your research.

Rugged Construction

Description: A box blind with rugged construction, is a box blind that can stand up to years of wear and tear, inside and out. This means the box blind must be constructed with more than just a plastic shell. Multiple layered wall panels that take into consideration warmth, insulation, noise, as well as wind and weather proofing is a point added in the right direction. While this should be a given, inspecting a box blind’s construction process and the materials it is built with is often overlooked. However, the construction of the blind is the base from which your hunt will be built upon. Quality is well worth judging in this aspect. Ultimately the base is worth some play in judgement, with 2 points, giving you the ability to assign a blind the score of a 0-2.

Points Possible: 2

Scoring: 0 = Very poor, 1 = Bare minimum, 2= Well-built and thought out

Windows

Description: Window height, size, operation, and function all need to be considered before purchasing a box blind. The ideal window in a box blind should have the ability to be operated with one hand, should be silent, should give you plenty of shooting options for both gun hunting and bow hunting, and should have a seal for weather and scent. Another consideration is window material. Plexiglass scratches easy and can warp overtime, glass however is less likely to be scratched and can be cleaned very easy when fog and weather are present. This is where differences in box blinds can stand out, as it is clear which blinds are well thought out, and which are acceptable at best.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = Acceptable placement, material, operation, and size, 1= Well thought out placement, material, operation, and size

Doors

Description: Does the quality of the door matter? Ask yourself what is the biggest battle you face when hunting out of box blinds? Getting in and out of the blind silently! Door size and construction makes the difference for a hunt started off right by allowing you to sneak in silently. The door construction should be easy to operate, able to sit solid through any wind or weather, easy to operate, sealed for scent and rain, and of course silent.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = Flimsy, loud, and weak, 1 = Well-built, silent, and strong

Space

Description: Space is a big deal for hunting box blinds. The majority of the time, hunters are looking into purchasing a box blind for hunting with multiple hunters. Whether it is taking youth hunters out, hunting with a spouse, or hunting with friends, you need space for multiple hunters. Space allows you to be comfortable but also have the room to maneuver for shots, and draw a bow back when needed.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = 1-2 people, 1 = 3-4 people

Noise

Description: Box blinds need to be quiet period. Noise can amplify in a blind setting. Dropping hunting gear, dropping a window, closing the door to hard…these are all mistakes a hunter makes often. Before purchasing a box blind you should consider whether or not that noise will sound like a quiet and soft thud, or a loud amplifying noise that could potentially clear game out of the area. How do box blinds combat the noise factor? Construction and insulation that is well thought out go a long way. Simple plastic walls will be loud, but multiple insulated layers, seals on windows and doors, and carpeting throughout the blind can keep noise to a minimum.

Points Possible: 2

Scoring: 0 = No noise buffering, 1 = Slight buffering, 2 = Very quiet/great noise buffering

Scent

Description: Scent control is vital in most hunting situations, especially when hunting from an elevated box blind. How do you combat scent control in a box blind? Box blinds can combat scent control by having well-sealed and thought out blind features. The doors and windows of a box blind do not have to be necessarily air tight, but it needs to be as close as possible to seal in human odor to manage your scent properly. Being able to operate the windows with the certainty that no scent is leaking in an unwanted area is key. If scent is a great concern such as the early season, then leaving the windows close greatly reduces your scent footprint, only if the blind is well sealed. A well-sealed blind that keeps scent to a minimum could take the extra step in providing hunting opportunities such as the wrong wind direction.

Points Possible: 1

Scoring: 0 = No Seal, 1 = Sealed well

Comfort

Description: Comfort is a critical feature when it comes to selecting box blinds. Why is comfort so important? The simplest answer is that box blinds can afford to be extremely comfortable, and it is expected out of them. . Box blinds are somewhat permanent hunting settings that you expect will give you what you have paid for. This means the ultimate form of comfort and functionality. Misplaced windows, a hard platform, misplaced shelves, or a misplaced rest can make hunting slightly uncomfortable, which is unnecessary when purchasing such a large hunting setup and item such as a box blind.

Points Possible: 2

Scoring: 0 = uncomfortable, 1 = acceptable, 2 = Extremely comfortable

Box Blinds Score: _ / 10

Chances are you have been looking at box blinds, or you are currently running one through this score sheet, what did it score out of the 10 possible points?

We had two hunters run through the blind score sheet on the Muddy Bull Box Blinds. Not just any hunters however, two that have years’ worth of experience and plenty of that time spent in box blinds. Below is Mark and Terry Drurys’ review of the Muddy Bull Box Blind.

The Muddy Bull Box Blind | Mark Drury’s Review of the Muddy Bull
(Video)- Looking for the best hunting box blind on the market? The Muddy Bull Box Bind features an insulated design that provides thermal, scent and noise control. It has a lockable door, large interior, durable carpet, one hand window design, and ultra-quiet window and door latches.

The Ultimate Hunting Box Blinds | Muddy Bull Box Blind Review With Terry Drury
(Video)- The ultimate box blind for hunting needs all the bells and whistles. Features and design is critical. The box blind door, windows, scent management, sound dampening, and thermal layers all make for comfortable and functional hunting. If you are looking for the best hunting box blinds look no further, check out the Muddy Bull Box Blind!

 

The Muddy Bull Box Blind’s Score Sheet

box blinds score sheet Blind | Muddy OutdoorsMark and Terry Drury have run the Muddy Bull Box Blind through the score sheet. The Muddy Bull came out with a perfect score. See for yourself and run the Muddy Bull through the score sheet.

  • Rugged Construction = 2
  • Windows = 1
  • Doors = 1
  • Space = 1
  • Noise = 2
  • Scent = 1
  • Comfort = 2

Muddy Bull Score = 10/10

Deer season is almost upon us. As you begin to plant fall food plots, run trail cameras, and setup stands and blinds, think of an un-huntable area that could be successfully hunted with a box blind. A spot that could use an elevated platform, giving you comfort and a place to take your friends and family this fall. If you like the idea and are looking to purchase a box blind, run each consideration through this box blind score sheet. Interested in the Muddy Bull Box Blind? Before you buy, take a look at the construction process start to finish.

Muddy Bull Construction Video