Strategies for Hunting Post Rut Bucks

Tips and Tricks for Hunting Post Rut Bucks

For deer hunters, we have a calendar all our own, a calendar that non deer hunting folks don’t understand. Other folks live and work and play with their traditional calendar, and they celebrate normal holidays and plan vacations around things like beaches and summertime. But deer hunters, well, deer hunters live a life around a calendar that has more to do with deer than anything else. We divide our weekends, our vacations, and our free time into our passion. Deer hunters think of days and weeks in their relationship to the rut, to moon cycles, and days in the stand.

A serious deer hunters calendar looks something like this:

April to July – Early preseason, it’s time to make a plan for next year’s hunting season. Take stock of the deer herd and wait. There is an excitement around the planning and things to come during the preseason.

August to October – Preseason and pre-rut, this season is all about getting ready for the next. Game cameras, food plots, mineral sites, treestands and ground blinds; preseason is the time to put in the work and make it count. Any time on the hunt during this season is a bonus, and can be super hit or miss. September and October bucks can be patterned, but it’s nothing compared to what is to come.

November – November is its own, it’s special and it’s when the peak-rut occurs. Deer hunters long to spend time in the woods in November. Big mature bucks are at their most vulnerable during the pre and peak rut, establishing territories and finding does that are ready to breed. If there is any one time to be in the woods, November is that time.

December and January – Late season and post-rut, big bucks can still be hunted successfully during this time of the calendar, but it takes some switching things up from pre and peak-rut tactics. Deer have changed their priorities and food and survival have moved to the top of the list, and you have to hunt like it.

Finally February to March – Postseason, the honeymoon is over. It’s time to recover from the grind and make notes from everything the season was and what it wasn’t. Hunt for shed antlers, figure out what deer made it through the season, and dream about what next season has to offer.

Don’t Get the Post-Rut Blues

So here it is, post-rut and there you are with a buck tag still in your pocket. The pre and peak-rut have come and gone, and for whatever reason, it hasn’t come together for you yet this season. Does are starting to get back together, and those crazy days of deer on their feet in the middle of the day are winding down. Don’t let post-rut hunts get you down. The truth is, post-rut can be every bit as productive as the pre and peak-rut season. It is, however, important to consider your tactics when you are looking to hang your tag on a post-rut whitetail. Here are some important tips, tricks, and bits of information to keep in mind during your post-rut hunts.

 

Groceries 

With the breeding season over, bucks have changed their priorities. After weeks of fighting, chasing, and breeding; whitetail bucks are in need of important nutrition and calories.

Finding the feed that deer are using is critical during the post-rut season. Odds are the acorn mass of the fall is either long gone, or rotten. High calorie feeds are critical during this season, look to soybean fields, corn stubble, or late season food plots with mature turnips.

This time of the year, patterning deer and hunting the wind are as critical as ever. Keep tabs on where deer enter and exit the feeding area. The majority of the activity tends to be at dawn and dusk. Keep the wind in mind, both when entering your stand, during the hunt, and when exiting the hunt. Get there early and stay till last legal shooting light, the odds are good that a bruiser buck will show himself in waning light.

Seclusion

Post-rut is about recovery and survival. Mature bucks don’t get old by luck alone. The truth is, a mature whitetail that made it through the rut is both smart and lucky. Now that the breeding season is over, bucks will be looking for hidden and secluded areas to lay low and recover.

Only a few weeks, or even days ago, your strategy to tag a monarch whitetail probably involved does, bedding areas, and travel corridors. Those areas can still be productive, but as the rut winds down and bucks become solitary some of the best locations will be little out and of the way, hard to reach pieces of cover. Look for deer activity, tracks, or beds in little hidden thickets, cuts, and creeks. Secluded areas within close relative distance to a food source can be perfect. Running a few trail cameras in these spots can be productive, just be careful moving in and out.

The Second Rut

November has come and gone, and the whitetail breeding season along with it, but maybe not. Absolutely, the peak estrus cycle of most whitetail does occurs sometime in November, but here’s the deal; in areas with large doe populations and young does from this spring, a second rut may be in the cards.

Many factors will affect the primary rut including buck to doe ratios and weather. If your hunting area has a large number of does there is a chance that some of them were not bred during the November heat cycle. Those deer, along with the young does born this spring will potentially have an estrus cycle sometime in December. If that happens, and you are ready, the action can be just as good, maybe better than November.

Maybe November was hot with a full moon, and the rut happened primarily during nighttime hours. The second rut can be your chance at redemption. Pay attention to deer behavior, and don’t be surprised if tactics like grunts and antler rattling are productive. When you have an encounter, it’s critical to take that bucks temperature by reading his body language to figure out how aggressive and effective your tactics can be.

Make it Happen

The truth is, no amount of planning and tactics will guarantee you a deer. Get out there and put in your time. During your late season, post-rut hunts consider hunting reliable food sources that the deer are keying on. Look for mature bucks recovering from the rut in secluded pockets of cover, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to hunt the second rut. Don’t let a long season wear you down, this is a great time of year to be a deer hunter.

What is the Best Hang and Hunt Setup for Deer Hunting?

How to Effectively Use a Hang and Hunt Setup

There are so many different kinds of deer hunting strategies you can use during the season. From spot and stalk approaches to deer drives to setting up in ambush locations, there’s something for nearly everyone. But depending on the tree cover and habitat in your hunting area, you may or may not have tried hang on stands in the past. Maybe you’re intimidated by them or don’t think they could be used in a true hang and hunt setup. But here’s how a few members of the Hunting Public use this strategy to consistently sneak in close to bedded deer and kill mature bucks. We’ll discuss the benefits of this approach, the best way to pack it into the woods, how to hang a tree stand, other essential hunting gear, and how to adjust your hunting tactics based on different areas.

But first, what exactly are we talking about when we say hang and hunt setup? This is a scenario where you want to quietly sneak in on the day of your hunt to hang a tree stand and then immediately climb up and start deer hunting. For this specific situation, we’re also defining it as using a hang on stand versus other types of tree stands (you don’t really “hang” ladder stands or climbers, do you?). Hang on stands, or lock on stands, consist of simple platforms with chairs that you attach to the tree of your choice with ratchet straps and cables. The chairs may be simple platforms themselves or comfortable mesh backs. Muddy® has several hang on stand options, including the Boss Elite AL or Original Muddy Boss XL. To get up into them, you need to attach several ladder sections (also called “climbing sticks”) to the tree – also using ratchet straps or rope. Some examples from Muddy® include the Pro Climbing Sticks or Ascender sticks.

Benefit Over Other Options

So what makes this hang and hunt setup better or more appropriate than other tree stands or options? There are several reasons below, but at its simplest, you couldn’t really call it a hang and hunt setup if you were propping up a ladder stand, could you?

  • Tower stands and box blinds work great for hiding your movement and scent from deer, but they are obviously not very quiet to install. You will probably have to use tractors or heavy machinery to install them, which will likely put the local deer on high alert for at least the rest of that day. 
  • While ladder stands are somewhat mobile, they’re certainly not mobile in a hurry. They are also fairly loud to cart around through the woods and you definitely need a partner to do it. Moving one around would make it tough to hunt that area the same day, so it’s not ideal for this hunting application. 
  • Climbing stands are the other obvious mobile tree stand option besides the hang and hunt setup. After all, climbing tree stands are also quiet, easy to carry and use, and you can hunt as soon as you climb into them. But they are limited to straight and limbless trees under a certain diameter. If you live in an area with a lot of old gnarly oaks and cottonwoods, you know that climbers are fairly useless for you. 
  • Last, although you can quickly and quietly move ground blinds, they may spook the deer slightly if they’re not used to seeing them. You might be able to get away with that approach just by brushing them in well, but you would have to be very quiet doing so.

Importantly, a lot of this does come down to your own hunting preferences. Depending on which type of hunter you are and the area you hunt in, one of these other tree stands or blind options might appeal to you more. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be easy or good to hunt the same day you put it up.

How to Pack a Hang On Stand

In the video below, two members of the Hunting Public show you exactly how they use the hang and hunt setup to consistently kill mature deer each season, even sneaking in close to bedding areas. They’ve used it for many years with great success, and you can too. After the video, we’ll break it down further for you.

As you can see, it’s totally possible to pack a hang on stand and some climbing sticks on your back. You can easily bring it with you into remote locations, set up your stand, and hunt it without ever being noticed. Here’s the process they discussed broken down into several smaller steps.

You have a few options for carrying a tree stand and climbing sticks for a hang and hunt setup. The sturdiest and probably quietest option is to use the first method demonstrated in the video above. Using a ratchet strap, you can stack 2 or 3 climbing sticks together on each side of the tree stand platform (or 4 or 5 all in one stack), and then secure them all together. This approach makes no noise when you shake it, and you definitely won’t lose a climbing stick while walking in – plus, it leaves your hands free to carry your bow or rifle as you go just in case you get the chance to shoot a deer. Of course, if you’re not comfortable using a ratchet strap because you think it will be too loud to operate, you could also use bungee cords or even rope to strap everything together. It just might not be as quiet and secure.

Alternatively, you could stack all the climbing sticks together and ratchet strap them together to carry them separately. The downside to that approach, of course, is that you then can’t carry your weapon as easily. Another option they mention in the video above is a product called Stick Talons, which allows you to connect your climbing sticks to your stand platform in a few different configurations.

How to Hang a Stand

Next, you’ll need to know how to hang a tree stand by yourself. Once you get everything back into your hunting area, you need to keep your guard up more than ever. Accidentally banging it against a tree or letting the climbing sticks clang together will not help your chances of seeing a mature buck. As Aaron and Zach said in the video above, you can silently hang a tree stand yourself – it just takes a little more time and patience. Here’s the general process you should follow when doing a hang and hunt setup on your own.

First, make sure you are wearing a safety harness throughout the process of hanging your tree stand and hunting – it is an essential piece of your hang and hunt setup. You might be asking yourself, “Are lock on stands safe?” When used correctly, the answer is absolutely yes. But any time you leave the ground, you are taking a risk. So before you hang your first climbing stick on the tree, attach your safety harness to the trunk and periodically move it up with you as you climb.

As for hanging tree stand hacks, you can also tie ropes from your safety harness to each ladder section and your tree stand. That way, you can just pull up additional pieces as you go instead of climbing up and down each time. As you make your way up the tree, attach additional climbing sticks to whatever height you want to hang your stand at, making sure you thoroughly seat them on the tree by pushing down on them. When it’s time to hang your stand platform, pull it up and use the ratchet straps to attach it, again making sure you thoroughly push down on it. Of course, you also then need to know how to get in a hang on tree stand. Your last and highest climbing stick should be located directly underneath your tree stand platform. Use the platform to climb up into it, making sure you stay connected to the tree via your safety harness at all times.

Hang on stands are great for public land hunting because you can easily bring everything back with you, quickly set it up, and start hunting in short order. When you’re done for the day, you can pack it all back with you, since some public lands don’t allow you to keep stands on them. And again, you’re not limited by the kinds of trees present either.

Other Essential Hunting Gear

After you hang your tree stand, the idea is that you can start hunting immediately. That means you not only have to pack your tree stand and climbing sticks in – you also have to carry everything else you might need for a deer hunt. If you’re planning on only hunting a single afternoon on your own property, you don’t have to carry as much gear as you shouldn’t get lost and won’t need much. But if you’re hiking miles back on new public land, you should plan on packing food, water, and navigational help just in case you get lost. Here are a few essential hunting items you should pack with you on any given hunt. 

  • Backpack (quiet material with lots of gear loops) 
  • Hunting knife 
  • License 
  • Extra ratchet straps and ropes 
  • Compass and map 
  • Water and snacks 
  • Clothing layers to suit the weather conditions 
  • Various deer calls (grunt call, doe can call, etc.) 
  • Scent elimination sprays or cover sprays 
  • Deer scents

Hang and Hunt Tactics

The last part of this hang and hunt setup is being in the right area so you can actually kill a deer – that is one of the goals, right? The deer hunting tactics you use will depend greatly on the area you are hunting in. For example, public lands will likely require you to move your stand with you wherever you go. On the other hand, if you’re hunting on private land, you could set up several hang on stands throughout your property and just bounce around between them depending on the weather conditions and wind.  Here are a few ideas for you as you prepare to go hunting.

Public Land Big Woods 

For heavily wooded public properties, you usually can’t effectively hunt feeding areas (since deer can browse throughout a broad area), so you need to depend on bedding areas or travel routes. If you’re bow hunting, you will need to be closer to the deer action than when hunting with a rifle or shotgun. A good way to do that is to set your tree stands about 15 to 20 yards away from major deer trails, especially if the trails come out of good bedding areas. During the middle of the day, you can quietly sneak into one of these areas without getting too close to the bedding area. After taking your time to set it up quietly, wait for the deer to file out of the bedding area along one of the trails. As long as you are high enough or in a tree with good branch structure and cover, the deer shouldn’t notice you.

Private Agricultural Areas 

When you’re hunting on private land, especially those with agricultural fields or food plots in the region, your tactics and hang and hunt setup will change a bit. In these areas you can depend on deer traffic within and to fields and food plots where they will feed in the evening. As mentioned, you could hang several tree stands ahead of time in this situation. But sometimes you just need to try a new location because the deer are using a different approach or the wind isn’t right for your other areas. In that case, you can quietly bring a hang on stand to your desired area, quickly set it up, and hunt the deer as they come to feed.

Get Started

So if the approach above sounds like it would work for you, grab your tree stand, climbing sticks, and bow or rifle, and head out to the woods. It’s not too late to use this hang and hunt setup and strategy this year. And if you take your time setting things up, you shouldn’t spook many deer in the process either.

 

Deer Blinds | Best Application for Each Type

Deer Blinds 101 | Ground, Bale, Hub, and Box Blinds

Not so long ago, most deer hunters headed out to their favorite hunting spot with a thermos full of coffee or soup, some sort of cushion to sit on, and their trusty firearm slung over their shoulder.  This checklist of must-haves might be the same, however, the setup at that particular destination looks very different today.  Parents and Grandparents across the land tell many hunting tales where they were positioned on the ground up against a mature tree or up on a ridge with a few branches stacked up in front of them to provide some level of concealment.  Throughout time, we have enhanced our concealment methods with many different options to try and remain undetected while in the whitetail woods.  The first advanced deer blinds began taking shape with strong fabric materials, then we started using wood to construct shooting houses, and eventually we added elevation with towers and platforms.  If you walk into any outdoor retailer today, you can become quite overwhelmed with the amount of options you have while shopping for a deer blind.  There are countless designs that use a plethora of different materials all while providing the option of permanent, semi-permanent, or mobile setups.  Understanding the fundamental differences and the intended use for each style will really help in narrowing down your selection on the optimal choice for your particular hunting location.

The Ground / Hub Blind

The most popular deer blind on the market today is by far the pop-up ground blind.  This hub-style tent design has provided hunters means to set up a new blind with 360-degree concealment anywhere they please within just a few minutes time.  Being lightweight, packable, and durable, pop-up style blinds create shelter on those foul weather days and expand the number of sits in the field throughout the season.  The Muddy line of ground blinds can be packed in using the carrying case and back-pack style straps for easy transport.

One major advantage of using a ground blind is having an alternative in areas where there are a scarce number of mature trees, limiting your options for hanging a treestand.  A whitetails preferred bedding habitat is usually thick with young saplings and undergrowth.  If you are trying to hunt close to bedded deer, a well brushed in ground blind can really pay off if set up properly.  Something you’ll want to keep in mind though is not to get too comfortable with unfavorable wind directions.  Even though you are concealed in a thick fabric, your scent will still carry and you still need ensure you are placing your blind down wind of their beds.

Another fantastic location for placing your ground blind is in transition areas.  These are popular locations for bucks to stage before exposing themselves in ag fields or open timber.  Dry creek beds that run alongside a patch of timber or marshy grass lands that lead into a swamp are a couple other examples of where a ground blind can be a real asset.  The Muddy Ravage and VS360 are durable and resistant to harsh weather.  Watch them disappear as you brush in the Epic camo covered canvas with surrounding vegetation.  If being on the ground just isn’t providing the views that you would like, Muddy’s line of ground blinds can easily be elevated.  Both the Ravage and VS360 can be placed on a tower or platform, but Muddy specifically created a soft-sided hub blind to be robust enough to withstand the higher winds that come with a lifted blind.  The Soft Side 360 is constructed with a powder coated steel frame and has insulated fabric walls.  If you decide to stay grounded or raise yourself to new heights, Muddy’s line of ground blinds has you covered.

 The Bale Blind

One of the coolest alternatives for those who hunt farm lands, prairies, or meadows is the creation of the bale blind.  The shape and color replicates a bale of hay that deer across the country are used to seeing in open areas.  The heavy-duty steel frame is covered with a burlap material that will blend right in just like another piece of farm equipment.  How many times have you hunted a field edge and watched deer move into the center well out of your shooting range?  The bale blind can place you right in the center of the action and deer won’t have a clue that they are being hunted.  I would advise setting out your bale blind prior to the start of the hunting season so the deer have a chance to get use to its presence.  Once it’s in a particular location for a short period of time, deer will no longer act cautious and will come in close proximity.  Those who have hunted in a bale blind the first day after setting it up have not had the results others have who have waited a couple weeks.  If you have a trail camera to place in front of the blind, it wouldn’t hurt to set it up and monitor how the deer are reacting.  If you start seeing photos of deer getting closer and closer to the blind without hesitation, you know the blind is no longer considered a foreign object to your herd. 

A bale blind is beneficial, because it can be used in early season, pre-rut, rut, post-rut and late season.  You can catch that target buck still on his early season feeding patterns before he starts chasing does and changes his routine.  Setting a bale blind in a field during peak rutting activity will put you close to bucks who drop their guard to predators.  Plus, if you have a reliable food source that deer frequent, such as a late season food plot, bucks will be looking to pack the pounds back on after a hard rut.  Having the bale blind established in a field where deer tend to feed can give you a front row seat to “Mr. Big” as he puts on his winter weight.  The Muddy bale blinds are very sturdy at 90 lbs. and large enough for some maneuverability inside if you need to reposition yourself for the perfect shot.  Hunting from inside one of these unique blinds can be an exciting new way to put yourself closer to that trophy and provide some great footage as well.

The Box Blind

 

Most of us have that one friend who has a deer blind all decked out with heaters, insulation, carpet, cup holders for his coffee, and basically everything but a television inside.  Trying to build one of those blinds is plenty difficult, but trying to make it durable enough to last through several winters can be a lot of work, time, and money.  Besides the initial construction, usually the homemade big box blinds require a new roof every couple years, frequent applications of camo paint or fabric to the outside, and resealing the cracks where insects and critters have crawled in adds up to a pretty expensive hassle.  Muddy developed a line of box blinds that accommodate every type of hunter and requires little maintenance year after year.  The Gunner, Bull, and Penthouse blinds all are constructed with thermal, scent, and noise control walls creating a stealth mode environment.  Installing either one of these box blinds on one of Muddy’s steel tower options will give you that true luxury hunting experience.

The most obvious advantage is being able to hunt in comfort during those frigid snowy late seasons.  With the warmth and security of an elevated box blind at your disposal, it takes any weather forecast out of the equation when deciding whether or not to go hunting.  No matter your weapon of choice, bow or firearm, the Bull and Penthouse blinds have window options that are configured to adhere to any shot position. 

Finding a location for your tower box blind should involve some serious thought and consideration since they are not easily moved.  For example, food plots should be built with the box blind position in mind before working the ground.  This will avoid any second guessing after a plot is seeded and the blind isn’t as easily accessible for relocation.  The prime locations for Muddy’s box blinds are areas with good clear shooting lanes.  Ag fields, food plots, watering holes, etc. are all areas with open views in several directions.  Hunting in a box blind during the rut is a huge advantage for those who can sit all day long.  The comfort and security of the box blind really helps when grinding out several long days in a stand during this time of the year when mature bucks are most active.  Pack a few meals, bring your spouse or kids and enjoy the experience without worrying about weather conditions.  Established box blinds can make your buddies really jealous, especially when you start having success year after year. 

Whitetails have evolved throughout the history of their species and so have we.  Our ambush locations have become more sophisticated and advanced as we learn more and more about deer behavior.  Deer blinds should be treated like any other piece of hunting equipment, such as your gun, bow, binoculars, etc.  Investing in a quality product like Muddy’s ground blinds, bale blinds, or box blinds will result in more successful hunts if used in the proper fashion.  Pop-up ground blinds are extremely mobile, yet durable and conceal hunters extremely well.  Bale blinds are a new trend that has proven to be successful in open terrain where cover is scarce.  Lastly, box blinds can extend your hunts and put you on trophy deer throughout the entire whitetail season.  All of these options have their niche and are proven to be fruitful when used appropriately.

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How to Locate the Best Acorn Crop for Hunting Mature Whitetails

Using Acorns to Harvest Mature Deer

One common theme regardless of where you are hunting and what you are hunting for is finding a limited resource that’s in high demand. In the case of white-tailed deer those resources are generally food, cover, and mates. There are only a few food resources that are in as high demand as acorns are during a good mast crop. Acorns represent a high-quality food source that isn’t available for very long which is why most animals take advantage of them. Acorns even have the power to draw mostly nocturnal mature bucks out during daylight. This article will discuss how you should go about identifying trees that will likely produce good acorn crops and how to make a set in hopes to fill your freezer in the fall.  

Not All Trees are Created Equal 

The first step in this process is to be able to identify what types of oak trees you have on your hunting property. Wildlife tend to have preferences regarding which acorns they eat from different types of oak trees. For example, acorns from oak trees in the red oak family tend to have more tannins, or toxins, present in their acorns. Acorns with an increased amount of tannins tend to not be as palatable as acorns with less tannins like those produced by oaks from the white oak family. Being able to tell the difference between a white oak tree from a red oak tree will help you when deciding where to focus your scouting efforts. What happens if you don’t have any white oak trees on your hunting property? Still hunt over red oaks. Although deer may not hit these acorns as hard as they would from a white oak, they will still make use of the resource.   

Once you’ve identified what types of oaks you have on your hunting property, then the next step is to understand more about how often oak trees produce mast crops. Some years are better than others for mast crops and oak trees that produce one acorn crop every few years are generally considered to be a good mast producing tree. This inconsistency in acorn production is part of the reason why acorns are so desired by wildlife. If you are lucky enough to have a grove of oak trees, then hopefully you will have at least one tree a year producing an acorn crop. 

Scouting for Acorns 

Given the inconsistent nature of acorn production, you will likely have to do some moving around to make sure you are setup in the best possible location to take advantage of acorns dropping. There are a couple of ways you can go about doing this. The first thing you can do is take a pair of binoculars out and spend some time looking up in oak trees during late summer. By this time, you will be able to see acorns in the trees, especially with the help of binoculars. Identifying which trees have the most acorns will help direct you when deciding on stand placement.

If you aren’t able to get out and do some scouting during the summer you can still do some on the ground scouting during the hunting season. This method requires you to be more mobile which is easily done with use of a climbing tree stand, a mobile hang-on set, or even a ground blind. Going out early one afternoon and finding acorn caps is a good sign that acorns are hitting the ground and animals are already eating them. Couple that with signs of deer scat and you are likely in a hot spot. Use a topo map to try to identify the bedding areas so you can have an idea of where deer will be approaching from. Remember that acorns are a limited resource so there may not be established trails coming from bedding areas. Deer may literally show up out of nowhere. After you figure out where deer might be approaching form then set up your stand to play the wind and sit tight.

Understanding what resources are available and when they are available can dramatically increase your chances of harvesting a mature buck. Acorns represent one limited resource that most deer will take advantage of and because they’re a limited resource, deer will take increased risks like moving during daylight to obtain them. Acorns tend to drop throughout October and November depending on what part of the country you are in. Hopefully you will keep these tips in mind when you hit the woods. They may just help you fill your tag.

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Must Have Tree Stand Accessories

Essential Tree Stand Accessories

For a whitetail deer hunter, there is no place you would rather be during deer season than in the tree stand. Countless hours are spent in preparation for the time in the stand: running trail cameras, tending to food plots, creating habitat, and studying the wind to find the perfect spot for tree stand locations. When the time is right, when the wind is perfect, and the deer are on their feet; it’s time to get in the stand and make something happen.

Time in the tree stand is magical, it is where hunters long to be, but it’s not always the most comfortable. Long hours in the tree stand waiting for that bruiser buck to make an appearance can take its toll, but with a few tree stand accessories you can make those long sits more comfortable, more productive, and hopefully fill that tag.

Tree stand accessories can be broken down into a few categories to help you determine what tools make the most sense for your setup and your hunts. Accessories for hunter comfort, for organizing equipment, and for your weapon are all important details to polish off your tree stand setup and insure you will be ready when that critical moment arrives. 

 Accessories for hunter comfort help extend tree stand sits, making sure you are in the woods when that hit list buck makes an appearance.

Seat Cushion – A good quality seat cushion is a must when you plan to spend much time waiting out a mature buck. The added comfort will not only help you stay longer in the stand, but also help you to sit still during the hunt. Squirming around trying to find a comfortable way to sit is a guaranteed way to get picked off by a wary buck.

 

 

Waterproof Seat Cover – One of the drawbacks of using a foam seat cushion is when they get wet. Rain and morning dew will soak into a seat cushion like a sponge. A sure way to ruin your days hunt is to sit down onto a wet cushion first thing in the morning. By adding a waterproof seat cover you can be sure that your cushioned seat will be dry and comfortable for your entire hunt.

Lumbar Support – Supporting your lumbar during long sits is the ideal solution to a stiff and sore back due to long hours spent hunting. A quick attach, lightweight support that works with any stand is a fantastic way to make sure you are focused on the hunt, and not aches and pains.

Accessories for organizing equipment make effective use of the limited space available when you are in the tree. Keeping your gear organized and at the ready can make the difference between notching a tag or going home empty handed.

Screw-In Single Hook – Non-slip rubber coated screw in hooks provide a variety of uses like: hanging a pack, quiver, or rattling antlers. Keep a couple of these in your daypack all the time and you will find a variety of uses for them.

Multi-Hook Strap On Holder – Using a strap on accessory holder that fastens around the tree gives you the flexibility to put up multiple hooks quickly and quietly. Drilling into heavy bark is no issue, and they easily fold up and store in your daypack between hunts.

 

Pivoting Multi-Hanger – Every tree and every tree stand setup is unique. Having the flexibility to adjust a gear hanger for the situation at hand can be paramount. A pivoting hanger offers the flexibility to adjust the hanger height and angle quickly and quietly during the hunt.

Accessories for the weapon are designed to provide hunters with greater accuracy and reduce motion in the stand. By having your weapon at the ready and steady for the shot, these tree stand accessories offer hunters an edge of confidence.

Universal Platform Bow Holder – Having your bow at the ready, out of the way, and in a vertical position reduces delay and motion in the stand to make the shot when it presents itself. A rock solid support that is rubber coated not only prevents damaging the bow, but is silent as well.

 

Gun or Bow Organizer  A safe out of the way place to keep your rifle or bow helps to keep you comfortable in the tree stand. It’s critical to keep your hands free for glassing and calling, but to still have quick access to your weapon. An adjustable quick organizer designed to keep your weapon at the ready will make you a more effective hunter.

Shooting Rail – For firearm hunters, nothing affects accuracy more than steadiness. Having a solid rest is crucial to executing an accurate and lethal shot. Whether you are hunting with a centerfire rifle, a muzzleloader, or a shotgun; a stable and sturdy rail to shoot from is imperative. Look for one that is easy to set up, and flips up out of the way when you are entering and exiting the stand.

 Using a tree stand to get the upper advantage on a wary whitetail deer is a fantastic proven tactic. After investing so much time and effort to find the right tree, and make that stand location perfect for the hunt, be sure to bring along the right tools to help you stay comfortable, organized, and accurate in the stand!

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Planning Your “Rutcation”

Best Deer Hunting Stands and Locations for the Rut

Not all of us can travel from state to state filling one tag after another during the peak of the whitetail season.  Most hunters lead busy lives with work, family, and other personal responsibilities that just don’t allow us to hit the “pause button” on life and spend countless days in a deer blind.  However, the true die-hards have found a way to shutoff the outside world and be at piece for an extended period of time by cashing in all of their personal time and vacation days for the almighty Rutcation”.  The Rutcation that I refer to doesn’t have to involve traveling across the country for an out-of-state hunt.  Heck, if you have the luxury to own a decent size chunk of land, you could just spend your entire Rutcation in your backyard.  Whichever way you decide to break away from the everyday grind to hunt the most exciting time in the Whitetail woods (a.k.a The Rut), you want to ensure you are taking advantage of every single minute in the stand.  You’ve marked off your calendar, sent all your calls to voicemail, and have waited the entire year for this moment.  Here are the best 3 setups to nearly guarantee yourself a shot at a buck during the rut.

Location #1  Doe Bedding Areas

During the rut, bucks will be constantly looking for love and cruising for a hot doe.  So what better place to look than where thebed down?  When you hunt doe bedding areas during the rut, you want to pay very close attention to the wind and place your stand downwind from those beds.  The objective is to position yourself at a distance where bucks will circle downwind of the bedding area, but not you.  In other words, place your setup far enough away to allow the bucks to scent check the area in between you and the doe’s.  Doe’s tend to bed in thicker areas with taller grasses and shrubbery, so you’ll need find a good mature tree downwind to hang a stand and wait for cruising bucks.  Again, the wind direction is very important in this type of setup because one wrong gust could blow out the entire bedding area sending doe’s scattering every which way.  The best tip for avoiding getting stuck sitting in a stand with unfavorable wind conditions is to be somewhat mobile.  Hangon stands with a set of climbing sticks are perfect for adjusting on the fly.  The last thing you want on your Rutcation is to be stuck hunting suboptimal stands because you don’t have the right winds for your best spots.  The Muddy Vantage Point is light weight and can be moved with minimal effort.  If you are looking for a more comfortable option for those all day sits, the Muddy Boss Elite AL is another great choice.  The Flex-Tek Zero-Gravity flip up seat on the Muddy Boss Elite AL makes it easy to sit from dawn to dusk.  Pair either one of those options with a set of Aerolite Climbing Sticks and you will have the perfect system for avoiding detection while waiting for that bruiser to come cruising in.

Location #2 – Food & Water Sources

Depending on where you are hunting, the temperatures during the whitetail rut can vary.  Temps in Northern Minnesota could drop below freezing while South Texas hunters could be out hunting in t-shirts.  However, the fact remains that whitetails across all regions need food and water to survive.  If you have the ability to hunt either an established food source, such as a food plot or agricultural field, or a reliable water source, such as a small pond or stream, you can take advantage of the higher population densities of deer at these locations.  Outside of the rut, mature bucks tend to wait until dark before exposing themselves in open areas to feed or hydrate themselves.  During the rut, all those survival instincts go away and they have only one thing on their mind; love.  These locations are fantastic gathering points and social hubs for whitetail rutting activity.  Bucks will target areas that have a high concentration of does to check if any are coming into estrus.  These areas also provide a canvas for bucks to spread their scent and posture for dominance using scrap trees, licking branches, and rub lines.  Bucks are playing the odds and so should you by setting up on these highly active whitetail meeting grounds.  Muddy offers several options for this type of setup.  If you have the means to invest in a tower box bind such as the Muddy Bull box blind, you can ensure you’ll have a solid reliable place to hunt year after year.  For the price conscious hunter, a ground blind works just as well and is light enough to carry in and out with ease.  The Muddy Bale Blind is perfect for placing in those open ag fields, but if you find yourself in a thicker environment the Muddy VS360 ground blind blends into the surrounding vegetation while still providing 360 degrees of shooting options.

Location #3 – Pinch Points and Funnels

       

If you’ve studied deer movement or scouted your hunting property you’ve probably noticed a few areas with heavier deer sign than others.  These heavily used zones often correlate with features in the terrain and topography called pinch points or funnels.  The high traffic is a result of deer being compressed into a smaller area in order to get from one place to another.  During the Pre-Rut and Rut phases, you can increase your odds of laying eyes on a mature buck during daylight hours by setting up on these locations.  A great first step is to look at a satellite map of your property to identify these dense travel corridors and target those areas for stand placement.  You’ll want to avoid overhunting these spots, so that you minimize pressure to keep your scent out during most of the year. Save these stands for your prime rutting activity to ambush that target buck with the element of surprise.  Ladder stands are a wonderful option here since they can be left up all year-round and don’t require a whole lot of shifting around.  Muddy’s Boss Hawg ladder stand is quiet, reliable, and low maintenance for either bow or gun hunter.  If you have a buddy or family member you’d like to hunt with, the Nexus and Nexus XTL double ladder stands have plenty of room for two with some elbow room to spare.  No matter what type of stand you choose, be ready for things to happen fast in these locations and don’t get caught off guard by cruising bucks.

The bottom line is, a Rutcation taken at the right time of year can be your best and only chance of seeing mature bucks on their feet during shooting hours.  When you put life on hold and dedicate yourself to hunting whitetails, make sure you maximize your time in the field.  Give yourself options, plan your hunting locations ahead of time, and put yourself in the best possible position to get a big one on the ground before you head back to your daily grind.  These 3 locations can payoff year after year if hunted properly and you never know, you just might find yourself tagged out and back to work early with a few extra vacation days in your pocket.

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Muddy’s Trail Camera Schedule | Setups, Tips, Settings, and More

Trail Camera Tips | Muddy’s Trail Camera Schedule

If you’re like many hunters, your trail cameras are probably in full swing right about this time of the year. Early bow hunting seasons aren’t that far off, and bucks are starting to look pretty enticing when they pose for a portrait. But once the fall hunting season is finished, do you pack your cameras up and quit until next summer? Most people do, and they’re missing out on a lot of critical information about the deer they hunt. Here’s a comprehensive trail camera schedule you can use to keep tabs on the deer herd throughout the entire year.

But first, what can you learn from an annual trail camera schedule? Plenty. In the winter, you can keep tabs on deer to see which bucks made it through the hunting season and help you plan for next year, plus you might even find some shed antlers in the process. Spring means lots of new deer hitting the woods, so you can watch your clover fields as they fill up with pregnant or nursing does and bucks trying to recover from the winter. In the summer, you can watch bucks as they start to grow their antlers and develop a hit list for the current season. And then, of course, you know what fall means – lots of opportunities to learn where deer are bedding and feeding so you can put all of that trail camera work to good use and hopefully arrow a buck.

October Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • Cooler weather, great fall scenes, and lots of deer action all combine to create the most magical time of the year for deer hunters. But there’s a lot happening for deer and their habitats in October. For one, bachelor groups should all be split up as bucks shift ranges and get more competitive and aggressive with one another. The native vegetation should be drying up and most crops are starting to be harvested, which is reducing or changing their food sources to acorns, apples, and waste grain. Leaves fall in autumn, which drastically changes summer bedding areas and movement patterns. On top of it all, there are more hunters out in the woods to pressure deer. When all of these things combine, it’s what many people call the October lull. The best time to hunt the October lull is absolutely during and right after a cold front, which gets the bucks on their feet and moving around again.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • In this magical deer hunting month, the best trail camera setup location is on deer scrapes – either natural or mock scrapes. Bucks and does both start using scrapes heavily in October to communicate breeding statuses, which make them great focal points for trail cameras. If you can find a scrape (or make a mock scrape) downwind of a doe bedding area or within a funnel to a food source, you can be pretty confident you will catch bucks using it. 

Trail Camera Settings 

  • This is when trail camera tactics really matter for hunting purposes. Since your trail cameras will likely be located on scrapes, using photo bursts or videos are a good way to get great shots of the bucks in your area. Videos of bucks rubbing licking branches or making a scrape are exciting to watch! Also, make sure you know how to hide a trail camera – keep them well camouflaged with brush and off to the side of approaching trails so you don’t spook approaching deer. Check your trail cameras often enough to know what deer are there, but not enough to pressure them.

November Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • In most of the Midwest and even parts of the south, November means one thing for deer hunting: the rut. During this time, bucks tend to make mistakes, which means you can have a good chance to shoot one. Many a buck has been led to his doom by following a hot doe. The weather also typically takes a nose dive this time of the year, producing very cold temperatures and maybe even snow. Deer will really key in on high energy (carbohydrate) foods, including any remaining nuts, apples, corn, beans, turnips, and cereal grains.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Like October, deer scrapes can still produce some great trail camera pictures since bucks are actively seeking does. Food plots can occasionally still catch bucks during the day if your property is very unpressured and secluded since does will still feed and they attract bucks. But if you’re using trail cameras on public land or you have a smaller pressured property, scrapes are the way to go. Funnels between bedding areas and food sources are also good, especially if you take habitat and topography into consideration.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • For November, you really need to know how to set up a trail camera. Bucks are usually hot on the hooves of any estrous doe they find, so the usual trail camera settings may not work well. The pace is fast, and you may miss the action if you don’t take the time to do the right settings. With a 6 photo burst or a 2 minute video, you can be sure that any doe that passes through will trigger the camera, but you will also catch the buck following her. 
  • Additionally, just like October, you should position the camera higher (about 6 feet off the ground) so it is slightly out of a deer’s immediate view. Use a stick behind the top of the camera to position it downward. Also, keep it angled about 45 degrees to trails approaching scrapes so you don’t spook the deer you want pictures of. 
  • As far as how long to leave a trail camera out in November, check them sparingly so you don’t spook deer, but often enough to know where you should be hunting. A good way to do this is to set up cameras near your access trails so you can easily check them while you enter or leave a tree stand location.

 

December Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • This the beginning of the hardest time in a Midwest whitetail’s life: winter. Cold weather, biting winds, snow, and a decrease in high quality food all work against them. In southern areas, there may yet be good food sources available for deer, but there’s definitely a change. In addition, most bow hunting seasons are still open and some late season muzzleloader hunts may also open, which can pressure them. While bucks are weary and worn down from the rut, they will still feed with does and may breed any that come into estrous late, but food becomes the priority for them in December. You may also want to harvest does for meat at this point in the season since it will be your last chance until next year. 

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Since deer are transitioning to late season food sources (such as standing corn/beans, green cover crops, or turnips), the edges of these fields and trails leading to them are the best spots to hang trail cameras in December.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • For the last calendar month of the year in open field settings, you should switch your trail camera settings back to the time lapse function. You can choose the interval of how often the camera takes pictures and also what time of day it takes them (e.g., 2 hours before dusk, etc.). Hang it higher in a tree so that you can see the whole field, which may mean hanging it 10 feet up in some cases. In the dusk example, remember to aim it northeast so it’s looking directly away from the setting sun. This allows you to see exactly how deer are using the field and moving across it.

January Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • January is a tough time for whitetails. Bucks have been running all over their region chasing does down and fighting other bucks, not to mention dodging natural predators and us. During all that activity, they seldom stop to eat much either, which means they lose a substantial amount of body weight right during the coldest time of the year, when they need it most.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras  

  • In the mid-winter months, food plots and fields with standing agricultural crops (corn, soybeans, etc.) are some of the best places to hang trail cameras. Deer are looking for calories to help fuel them throughout the winter, and these crops will do that. Hanging a trail camera on a trail entering these areas also allows you to see what’s dropping for early shed hunting purposes.

Trail Camera Settings  

  • In winter, you will face two battles with your trail cams. One is the cold – it doesn’t take long for temperatures below zero to drain your battery life. The other is the snow – make sure your cameras are mounted to the tree or post above the snowline (4 to 5 feet is better than the usual 2 to 3 feet). Also, all the snow glare can make your photos turn out badly, so face them north to avoid the low southern sun. 
  • Because of the uphill battle against the cold and snow, you may want to check your cameras pretty regularly (every few weeks) if you want them to consistently take pictures. Otherwise, you may find that you arrive and your camera is buried in snow and has dead batteries. 

February Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • As with January, February is a hard month. In most areas, even standing crops can be picked over by now, forcing deer to rely on natural woody browse as their sole food source. Deer are also battling some of the coldest temperatures of the year, which means they seek thermal cover (e.g., thick spruce plantations, tall grasses, gullies out of the wind, etc.) whenever they’re not feeding.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • If there are still crop food sources available, these are still the best places for trail cameras. If you find that the deer have switched to feeding on browse in a certain area, try putting a trail camera on the trails leading from bedding areas to the browse. The trails are very easy to follow in the snow!

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Again, you will be facing the cold and snow in February, so hang your cameras higher than usual and check them regularly. Also, keep the trail camera placement facing north. 

 March Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • While southern hunters are out enjoying the woods in March, it is more or less the same as the other winter months in much of the Midwest, but it does offer a glimmer of hope. Temperatures start to climb and the snow pack may be melting slowly away. This can be one of the worst times for whitetails because they have browsed most high preference browse by now, but it’s too early for new growth yet. The melting of the snow may also reveal shed antlers for you to find.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • It seems most typical feeding areas are not attractive anymore and bedding areas are not easily accessible without spooking deer regularly. While that doesn’t matter for hunting purposes, you don’t want to stress the deer herd when they’re at their most vulnerable. Plus, if any bucks are still carrying antlers you would like to find, bumping them off of your property won’t help with that effort. Deer trails, especially where they cross a farm lane or hunting property road are fantastic. You can easily sneak in to check your cameras regularly without disturbing them, and keep tabs on when the deer are shedding their antlers.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Since you’ll be using your camera on a deer trail, you need a relatively fast burst of pictures to capture the action as they move through. Alternatively, you could use the video mode too.

April Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • April is the turning point for the Midwest, as spring starts to slowly appear. The deep and shaded parts of the forests still contain very deep snow, but open areas melt fairly quickly. Deer may feed on newly exposed vegetation, but also still browse on whatever they can find.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Deer trails and small openings are some of the best places for trail cameras this time of year. If you’re located further south, then perennial clover food plots and alfalfa fields will likely be greening up by then, and the deer will definitely be spending time in them. Plus, you have the bonus of scouting turkeys for spring turkey hunting with your trail cameras at the same time.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • In open fields, you shouldn’t have to worry about the snow anymore and there’s no growing vegetation that will interfere with the pictures, so you can resume your trail camera mounting height at about 3 feet off the ground to get a good deer eye level shot.

May Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • May is a very welcomed rest for whitetails because all kinds of natural vegetation starts growing like crazy again, including lush forbs, grasses, and tender new buds and twigs. Providing perennial clover fields on some part of your property is a great way to start feeding deer as soon as the weather warms up. Does are likely to give birth to fawns this month or the next, and bucks start to lump together in bachelor groups for the summer.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras  

  • In the early spring, it’s tough to beat lush green fields and food plots for watching does and fawns on trail cameras. Unless bucks have a distinct marking on them, it will probably be too early to start identifying any prior year bucks until their antlers grow back. Another good spot to hang your cameras in spring is a mineral site. Bucks, does, and fawns will all stop by mineral sites from spring through fall.  
  • One benefit of using trail cameras in the spring, especially along field edges or on mineral sites tucked into the cover, is that you can scout for turkey hunting still, and catch all kinds of other animals on camera, including black bears, foxes, bobcats, grouse, and many others.

Trail Camera Settings  

  • This time of year, you don’t have to necessarily worry about how to program a trail camera. You can really use whatever trail camera setting you want. If you’d like to get some videos of young fawns playing around in the fields, this is a great time to do it. If you’d rather just take pictures, you can set the delays and intervals to whatever you wish. In all likelihood, intel you get this time of year won’t tell you a whole lot about how to hunt next season. But if you’re a trail camera addict like us, you will just enjoy getting all kinds of great pictures.

June Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • When June hits the calendar, it’s time to start thinking about summer trail camera strategies. Deer will start hitting food sources and bedding areas pretty consistently throughout the summer. Bucks continue to build up their bodies and antlers by eating high protein foods and does need calories to keep up their milk supplies to feed their fawns. In highly productive areas, it’s not uncommon for a doe to support twins, so he needs to keep up the food consumption.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • It’s true that deer will reliably hit food sources hard in the summer, but food sources can be very scattered this time of year with all the abundant lush food available. Since there’s a lot of cover and no pressure from us in the summer, deer will often bed short distances from ag fields and food plots, which may be a great spot to hang cameras.  
  • However, better spots that will reliably attract deer include mineral sites and feeder stations. Where legal, these two areas will consistently pull deer in for great trail cam pictures. Corn is probably the best attractant for game cameras in these scenarios. Mounting trail cameras to a post or nearby tree is all you need to do.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Again, you can choose your own preferences this time of year, but start focusing your trail cameras on taking bursts of photos when triggered, so you can be sure you get a few different pictures of a deer when it shows up to a mineral site, feeder, or food plot. Bucks will start to show some antler growth, and velvet pictures are amazing to look at. Try to stay away from your cameras during the summer, checking them only when you need to refresh your mineral site or feeder. While spooking deer this time of year won’t affect hunting, why pressure deer now if you don’t have to?

July Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • July is a similar story to June – deer continue to feed heavily to build up their fat reserves. Bucks keep building antlers and does keep fueling little fawns. The high heat and humidity may encourage deer to seek out water sources more frequently, which is definitely one of the best summer trail camera tips.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Also like June, food plots, feeder stations, and mineral licks are the best spots to catch most deer (including bachelor groups of bucks) on camera. If you can pair a water hole or natural water feature with a mineral site, deer will stick around even longer for better pictures.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • As far as trail camera height, hang your trail cameras higher (4 to 5 feet) in the summer to avoid vegetation from blocking views, or occasionally visit your cameras to trim the vegetation down. Try to keep your cameras in the shade and pointed north so you don’t have a ton of pictures with glare.

August Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • During the month of August, a lot of native forbs and grasses start to dry out, causing deer to abandon them a little. Fortunately, soft mast trees (e.g., apples, crabapples, plums, cherries, etc.) and hard mast trees (primarily oaks) start ripening and dropping fruit this time of year. Deer will eagerly ignore most native forbs to feed on these highly nutritious and digestible fruits and nuts. Bachelor groups of bucks will usually be pretty visible in open fields as dusk approaches.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • If you have a grove of hard or soft mast trees that start dropping fruit, this could be a great place to hang a trail camera. Alternatively, you could place cameras on an established deer trail within a pinch point or funnel between the mast trees and their primary bedding area.  
  • If you don’t have any mast trees on your property, mineral sites and feeder stations will still attract deer. And placing trail cameras on field edges of large soybean fields this time of year will definitely still produce some good pictures.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Follow much of the same advice for July (i.e., hanging cameras higher, pointing north, clearing vegetation, etc.).

September Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • Once September hits, most bow seasons open up and it probably feels like Christmas day to you. But for the deer, it’s the start of several months of harassment and pressure from us, not to mention changing conditions. September may have heat waves here and there, but you’ll notice temperatures start to cool down a bit. Bachelor groups start to break up a bit as they start shedding their velvet.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • For one of the last times of the year, food plots and ag fields are still a good spot to get daylight pictures of bucks. As the hunting season opens, most bucks tend to go nocturnal on many properties. Additionally, trails in between mast trees and bedding can still work well too. Just make sure the camera is pointed slightly towards the bedding area to get good afternoon/evening pictures.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Keep your trail cameras taking bursts of photos so you don’t miss a buck moving through quickly. Alternatively, use the Muddy Pro-Cam 20 bundle (one of the best trail cameras on the market) to take time-lapse pictures before dusk to get an idea of which deer are using the food plot regularly. If you’re bow hunting, check your cameras enough to inform your hunting locations without putting too much pressure on the deer before October.

Time to Use This Trail Camera Schedule

There’s a lot of information in this article and we hope it hasn’t intimidated you. This trail camera schedule is meant to give you some new ideas on how and when to use trail cameras throughout the year so you can have the best hunting opportunities. Good luck this season!

5 Ground and Box Blind Hunts You Have to Watch!

Ground and Box Blind Hunting Videos to Learn From

If you’re a deer hunter, there’s a very good chance you’re addicted to hunting shows. It seems to just come with the territory and it allows you to live deer hunts throughout the year, even if it’s just vicariously through someone else’s hunting videos. But more importantly, it gives you a chance to learn something from those hunts that you can apply to your own situation. In these five box blind hunts, there’s a take-home message you can use to be more successful this season. Oh, and they’re just fun to watch too. 

Here’s a quick roundup of some great box blind deer hunts that will get you fired up for this season. As you can see, they take place in different locations and different times of the year, which means you can use these tactics almost anywhere. Continue scrolling for the videos.

  1. Texas Whitetail Hunt

For this hunt, Mark Drury of Drury Outdoors was in Texas looking for another great Texas buck. After getting pictures of a nice deer on trail cameras, he set up a Muddy® Bull blind in an opening. Shortly after sunrise, a big 8 pointer caught him off-guard. Deer blinds in Texas are a pretty common sight, so the buck didn’t seem to mind. Check out the video to see what happened.

On this #MuddyMoment segment follow along w/ Mark Drury as he arrows a big TX 8pt out of a #Muddy Bull box blind. Learn More: http://bit.ly/BestBlindsDrury Outdoors

Posted by Muddy Outdoors on Monday, August 27, 2018

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: make sure you cover your backdrop when you set it up the first time – any dark cloth would work fine for that purpose. Mark missed the first opportunity on this deer because of the fear of being silhouetted against the eastern skylight behind him. Had the buck not come back in, that could have been his only chance at killing it.

  1. Iowa Shotgun Season

Cody Bonner from Muddy’s Trophy Pursuit was hunting in a Muddy® Bull blind as well, but not in Texas. He was hunting the Iowa shotgun season. Unfortunately, high winds were preventing them from hunting a few locations due to the risk of being winded. Fortunately, they were able to hunt in the elevated box blind with no problems.

Cody Bonner of Muddy's Trophy Pursuit found some success out of his #Muddy Bull box blind in IA during shotgun season. Check out his hunt now! www.gomuddy.com

Posted by Muddy Outdoors on Monday, January 29, 2018

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: Despite the high winds and a bobcat running across the field, the deer stuck around long enough for Cody to make an amazing shot with a shotgun to lay a giant whitetail down in the soybean field. That’s one of the benefits of hunting in the bull. It has sealed windows allowing your scent to stay inside the blind and hunt on marginal or even bad winds if you have to make a move on a buck.

  1. DruryRedemptiom

Mark Drury was back at it and took his sister Linda Lurk out rifle hunting. Even with cameraman Wade and a neighbor unexpectedly stopping by, they could all fit comfortably inside the Muddy® Bull blind! A nice 10-point buck came out into the field, and something painful happened next. 

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: Although Linda missed the first opportunity at this buck, they kept their eyes open down the food plot shooting lanes. Eventually, the buck popped back out for another shot. So the lesson is to never give up on a deer – keep looking and you might get a shot at redemption!

  1. Late Season Minnesota

Nicole Reeve from Driven with Pat and Nicole was hunting the late season in Minnesota in some harvested corn strips. With the cold weather, snow, and a late season food source, you know mature bucks will stop by eventually. Here’s how this box blind hunt played out.

Nothing like those homegrown bucks! CHECK OUT THIS UNBELIEVABLE MN HUNT#TCArms #Hunter

Posted by Driven with Pat & Nicole on Monday, July 11, 2016

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: How did Nicole take this giant late season buck? The Muddy® blind concealed their movement and scent enough to keep several deer in very close proximity throughout the hunt, which was long enough for this mature buck to feel comfortable stepping out. It also kept them warm enough to stay that long. Enclosed deer blinds should always play a part in your late season food plot strategy.

  1. Down to the Wire in Iowa

Jen Sieck with Trophy Pursuit was hunting a Muddy® bale blind during the late muzzleloader season in Iowa. With a food plot full of does, there was some pressure to getting a shot at a nice buck without being noticed.

Jen Sieck's 2016 season offered many great encounters, but things just never went her way. Finally, it all came together during IA's late muzzleloader season… #MuddyTV #TrophyPursuit

Posted by Muddy Outdoors on Monday, February 6, 2017

Box Blind Hunts Lesson: As you can see, a wise doe eventually got right downwind and smelled them. Luckily, the buck stuck around a while longer to check the scene, and Jen made a great last ditch shot. As much as you prepare, you never can fully fool a deer’s nose, so you need to be prepared to make any shot count. 

Muddy | Hang and Hunt Tips & Tactics

Tips on how to be deadly quiet when setting up stands while hunting

Killing a mature whitetail on public land is one of the most challenging yet gratifying experiences a deer hunter can hope to achieve. If you’ve been reading recent magazine articles or listening to Podcasts from the nation’s top hunters, you’ll soon discover that most of these bucks are killed on the first sit of the year. Finding this type of success doesn’t come easy, nor is it by chance. These hunters are fine-tuning their setups year-round to minimize their impact on the area they intend to hunt.

If you want to replicate this type of success, you’ll need a mobile system from the time you leave your truck, until you are hanging your stand. Below are some of the critical elements to making your hang and hunt experience a success. 

Right Equipment and Practice

At one time, there were very few options when it came to a mobile system for the average hunter — and most weren’t very good. Some of the stands were loud, some bulky, some heavy, most were uncomfortable; not to mention you couldn’t even climb but a fraction of them because you needed a straight tree. Now, there are a plethora of options, but our team chooses to use a Muddy Vantage and four Muddy Quick Sticks because they’re: 

  1. Light 
  2. Comfortable 
  3. Packable, with a slim profile 
  4. Safe 
  5. Easy to use and quite 

[Text Wrapping Break]Having a setup you can trust and depend on is essential, but it’s even more critical that you know this setup inside and out — before opening day. Nailing down your system ahead of time is crucial to understanding how your stand goes up, and how to minimize the amount of time and noise that it takes to get it safely and securely in the tree.

The number one key to success, are you putting in the practice. It may take five times to get it down, and it may take twenty, but it’s essential that you know exactly how each piece of gear gets up the tree and on the tree.

Aaron Warbritton killed his biggest buck to date using hang and hunt tactics while hunting public land in southern Iowa.  

 

Staying Efficient

There are multiple ways you can modify your setup to meet your needs, but there are a few tried and true methods that will work for every system. Below is a step by step guide on how to stay as efficient as possible from leaving the truck to hanging your stand and back out again. 

  1. Keep it neat and tight: Make sure the sticks and ropes are neatly stacked against the stand, and ratchet the sticks to the stand so they will not make noise when walking.  
  2. Once you’re at the tree, disassemble all the pieces and neatly lay them on the ground and tie the sticks to a pull-up rope at different heights. Also, make sure and have your bow or gun on a separate rope and attached to your harness or belt — Once you go up the tree, you do not want to come back down.  
  3. Place your treestand bracket in a pocket or fanny pack so that you can access it quickly once you are at the point of hanging your stand.  
  4. Before climbing the tree, tie off using a lineman’s belt to your safety harness.  
  5. Once you have your sticks and stand hung, tie off with a tether above your head before stepping in the stand.

Once all of your equipment is up, you are ready to hunt — in all, you were from the ground to hunting in ten minutes! Not only that, you can climb more trees than you ever considered while using a climber. 

DIY Modifications

The more you hunt with this setup, the more you’ll consider fine-tuning your gear. There are a few different modifications that can make your stand even more quiet and efficient. Make sure and check the owners manual, or call the manufacturer before doing anything extreme, but here a few basic add-ons’s:

  1. Paracord: Take some paracord and make a cobra weave around the platform of the stand. This will dampen any contact with metal that might occur, and will also with the cold from your stand. 
  2. Stealth Strips: This is an adhesive backing tape that you can add to your stand and sticks, that will again help with the cold and sound dampening. 
  3. Molle Straps: These military-grade shoulder straps will make carrying your stand long distances a breeze.

Jeremy Flinn of Stone Road Media used his Muddy Vantage Tree Stand and Aerolite Climbing Sticks in a hang and hunt situation and arrowed this beautiful Pennsylvania buck on his first sit.

Conclusion

Whatever hang and hunt method you choose, or if you consider going with a climber, getting to know your equipment through practice will make it that much easier, safer and quieter. Remember that the majority of mature bucks are killed on your first sit, so mix up your locations and make this season a success.