Ground Blind Tips With Drury Outdoors And Keith Beam

Ground Blind Tips With Keith Beam & Drury Outdoors -100% Wild Podcast

On a recent episode of Drury Outdoors 100% Wild Podcast, host Matt Drury and Tim Kjellesvik talk with Double Bull blind co-inventor and GSM Director of Product Innovation Keith Beam. During this podcast, Keith gives insight into the development of the Double Bull blind and what’s to be expected from Muddy’s line of ground blinds in the future. The guys share some laughs along with a few proven ground blind hunting tactics.

Summertime To-Do List For Hunting Season

Getting Ready For Fall

It’s hot!  With heat indexes soaring near triple digits in much of the country, that last thing on your mind might be the fall deer hunting seasons.  Preparing for them shouldn’t be, however.  Regardless of the heat and humidity, if you expect to have success this fall, then you’d better get busy checking off the boxes on this summertime to-do list.

Trail cameras are a big part of your summertime to-do list:

As each day finds the buck’s antlers adding more inches, setting up and placing trail cameras is important if you want to know what kinds of bucks you have running around.  They will also let you know where they are – and are not – frequenting.

If you want to make your cameras a larger player in your summertime to-do list, be sure to place them strategically.  Water sources are always good places to set up a camera or two.  Beyond that, of course, look for well-used trails and set one up wherever you find one, especially if you find an area where more than one trail converge.  This will increase the number of pics you get, as this is an indicator that deer are coming from all areas your hunting property to this spot, or that it is a focal point in different travel routes for deer for some reason.

If you are lucky enough to find a licking branch, this is an absolute must for a camera.  And if you’re ahead on your summertime to-do list and already have all of your cameras set, pull one from somewhere else to place here.

If there has to be one thing to avoid on your summertime to-do list of setting out trail cameras, it would be to avoid putting them out in windy or weedy places.  If you do, every time the wind blows the weeds in front of your camera, or a leaf in front of it, it will snap a photo of nothing, and those get boring really fast.

One more no-no about trail cameras when thinking about your summertime to-do list is to try to avoid putting them in areas that will cause you to be too invasive in order to check them.  You don’t want to spook deer or allow them to pattern you before the season starts.

Scouting is a big part of any summertime to-do list:

Scouting doesn’t start as the season draws near; it should be a continuous process through the year.  Scouting in the summer is as good as any.  It allows you to identify travel routes and feeding areas that the deer are using when there is no hunting pressure, which can be invaluable for early season sits.

It also enables you to see how many, and what types of bucks, are hanging around.  Often, they are in bachelor groups this time of year, making getting an eye on them easier.

There is no need to go deep all the time on your summer scouting trips.  A lot of the time, you can spot bachelor groups of bucks and does feeding in crop fields from the road.  Or consider parking and walking a short distance to a fencerow, hill or other easy to get to spot where you can glass the area without tromping through the woods.

You’ll be surprised what a little scouting can do to improve your summertime to-do list, that even trail cameras can’t do for you.  Putting boots on the ground allows you to see well-worn trails, old rubs, and scrapes, identify water sources you may not have known were there and observe deer in areas where your cameras aren’t.  It also helps you pinpoint bedding areas, fence crossings and the like.

Treestand preparation and placement should be a part of your summertime to-do list:

A lot of people put it off until closer to the opener, but when going through your summertime to-do list, putting your treestands up and preparing them now should be on your list.

There are valid points to wanting to wait until closer to season to hang stands.  Deer patterns can change between summer and fall, requiring you to move a stand or two after putting them up, but overall, where you place your stands now will still be the right decision come fall.  For those always occurring instances where you notice deer using an area during the season where you don’t have one hung, keep an extra or two in the garage for just this reason, but you don’t want to wait until season approaches to hang them all.

If you have properly done your scouting and studied your trail cameras, you should already know where you need to hang them.

Sure, it may require torturous hikes through standing crop fields to hang them now versus later, but the extra work now will not only make you more prepared come fall, but it will also allow you to leave the area less disturbed as the season approaches.

 

Hanging stands, and all of the trimming, etc. that goes along with it takes a ton of time; time that really isn’t available as hunting season approaches when there are other things to do and get ready.  Doing it now may be hot and sweaty work, but will be so worth it come fall.

Besides just hanging a stand and trimming shooting lanes, think a bit deeper.  Add clearing brush, weed-eating or weed-killing entry and exit trails to your summertime to-do list also.  Obviously, this isn’t necessary for stands on field edges and the like, but for those hung in the timber, think about getting rid of as much of the debris as you can along the trail in order to make those calm morning entries as quiet as possible.

Food plots should be on your summertime to-do list:

That’s right, depending on what you intend to plant, summertime is the time to plant food plots if you intend to have any.

A wide variety of crops can be planted this time of year, so along with all of the other things, there are to do, planting food plots are another item on a summertime to-do list.

Plants such as beets, oats, tubers, alfalfa, and greens like brassicas are all best when planted in the summer heat.  They are heat and drought-resistant and come up in time to coincide with when you plan to be hunting over them.

Safety, the most important thing on your summertime to-do list:

With all of the important things to get done on the summertime to-do list, none are more important than safety.  Remember that.  Whether scouting, tending plots or hanging stands, practice safety first.  Never ascend a tree without the proper safety gear, such as a Muddy lineman’s belt, and never check or sit in stands without a Muddy safety harness.  Once stands are in place, secure a Safe-Line to the tree so that on your first hunt of the year, you will be tied in the moment your feet leave the ground.

Conclusion:

There really is no off-season when it comes to serious deer hunting.  In fact, if you do it right, there is a lot more work to be done now than once it’s time to be out hunting, so don’t let summer slip by without taking some time to create and knock out a summertime to-do list for a successful fall.

3 Tips For Planning The Placement of Treestands and Blinds

Throughout the duration of the summer months, there’s a lot of whitetail work that can be done. Everything from planting food plots to habitat management work to running trail cameras. Among the litany of items that need to be completed is planning your placement of treestands and blinds if you haven’t already. There are a few things to be thinking about though when deciding where to place these in the summer.

When Will You Be Hunting There?

When it comes to planning on where to place your treestand or ground blind, the first thing you need to think of is when will you actually be hunting out of that given location? Things look a lot different in July or August than they do in October. Deer movement will look equally different. If you are hunting a new property, you want to be looking at all of the factors. Just because there are good deer trails in the summer doesn’t necessarily mean deer will be frequenting the same area come fall.

When planning the placement of your treestands or blinds, try and think how deer will be using a given area based on when you’ll be hunting. For example, let’s think about a given property and say that you’ve got a couple of great clover food plots and deer are hammering them in the summer. If you know you’ll be hunting early in the fall, say in September, you will be better off hanging a stand on or near one of the food plots. And you can also be more liberal with how you trim out your stand because the foliage will still be on the trees come the time you’re hunting. On the other hand, if you know you can’t hunt that property until the rut, you may want to hang that stand either in between or on the downwind side of the food plots, anticipating bucks to be cruising while searching for does. Additionally, you’ll want to be more frugal with what you trim, because by then the foliage will be down, and if you cut out a lot, by the time November rolls around, you could stick out like a sore thumb.

What’s Your Access and Exit Plan?

When it comes to planning your treestand or blind placement during the summer, an often forgotten about aspect of it is your access and exit plan. They are arguably just as important as the physical location of your stand or blind. The summer months can be a great time to plan your access and exit, and if need be can be the time to clear trails, mow paths or anything else.

There’s nothing worse than having your stand in a prime location, getting it set in the summer, and then returning to hunt in the fall, only to realize you failed to establish an adequate way into the stand or a solid way out. A good example of this is to use another scenario to illustrate this point. Let’s say you find a great rut stand in a river bottom during the month of July. You hike in from the main access point, locate the great area, get the stand-up and leave. Then while thinking it over during the following months, you think of using the river as access. You figure you can boat all the way to where you can park on the shore, and then jump right into the stand with minimal intrusion. Sounds great right? You then return to the location during November to hunt with the boat, but halfway into the expedition, the river narrows and there’s logs and debris stretching the width of the river and its impassable without making a ruckus. This is where a lack of planning can hurt you tremendously.

To do it right, as soon as you think of the river being a viable option for access, you should take the boat in and do a “trial” run. Make sure you can get to where you need to be. Bring a chainsaw, handsaw, whatever you need to ensure that if you need to clear the way, you can do so. That way when you show up to hunt later in the fall, you know you’ll be good and won’t have to worry. You’ll be able to get in quiet and clean and can focus on the hunt itself.

What Wind Direction Will You Need?

This is also a very important part of planning your treestand and blind placements. As you think through everything to help yourself be as successful as possible, you need to be thinking about what kind of wind direction you’ll need to make a spot great. If you are hanging a stand that will be a primarily early season spot, be thinking about warmer days and southerly winds. Don’t hang just one early-season stand where you need to have a Northeast wind to hunt it. Odds are you won’t be able to hunt it that often, or you’ll just mess things up. The same can be said for a rut stand. Once you find the perfect area, think through the wind directions. Often times as it gets colder and fall progresses, you’ll have more Northerly winds, especially in the upper Midwest. If the area that you’ve selected as a primary rut spot is that good, you should consider hanging a couple of different stand or blind options, so you have more than one option with different wind directions.

Conclusion

As you plan where you want to place treestands and blinds during the summer, there are a lot of things you should be thinking about in order to obtain the highest level of success possible. These three that have been laid out will no doubt help you be successful. If you’re thinking about when you’ll be hunting a given location, how you’ll get in and out of the spot and the wind direction you’ll need, you’ll be well on your way to having a treestand or blind in a solid spot come fall.

Having The Right Amount Of Trail Cameras

Running trail cameras can no doubt be one of the most exciting things to do as a whitetail hunter. The feeling of inserting an SD card into a computer and anxiously waiting for the card to load so you can start flipping through photos is almost as good as the feeling of seeing a big buck headed your way while in a treestand. It’s often described as better than Christmas. Partially because of this, it can be easy to run a lot of trail cameras. Trail cams have their place when it comes to deer hunting and can be very beneficial to you in terms of helping you be a successful hunter.

The question that always seems to arise when discussing the aspect of using trail cameras is how many should you be using? Some hunters don’t like to use trail cameras at all, and some run them religiously. When it comes to how many you should be running, it’s not a black and white answer, but more doesn’t always equal better. It’s very dependent on how much hunting property you own or have access on, and what you can handle. That may be five trail cameras, it might be twenty spread across multiple states, or it could be seventy on a large farm.

Below are a few points outlined that can be a product of running too many trail cameras. If you find yourself in any of these predicaments, odds are you’ve bitten off more than you can chew when it comes to trail cameras. So, take a look at these points and ask yourself if you’ve found yourself in any of these scenarios.

There Isn’t Time For Other Projects

If you get to a point where you find yourself not being able to complete other whitetail projects because you spend too much time heading afield to swap SD cards, it may be time to consider how many you are running. There’s a lot that needs to get done in the whitetail woods throughout the entire year and if you start putting things on the backburner or find yourself not completing what you want to get done during a day or a weekend of whitetail work because of having too many trail cameras to check, that can signify you simply have too many. If you get to this point, take a look at how many you are running, and what you’d be able to get done if you cut the number of trail cams you have in the field.

You Can’t Stay Organized

When you start running a lot of trail cameras, things can start to get hectic when it comes to staying organized. There’s a lot of other stuff that goes into it that one may not worry about when only running a few cams. But when you start to run a big number of cameras, there’s a lot of batteries, SD cards and trail camera maintenance that you have to worry about. When you run a couple, it may not seem like a big deal, but when all of a sudden you have thirty cameras, it can be very challenging to keep all of this organized. It can be a good idea to label SD cards for specific cameras, create spreadsheets on where your cameras are and to number each trail camera. This can help, but when you get to a point where you’ve simply got too many and can’t stay organized, or forget about cameras, you’ve got too many.

You’re Always “Behind”

This is a big indicator of running too many trail cameras. When you run a large number of cameras, a lot of times you end up relying on the information they provide during the season by default. When you have a large fleet of trail cameras out and find yourself not hunting areas during the season unless you check a camera that has a shooter on it, this can put you into dangerous waters and often times lead you to chasing your tail. A scenario would be you check five cameras in a day in the middle of October, and on one of them over a bean field, you have a shooter that showed up five days ago. Because that’s the only camera you had a shooter show up, you hunt there and don’t see him. Well, that buck could have easily shifted food sources in those five days, and you should be scouting for the hot food source, not just checking trail cameras. If you find yourself doing this too much, it might be time to reduce how many cameras you’re running.

So How Many is Too Many?

Well, that is dependent on you and you only. What it comes down to is are you able to stay organized, can you still get everything else done that you need to and are you not chasing your tail because of trail cameras? For some people, they might be able to run thirty trail cameras on a large farm and be able to still hunt effectively while keeping all of their trail camera data organized. If you hunt multiple states, this might mean you can only keep track of a couple in the out of state areas.

At the end of the day, trail cameras are meant to be a tool to help you succeed at deer hunting. When you use them properly, they can most definitely provide you with information to make you a better hunter. But when trail cameras become relied upon, or when hunters get ahead of themselves and run too many, it can detract from other things that you need to do in order to be a successful hunter. If you get to a point where trail cameras take away from these other things or create stress because you can’t keep up with them all or stay organized, then it’s time to consider reducing the number of trail cameras you have in the field.

Bale Blinds vs. Ground Blinds

Comparing Bale Blinds and Ground Blinds for Hunting

The ground blind has quickly become one of the best setups a hunter can employ. Ground blinds for hunting are well known for waterfowl hunting, but they also have numerous applications for hunting deer and turkeys.

One recent innovation in the ground blind has been the bale blind. Hay bale blinds are a special case of a standard ground blind. Bale blinds for hunting are designed to mimic a large round hay bale common in many fields across the county. Wildlife, especially deer, turkeys, and waterfowl are used to seeing these large structures as they go about their day. As such, they provide exceptional cover for an ambush when hunting agricultural areas.

So what is the difference between a bale blind and the more traditional pop-up hunting blind? When should you use a bale blind over other ground blinds? These are common questions hunters are asking and something we are going to explore in more detail by comparing the two in different hunting situations.

Comparing Bale Blinds and Pop-up Ground Blinds

Ground blinds for hunting come in many shapes and sizes. By far the most popular and most used is the pop-up ground blind. This is the traditional tent style ground blind made from light, durable and weather resistance camouflage fabric. These pop-up blinds for hunting are easy to carry and deploy making them very effective in a wide range of hunting locations.

Three Advantages of Pop-up Ground Blinds:

  1. Lightweight and mobile
  2. Can be used in various habitats
  3. Easy and fast to deploy

Hay bale blinds, in contrast, are a type of hunting blind just as the name suggests. They mimic a large round bale of hay in a field. Because of their design and appearance, they represent a more natural element to wildlife than a large, dark-colored camouflage block in the middle of an open field. One of the biggest problems with other pop-up ground blinds is that even though you as the hunter are concealed, the blind itself sticks out like a sore thumb to wildlife. Hay bale blinds solve this problem when hunting fields and food plots.

These types of ground blinds for hunting are larger with a shell made from a durable, weather resistant denier and dull burlap colored fabric. Similar to other ground blinds, there are various openings for shooting and a blackened interior to conceal movement.

One misconception with using bale blinds for hunting is that they will be just as ineffective as other hunting blinds in open fields where there is or never was real round hay bales. On the contrary, the design works in open areas and is one of the best waterfowl and turkey hunting blinds you can hunt from.

Three Advantages of Bale Blinds for Hunting

  1. Conceal better in agricultural settings
  2. Larger than pop-up blinds
  3. Versatile enough to be used for deer, turkey, and waterfowl

Ground Blinds for Hunting and the 3 Factors That Help You Choose

There are three factors when considering between bale blinds and other ground blinds. The first and most important is the type of area you will be hunting. Hay bale blinds work best in open terrain like an agricultural field, right-of-way or food plot. In contrast, a pop-up blind excels in more wooded terrain, in cover, and along field edges. The second factor is mobility. Bale blinds are larger and heavier in most cases and require slightly more setup time. This can be a factor if you have to reposition during the course of a hunt. In these circumstances, a more portable turkey hunting blind that can easily be broken down and moved fits the bill better. Finally, the last factor is what you are going to be hunting. Below we will discuss the best ground blinds for hunting deer, turkey and waterfowl.

Deer Hunting Ground Blinds

Ground blinds for deer hunting work particularly well in two instances. The first is archery hunting from the ground. You may have an area with limited trees for a stand or you need to be in an exact spot to trick a mature buck. Either way a bale blind or pop-up ground blind will be effective. The second instance is hunting with youth hunters or less experienced individuals. A blind gives them plenty of room to move around and be comfortable while waiting for a deer to arrive.

 

Use a pop-up blind when deer hunting transitional areas with light cover and areas where hanging a tree stand is not realistic. The bale blind, on the other hand, is perfect for hunting over a food plot or watching a bean or cornfield. It sticks out less than a ground blind and looks more natural to approaching deer.

Turkey Hunting Blinds

A ground blind for turkey hunting gives you an advantage over an incoming gobbler. You can stay concealed much better than if you were out in the open, which helps to overcome one of the bird’s greatest assets, its eyesight. Portable turkey hunting blinds are effective when you have to be more mobile, that is changing morning setups based on moving birds or repositioning on a mature gobbler. These are also more effective when hunting in big timber where their camo exterior blends in better. The bale blind on the hand excels when hunting over food plots or agricultural fields. A bale blind for turkey hunting can also be used in well-scouted feeding areas and strut zones.

Ground Blinds for Hunting Waterfowl

In recent years, there has been a shift from layout blinds to more and more waterfowl hunters using bale blinds. A bale blind is more comfortable and easier to shoot out of than your traditional layout blind. Most have a large shooting opening at the top designed for waterfowl hunting and plenty of room inside for chairs and gear. Add in some additional brushing for concealment and it keeps you hidden as well as any layout blind. The best spots for setup include tree lines, fencerows, and field depressions.

Which Hunting Blind Wins?

The ultimate matchup between these two styles of hunting blinds ends in a draw. The answer is not an either or but rather a combination of both the bale blind and pop-up hunting blind. Ground blinds for hunting work and each type have its place and advantages when hunting deer, turkeys, and waterfowl. Chose the right one for the situation and you will have the upper hand in most hunting scenarios.

 

Benefits of Having a Portable Shooting Bench

Why a Portable Shooting Bench Would Help You

Very few people will argue the benefits of having a sturdy shooting bench when it comes to quickly sight in your rifle or shooting accurately with a shotgun. It doesn’t matter if you are a weekend hunter sighting in your gun before opening day or a hardcore gun nut who spends every weekend at a shooting range. But sometimes you crave a little more flexibility than the typical shooting rest you can find at a range or by simply leaning against a tree. A portable shooting bench allows you to comfortably shoot your firearms in a variety of situations. Here are a few scenarios where you might use a portable shooting bench and some good options to consider.

Where to Use a Portable Shooting Bench

Here are a few common places or scenarios where you might use a shooting bench table or portable shooting rest. As you can see, a lot of this depends on where you live and what kinds of shooting activities you typically do.

Shooting Ranges

One of the most unusual places to find a portable shooting bench is at a shooting range. While most shooting ranges come with their own shooting benches, they may not offer the quality you’re looking for. As a result, some people opt to bring their own with them, although you will want to check with your specific shooting range first. In this case, having a lightweight option (without sacrificing stability) is really important for mobility and ease of us. After all, if you don’t like using it, you probably won’t continue to use it for very long.

Behind the House

Similarly, if you live in a location where you can shoot firearms on your property, you may already have a much higher quality heavy duty shooting bench built already. But if you don’t have an existing one or want to move to another area to do some target practice, having a portable rest to shoot from is very convenient. You can quickly grab it from the garage, set it up, shoot several rounds, and take it back down with you when you’re done.

Hunting Situations

In some scenarios, you may even want to use a portable gun rest while hunting various animals. Obviously, it’s not very sneaky or concealable to have a bulky looking shooting bench rest in the wide open, so using one of these from an enclosed ground blind is often the only way to do so. People may hunt turkeys, coyotes, hogs, or varmints using one of these portable rests, using either rifles or shotguns with them. In this case, having an option that can swivel and pivot quietly is important because it’s rare that a wild game animal holds still for too long!

Pros and Cons Versus Other Gun Rests

So how does a portable shooting bench compare to some of the other common gun rests you might use? Here are some of the usual options that you’ve probably used yourself, and why a portable option could be the better choice for you.

  • Leaning against a tree – in most cases, you’ll only use a tree as a rest when you’re hunting and need a quick rest to steady your shot. While it works in a pinch, it’s obviously not ideal for all kinds of long range shooting if you’re looking for gains in accuracy. Any slight shift in stance could affect your shot.
  • Resting on another object – similarly, you can rest your elbows on the ground (prone shooting), your knees, a rock, a log, etc. Again, these can work for different people, but it’s usually not very comfortable to shoot several rounds in these positions, and you’re not as steady as you could be. Many people use the sitting position while turkey hunting, but you would be much more comfortable on a shooting bench with a seat sitting in a blind, don’t you think?
  • Monopods/bipods/tripods – while these options offer even more support and stability, especially as you go from monopod to tripod, they still aren’t as stable as a bench rest. There’s still a little wiggle room involved. With that said, they are very portable and lightweight, making them good choices for backcountry hunting trips.

Portable Shooting Bench Options

With all that said, here are a few of the best portable shooting benches to consider for this season. All of the options come with a durable, weather-resistant powder coating to keep your shooting rest looking great for years to come. Whether you’re gearing up for turkey season this spring, looking forward to more time at the shooting range this summer, or planning ahead for deer season in the fall, you should find something to match your style and budget below.

The Ultra-Steady Bench is a great portable shooting bench if you’re just entering the market. It folds up easily and only weighs 32 pounds, yet can hold up to 300 pounds on the attached seat. The rubber coated gun rest at the end of the bench table keeps your firearm steady so you can quickly zero your rifle.

The Swivel Action Shooting Bench is the next step up the line, featuring an adjustable seat and bench table that swivel together 360 degrees. This steel construction rest weighs 38 pounds and sits on a sturdy tripod base design.

Meanwhile, the Xtreme Shooting Bench is at the top end of the lineup with lots of advanced features. Weighing 46 pounds, this pivoting shooting bench allows you to easily change targets or shift into a more comfortable position. The attached seat and bench top swivel together or by themselves 360 degrees depending on how you want to use it. It also sits on a tripod base and is constructed of super-durable steel.

Now if you only occasionally shoot your guns and tend to hunt in remote wooded areas, these might not be at the top of your list, and that’s okay. But if you like to shoot your guns often, experiment with long range shooting, or do any kind of turkey, varmint, or predator hunting, these benches can really be a major asset to you. In fact, you really can’t go wrong no matter which of these portable shooting benches you choose.

Shifting Tree Stand Locations During Deer Season

Deciding When Tree Stand Locations Need to Change

One certainty you can count on during deer season is seeing your fair share of the unexpected. No matter how much you have invested in scouting and preparation, there will be days when you end up hunting in less than ideal tree stand locations. Factors such as changing deer behavior, rut stages, food availability, weather and your impact in the woods can make a hunt out of any stand vary significantly from day to day. Perfect preseason deer stand locations may dry up quickly leaving you with only one decision – to move your tree stand.

Generally, tree stand placement is related to seasonal changes during deer season. Areas are scouted and stands are hung for the early season, rut and late season. Early season tree stand locations focus around food sources like agricultural fields. As the early season wanes and the phases of the rut pick up, tree stand locations shift to hunting rut patterns. Finally, late-season stand locations shift to hunting available food sources.

But what happens if it all doesn’t go as planned? You are not seeing deer close enough for a shot or not seeing deer at all? How do you decide when it is time to move your tree stand?

Trail Cameras Can Clue You on When to Move

Following a deliberate trail camera schedule throughout the entire year is critical. Your trail cameras provide a wealth of information and that doesn’t stop just because it is hunting season.

Every tree stand placement strategy should include trail cameras. Here are two ways those in season images can help decide if it is time to change your bow stand plans.

First, camera dates, times, moon phase and temperature all factor into a decision to change your stand location. For example, a buck may be showing up out of range or not at all even though you have him consistently on camera before the season. Camera data can pinpoint exactly when he is showing up. If he shows up in range in the morning but never when you are in the stand, perhaps your stand is positioned incorrectly for the morning conditions. Think morning winds or your approach in accessing the stand in the morning. This is just one example of where a Muddy® trail camera can assist in deciding to change your tree stand location.

Second, camera data can be used to ambush a buck that keeps giving you the slip. The scenario is a buck comes out a different spot each evening. Here you can use trail cameras to pinpoint the most likely place to ambush a buck and move your stand accordingly.

Changing Tree Stand Locations Throughout the Season

A consistent theme when deciding to move deer stand locations during the season is reacting to what the deer are telling you. Combine that with the time of year and your choice to move will result in some of the best tree stand locations you will hunt from.

  • Early Season – The field edge is hard to beat as an early season tree stand location. Acorn concentrations and other food sources should also be part of your bow stand plans early on. Figuring out when you have to change locations in the first few weeks relies on food availability and deer activity. If the food dries up or deer activity decreases consistently, it is time to move your tree stand. Any stand changes this time of year should be done mid-day to avoid disturbing early season deer patterns.
  • Pre-Rut – Pre-rut signs like active scrapes and early chasing activities are signs it is time to move. Focus on fresh, well-used deer trails and active scrapes. Either take new tree stands or reposition early season stands for pre-rut hunts. The chances of bumping a buck while changing your tree stand placement are greater as more deer movement will occur throughout the day. Consider low impact ways to get in and out of areas as quick as possible.

 

  • Rut – The rut can be crazy and patterning deer is difficult. It pays to be as mobile as possible. Changing tree stand locations can potentially occur several times a day depending on what rut activity is in your area. A hang and hunt tree stand strategy allows you to focus on the freshest rut sign. Rut action will vary from day to day and location to location and stands should as well. Shift tree stands accordingly to deer funnels and pinch points that force deer, and most importantly does, to concentrate. Deer stand locations downwind of reliable bedding areas also offer a place to move during the rut. Bucks will frequently check for an estrus doe downwind of bedding areas as the peak rut starts to slow down.
  • Late Season – Observing the rut coming to an end means you have to move back to the food. Agricultural fields are mostly barren now and easy acorns have been gobbled up. The best tree stand locations post-rut are late season green fields. Recognizing the transition to post-rut early lets you preempt your move to surprise a buck returning to eat. Deer can be moving all day in the late season including some straggler rutting bucks and does. Moving stands has to be deliberate and fast to avoid getting busted.

New Location, New Tree Stand Option

An option worth mentioning when you decide to move hunting locations is to use a new tree stand. Muddy® hang-on stands are easy to carry and they set up quickly. Utilizing another tree stand helps to reduce the disturbance in taking down your existing stand and saves time during the season. Two important considerations when you decide on making a move in season.

Tree stand locations can change and they should change during the season. Use your trail cameras and recognize signs of when it is time to shift your tree stand placement to stay one step ahead of the deer.

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.

 

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