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.
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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 blindsshould always play a part in your late seasonfood plot strategy.
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
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.
https://1my81432hvxx12urbaol1zr1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/D43ADF40.png6501268Muddy Outdoorshttps://1my81432hvxx12urbaol1zr1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngMuddy Outdoors2018-10-10 16:03:532018-10-10 16:53:525 Ground and Box Blind Hunts You Have to Watch!
Transitioning Tree Stands for Different Phases of Deer Season
Archery season is over and by this time many hunters have sighted in their rifles for the annual firearms seasons in most states. If you have not already harvested a buck, you are likely anticipating these remaining days in the woods. Anything from bad luck in your tree stands to a nocturnal trophy on your trail cameras may have lead you to this point. Either way, late season deer hunting is a whole different ball game.
This time of year deer have been pressured by other hunters, gone through the peak rut and are dealing with the onset of winter. A trifecta of changes that whitetails deal with and change their patterns because of. Deer hunting strategies, particularly stand placement, have to evolve over the course of the season to follow mature bucks through these changing times. Your stands from archery season are, most likely, not where they should be for late season whitetail hunting.
Phases of Deer Season
Seasonal phases of whitetails should influence how you hunt and where you hang your tree stands. These phases can occur rapidly, so understanding them and knowing how to change your stand locations is important. This general background on the phases of deer season will lead us to our objective of setting up late season deer stands and discussing other tips for late season bucks.
Phase One: Early Season
During the early season, whitetails are focused on food. Tree stands should be concentrated around food plots, agricultural lands and mast producing woodlands. This is also where your trail camera setups should be placed to gather as much knowledge of the local deer herd you will be hunting.
Does and younger bucks will move towards these defined food sources in the last hour or so of daylight. Early season deer hunting stands placed downwind and at a point where you can access them with little to no disturbance are usually good bets for meat hunting. However, more mature bucks are going to be feeding in the early morning hours or after sunset. Here you want stands positioned near staging areas. These areas can be small food sources between bedding areas and the main food source or habitat features like saddles or wood rows where bucks will hang out until entering the food source.
Not long after deer season starts, deer seem to disappear. Full food plots and soybean fields quickly turn to ghost towns. The reasons for this drop in deer activity are debatable. The October lull can still be hunted but understand that deer are changing their patterns in response to food source changes and preparation for the upcoming breeding season.
Successfully hunting the October lull does not necessarily mean a change in tree stand placement but rather a change in hunting strategy. Focus on hunting cold fronts, sitting all day and finding acorn crops. Since the rut is looming, the last thing you want is to over hunt a good area and ruin it for the rest of the year, including rifle season. Avoid hunting tree stands in prime areas and save them for later in the year. Hunt, or move, stands near bedding locations and heavy mast areas for your best chance in this phase.
As October comes to an end, the October lull gives way to the onset of the rut. Pre-rut bucks are actively out producing rubs, scrapes and defining territorial boundaries. These signs are useful in how to pick a tree stand location. Setup along active scrape lines and ambush points for bucks working rub lines.
Bucks are active in this phase and daytime sightings are common. They will be clearly staying within their defined home range but out during shooting hours and harvestable with the right tree stand placement.
The time every hunter looks forward to is the rut. Does are coming into estrus, bucks are chasing and the deer movement throughout the day picks ups. This time of year, usually around the first week of November through December (varying depending on your location and a host of other factors), is when you should have tree stands up in major travel corridors. Doe movement in these areas will have bucks following. Rut hunting 101 says stay all day in your stands because the mature buck’s schedule is completely out the window. He can appear alongside a doe or be called in at any time and if you are not in stand it is an opportunity missed.
The chase is over and bucks have their pick as most does are now in estrus. Mature bucks will lay with does anywhere from 24-28 hours until breeding is complete. Thus, mature bruisers are likely vacant from an area for a few days, leaving only younger bucks still searching for a mate available to harvest.
Emphasis hunting tree stands near thick cover and other doe bedding areas while hunting the lockdown phase of deer season. Be patience as a buck will eventually come out of lockdown and move again in search of another doe.
Buck activity picks up slightly as mature whitetails seek out the last remaining does that have not been bred. Stand placement in the post rut hinges on those same areas you hunted during the peak of the rut, such as main travel areas and funnels. Travel thoroughfares are likely spots to catch a mature whitetail pursuing an unbred doe.
Food sources also come back into play when hunting post rut bucks. Deer, in general, are depleted and are looking to regain calories lost over the course of the last month or so. Cold fronts play a role here as the bulk of winter months are looming. Acorns and remaining agricultural fields are good tree stand locations generally but especially as cold fronts approach your hunting location. Additional Content: Hunting The Post Rut
These phases of deer season are not a complete, definitive guide by any stretch. Each phase is far from having a clearly drawn line or timeframe from which one can decipher the end of one phase and the start of another. However, they do put into perspective the idea of how a whitetail changes during the course of a hunting season and some basic approaches to deer stand placement strategy over the course of the season.\
Late Season Deer Hunting
With the rut behind us or perhaps just finishing up, the rest of the hunting season can be lumped into what is called the late season. Sure, some second rut activity may start up here and there but for the most part, rutting is over and bucks and does are back to turning their attention to food sources. Hunting bucks late season often marks the start of rifle hunting in most states. Late season stand placement either means transitioning your tree stands back to early season areas on low-pressure properties or focusing on pressure points near food sources for pressured deer.
With the rut concluding, bucks are back to food sources. The need to replenish reserves for the looming winter are great. The catch is, food has changed since the beginning of deer season (phase one). Somewhat unlimited forage has been cut, picked or killed off by frost by this time in the year. December and the months ahead until spring leaves mature whitetails with fewer options to fill up on. Mast producing areas and winter food plots are prime areas to target for late season deer hunting. Also, areas with remaining standing corn or cover crops like winter wheat or rye can also pull deer out.
Trail cameras are going to be very helpful to identify which food sources bucks are using. The colder temperatures synonymous with late season hunting can push bucks into food sources earlier in the day, earlier than you have seen them all year. With trail camera tips for late season deer hunting, you can effectively mark these timings and position late season deer stands accordingly.
Late Season Deer Hunting Tree Stand Placement – Food Sources
Inside corners of food plots or fields are used by mature whitetails to enter and feed in food sources. Setup down wind, preferably in a tree stand on a bottleneck just off of the field.
Habitat hubs are places where two or more ridges, wood strips or creek bottoms converge. If you can find one of these stops on a known buck’s travel cycle (think bedding to food) with your trail cameras you are in business.
Defined edges can be anything from a change in timber types (oak to pines) to a cut field edge along an oak stand. Either way, deer will travel edges, especially around mast producing areas to pop out into food sources.
Another late season deer hunting tactic during this “last phase” of deer season is going to be pressure areas. If you are hunting on public land, rifle season is going to see an increase in hunter pressure. Deer, especially bucks, are not going to wander out into open oak flats or fields to feed with hunters roaming around. The pressure will have them forced back into heavy cover areas adjacent to food sources. They will still feed but positioning tree stands will be much more important.
Late Season Deer Hunting Tree Stand Placement – Pressure Areas
Heavy cover will hold bucks that have been pressured out of their normal routines. Transition tree stands to areas that are adjacent to reliable food sources.
Off the grid is a late season deer hunting tactic to find undisturbed bucks away from any late season hunting pressure. Hang a stand deep in the backcountry or on a farm that has not been hunted, along well-used
Alternative food sources are places for stands that can relieve some late season pressure. Instead of sitting over a food plot, look for cut corn fields with some standing rows or groups of hickory or beech that will draw in deer.
Late Season Deer Hunting Tree Stand Placement – The Right Tree
Late season bucks require transitioning your archery stands to late season locations. Those who blindly hunt in stands without understanding tips for late season bucks will have a mediocre hunting season at best. Once you know where to move your stand, a good tree to put it in makes all the difference.
Tree stand setup tips should include a tree that is:
downwind of where you expect to see deer or where they will be coming from.
as far as possible off of the hunting area, food, sign, travel areas, etc. as you can comfortable shoot successfully.
multiple stemmed for concealment and positioning accessories.
Changing up your tree stands in the late season for whitetails is only part of being successful. Your strategy also has to adapt as deer are looking winter right in the eye. After you have your stands positioned for the late season, here are a few hunting tips to increase your chances on a mature late-in-the-year buck.
Hunt late. Buck activity coupled with the cold temperatures makes it more productive to spend your time hunting the afternoon and evening rather than the early morning.
Practice shooting, again. Range time is great over the summer but remember that late season deer hunting will have you shooting with heavy clothes and gloves on. If you have not already practiced shooting in these situations pre-season, then hit the range again before you sit in your stand with a rifle.
Weather watching. Whitetails will be motivated by storm fronts so keep an eye on the weather and plan hunts around approaching and departing winter storms.
Keep checking trail cameras. Vital information can be observed from late season game cameras. Keep them up and checked regularly to pinpoint where to ambush that hold over buck.
Explore new areas. Late season is a good time to grab a mobile tree stand and explore some new hunting spots. Setup when you come across good sign (trails, scat, old rubs, etc.) and use it as an opportunity to also find a new spot for next year.
In the end for those of us still in the woods with an empty tag, late season whitetail hunting is all that remains until we cap yet another hunting season. Successful or not, each hunting seasons has its ups and downs. Pressured, tired bucks require a different approach such as transitioning tree stands and thinking about late season hunting strategies. Late season deer hunting is not for the faint of heart. But, these late season tips can be your ticket to success if you still need to fill a buck tag.
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Which Tree Stands You Should Use in These Hot Spots
Hunters are always looking for that secret hidey-hole spot where they can consistently arrow a mature buck year after year. You know what we’re talking about. It’s that hidden little gem of a spot that you always keep for the perfect weather conditions and don’t tell anyone else about. It’s no easy feat to accomplish this goal, but it can be done with some good scouting, disciplined hunting, and a quality deer stand. If you’re eyeing your tree stands right now, trying to figure out where you should put them for the first early season hunt of the year, then read on.
If your goal is to kill a big whitetail (why wouldn’t it be?), then you need to be where the big whitetails are, right? During the rut, bucks could show up anywhere in their pursuit of new does. But during the early season, bucks are more predictable in their daily movement patterns and stay fairly close to “home base.” They need food, water, and cover to survive, so that’s your basic starting point. But since there’s not much human pressure for early season deer hunting, they’re not too picky about finding remote thickets to hide out in just yet. A simple spot with good cover and little human intrusion is good enough. Also, food is still plentiful in most areas this time of year, making it easy for them to bed and feed within fairly close proximity to each other.
So if that’s all that’s required, why don’t more hunters repeatedly get their target list bucks? There are obviously more variables than these in a real hunting situation (e.g., weather conditions, scent control, camouflage, hunting practices, etc.) that can complicate the matter. And as far as how to pick a tree stand location, there are better spots within the broad definitions we mentioned already. By locating yourself in one of the high percentage spots below, you’ll be in a great position for tagging out.
Three Best Places to Hang Your Tree Stands
Without further ado, let’s reveal the three best places to hunt deer. But we’ll do you one better than that. We’ll also explain the types of tree stands you should use for each area, since different spots will require a different approach and tactics.
The Farm Field Tree Stand
This one is a given for many people in farm country. If you have access to agricultural fields with corn, beans, or even alfalfa, you’ve likely sat on the edge of them at some point. And why not? It’s hard to resist these spots. You have great visibility and the deer inevitably come out to eat each night.
Why are these spots so great for early season hunts? Bucks are still on their summer feeding pattern, which means they will be chowing down on the easily available forage on the farm fields each evening. And again, as long as they don’t feel pressured, they will continue this pattern until the velvet starts to dry up. At that point, bucks will usually split ways and live solo the rest of the fall. So capitalize on this unique window of time while you can.
The best tree stands for these areas are box stands or ground blinds. They offer almost total concealment, which is important for keeping the deer unaware. There are usually many pairs of eyes on the field watching for danger, so being concealed inside will help you get away with a little more movement. It will also help contain your scent while you’re hunting. The key with this setup is to be tucked into the woods a little bit, where you can sneak out on an access trail. If you’re too exposed, it will be impossible to leave your stand at the end of the day when there are deer on the field.
The Hunting Plot Tree Stand
Similar to the larger field stand, the hunting food plot location works because it can attract hungry deer. But what’s special about this setup is that it is usually located in a secluded spot with good cover around it, which makes it especially attractive to more reclusive bucks. Even early season bucks can get shy about daytime appearances when they start shedding their velvet. But a hunting plot is surrounded by thick security cover, which makes them feel safe to enter during the day.
In order for this to work, the hunting plot should be no bigger than one quarter acre and it should be planted with a very high attraction food plot species. Good options include brassicas, cereal grains, and annual clovers. These species tend to grow fine on shaded, smaller plots. The smaller size will also draw deer in for security purposes, but they are too small to keep them browsing all night. Eventually, they will usually move along to larger fields as night approaches.
The best tree stands for these areas are climbing tree stands. You can easily sneak into one of these areas during the afternoon, climb up the tree, hunt the evening, and shimmy back down when it’s time to leave. The Woodsman climbing tree stand is constructed of lightweight aluminum, yet is comfortable and durable enough for many evening hunts to come.
The Double Whammy Tree Stand
The last spot you should consider hanging your early season tree stands is actually a combination of a good water source and heavy cover. While deer get a lot of their water needs from the vegetation they eat, hotter-than-average early season temperatures will be sure to send deer to available water sources. If you can find or make a water source near thick cover (e.g., dogwood thicket, early successional forest, etc.), you can bet that deer will be bedded nearby.
It’s always a calculated move to hunt near bedding areas. But sometimes fortune favors the brave. The best tree stands for these areas are lock on stands. Why? When the conditions are right, you can simply sneak in and climb into your lock on stand (using a safety harness, of course) without much disturbance. The nice thing about these hunting tree stands is that you can hang several of them in different promising spots and then only hunt them when the weather is right.
There you have it. Three great early season hunting spots and which tree stands you should use in each one. This season, consider whether you have access to one of these areas and strongly consider doing something about it. You might like the outcome.
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