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What Style of Hunter are You?

Tree Stand Matching Guide | What Style of Hunter are You? 

There is no doubt that each hunter has a preferred method of hunting and many incorporate a variety of hunting styles that change with the season, terrain, and the weather. Even though it is more typical to stalk hunt in many of the western states and often favorable in some Midwestern states, hunting from elevated stands has steadily grown in popularity across all regions.  The right tree stand can be the difference in being able to sit the hours needed to make a successful harvest of that elusive trophy buck or getting down early and missing the opportunity entirely. There are a variety of elevated stands available regardless of which style of stand hunter you are.

Which Style of Hunter are You?

Each hunter has his/her own style when it comes to hunting. Sometimes the year, weather, or property steers the style of hunting you might go with for the year. However, taking a look in the general sense at your hunting strategies and tactics will allow you to make a conclusion on which style hunter you are, this later down the road can help you make decisions on which gear is right for your style.

The One and Done

The One and Done hunter is often only in the woods opening day and a few following days while the pressure is low and the odds are high for a successful harvest.

The One and Done hunter often is going to spend their time in the stand opening day of gun season or the opener in the early season. Often these hunters are filling the freezer and the lack of pressure of deer early in the season offers high odds of a harvest. Habitually deer are going to be easy to pattern early season if the hunter has had game cameras out or has done any scouting. Deer will use the same corridors, pinch points, staging areas, feeding areas, food plots and mineral licks as they have leading up to opening day and until the pre-rut rituals begin.  The One and Done also would apply to those hunters that only appear in the woods the opener of gun season or perhaps the weekend after.

The Family Man/Soccer Mom

The Family Man or the Soccer Mom hunter is going to be limited to the days and hours hunting because of family obligations.

The Family Man or Soccer Mom are often going to frequent the same stand that was erected preseason for the lack of time in scouting and moving stands, however, this is not always the case. Some of these hunters are skilled with their time and resources and can plan according to the limited time they have available. They make due with what they have, and hit the woods at sporadic times throughout the week and snag any available weekend that may appear.

The Public Land Gypsy

The Public Land Gypsy will be more apt to move around a lot on parcels of public land and wildlife management areas. Often not having the option of leaving a stand on the land overnight.

When hunting public land, using topo maps or maps that the state has issued for public land use, a hunter goes in Nomad mode seeking the perfect spot for the highest odds of game traffic. The diehard public land hunter is not going to stick to the edges where more pressure is put on game from those hunters who fail to wander into the heart of the property.

The Weatherman 

The Weatherman hunter is one who will hunt a variety of stands specifically for what the wind direction or weather is doing.

A Weatherman hunter is going to plan the hunt based on wind direction and what is projected by the weather radar.  Naturally, this style hunter will have several stands to choose from on any given hunt. A “fair-weather” hunter can be placed in this category for the fact that they will choose an enclosed stand for the day’s hunt or forego the hunt altogether. The weatherman can usually hunt often, but can also be limited to hunting days as they often single out cold and high-pressure fronts.   

The Paparazzi

The Paparazzi hunter is going to place their stands depending on what their game camera strategy has proven in the area.

 

The Paparazzi hunter is motivated by what the game cameras have captured, having a “hit-list” of bucks for the season. The paparazzi hunter will strategically place stands in the areas that the hit-list bucks are known to travel proven via trail camera results. The paparazzi hunter will take advantage of a variety of stand types and will hunt long hours any chance they get.

The Food Plot Hugger

The Food Plot Hugger hunts only over food plots or agricultural fields.

Food Plot hunters tend to place stands hugging the edges of green fields, food plots, and agricultural fields or corridors and staging areas leading to the food sources. It is not rare to find that this style of hunter will only hunt during afternoon hours due to the natural instinct for deer to frequent these areas before, or at sundown. If the terrain allows for food plot hunters to access a stand without busting deer off the food source, some hunters will hunt these stands in the morning hours.

The Rut Crazed Hunter

The Rut Crazed hunter spends the majority of their time on the hunt during the prime rut paying attention to rut funnels and high traffic areas.

A Rut Crazed hunter plans long hunts around the captivating buck rut. It is not rare for the rut-crazed hunter to spend all day in the stand for several consecutive days in a row or for an entire week or more during legal hunting hours. During a strong rut, it is not hard for the rut crazed hunter to sit all day due to the anticipated excitement of deer traffic or rut action that could unfold at any given moment.

The Full-Time Sportsman

The Full-Time Sportsman is diehard and will be physically in the woods every waking hour possible during the open season. They have no strict hunting preferences and continuously studies the terrain, moon phases, barometric pressure, and often relate to the Farmer’s Almanac or the old timer’s tales. They are often the most “experience-educated” hunter among all the styles.

The Full-Time Sportsman uses every method available, at one point or another, during the season in pursuit of the elusive trophy buck. Often, but not in all cases, the full-time sportsman is a trophy hunter and reserves tags for “Hit-List” bucks that have been following through game camera photos and chance encounters from previous seasons. This style hunter is going to have a variety of stands, if not every type of stand, available to them for a variety of hunting situations.

Note: It is not uncommon for a hunter to be any combination of the various styles!

 Match a Tree Stand To Your Style of Hunting

With the numerous styles of tree stands available, finding the perfect stand for the hunter’s style of hunting doesn’t take much research. The various type stands are typically hang-on/lock-on stands, climbing stands, single and double ladder stands, tripods, quadpods, and box blinds.

Hang-On Stands

Hang-on stands, also known as lock-on stands are light stands that incorporate a platform and seat for the main unit that is strapped onto a tree by ratchet straps, chains, or wire cable. This type of stand requires a climbing step system, also referred to as climbing sticks, to be affixed to the tree to gain access to the stand. Hang-on stands are often used in conjunction with ladder stands, or other style stands for a cameraman or a second person stand.

 

Muddy Outdoors offers a variety of hang-on stands that fit the purpose of a variety of hunter styles. The lightweight Vantage Point weighing in at a mere 13 pounds offers four adjustment options for the platform with a flip-back footrest and adjustable Triplex foam waterproof seat that flips up and out of the way for standing. The Vantage Point is designed to be packable with the Muddy Outdoors Climbing System (sold separately) and carried backpack style with the straps included.

Hunting Styles Supported: The Weatherman and Public Land Gypsy

 Climbing Stands

Climber Stands are not favorable for all hunters because they are the most challenging to use among the various types of stands. The advantages of being able to use a climber allow the hunter to hunt in areas that may not be accessible to other type stands or can be carried in and used on newly found signs. Muddy Outdoors offers two climber stands, The Stalker Climber and The Woodsman Climber.

The Woodsman Climber offers all-day comfort with a 2” thick foam sling-style seat and backrest with a padded armrests. The non-slip slats on the foot platform and rubber coated foot straps assist in safe climbing and the flex cable Hybrid Mounting System with a spring-loaded pin for quick adjustment. The Woodsman Climber includes an accessory bag and padded back straps for easy carrying in the woods.

Hunting Styles Supported: Climbing stands are ideal for the public land gypsy, the weatherman, the rut-crazed hunter, the full-time sportsman, as well as, the paparazzi; those hunters who will likely frequent various stands depending on deer movement.

Ladder Stands

Ladder stands seem to be the most popular, widely used style of elevated tree stand because of the ease of use by any age or size of hunter. Ladder stands also give the hunter an option of single or double stands. Muddy Outdoors offers several models of both single ladder stands and double ladder stands. The single ladder stand offering is The Boss Hog, The Grandstand, The Huntsman, The Odyssey, and The Skybox.

The Huntsman is the most economical single ladder stand in the Muddy Outdoors single ladder stand series, offering an extremely comfortable flip-back seat, padded armrests and a deep platform, many other features found in more expensive stands. The Grandstand is the Cadillac of the Muddy Outdoors single ladder stand series. The Grandstand offers a spacious, comfortable flip-back seat to allow the hunter to take advantage of the full foot platform. The shooting rail is a stable prop for gun or crossbow hunting and can be flipped up and secured out of the way for archery hunting. The extra wide, angled steps and handrail adds additional security climbing or descending the stand. The 90-pound weight of this stand results in placing it in areas that the stand will most likely sit for a while.

Hunting Styles Supported: Ladder stands are the perfect solution for the rut-crazed hunter, the family man or soccer mom, the food plot hugger, and the full-time sportsman; those hunters that strategically place a stand and spend many hours hunting out of that stand, especially if they are taking another hunter!

Hunting Tripod and Quadpod Stands

Tripods and quadpod stands give hunters an advantage when there isn’t a perfect tree line or a straight tree for stand placement. This type stand can be used on the edges of the field, in the open, or tucked away in the timbers. Muddy Outdoors offers The Liberty that features a center mount 360° swivel Flex-Tek seat and padded shooting rail, and an easy climb and entry ladder. The Liberty has a 16′ height from ground to shooting rail and weighs in at 132 pounds.

The Nomad Tripod is a compact 12-foot high ladder stand that has an easy entry ladder. The comfortable Flex-Tek seat rotates 360° with a padded 36″ high shooting rail and a steel foot rail. The Nomad might be compact in stature, but it has a weight rating of 500 pounds. The Quad is a 12′ high stand featuring two platform-mounted Flex-Tek chairs and a spacious 57″ x 57″ platform.  A wrap around padded shooting rail is at the perfect height of 36″. The stand is rated for 500 pounds and only weighs 110 pounds. The unique feature of The Quad is that Muddy Outdoors offers a camouflage blind with a roof height measuring 84″ tall in the center and completely encloses the platform portion of this stand. This feature allows this blind to be a great mobile blind similar to a box blind.

Hunting Styles Supported: The weatherman, the family man/soccer mom, the one and done,  and the full-time sportsman will all find these stands the perfect solution for their time on the hunt,

Box Stands/Box Blinds

The last type of stand discussed here, the box blinds or box stands, are usually a little more permanent or require more effort to move around a parcel of land. Muddy Outdoors offers the Gunner and The Bull. Both Muddy Outdoors box blinds offer an optional ladder system and platform. The Gunner is made of insulated Therma-Tek panel sides and features a 70″ x 30″ locking door, with 33″ x 13″ windows. Other convenient features are a drink holder, a gear shelf, and a storage box. The blind, without the platform, weighs 250 pounds and is weight rated up to 500 pounds. A 5 foot, 4’x4′ metal platform is available for this stand which offers an easy access ladder and landing platform complete with handrails.

The Bull is the Mac-Daddy blind in the Muddy Outdoors stand line-up and is typically a stand that is placed in an ideal hotspot and left there for several seasons; such as the edge of a greenfield, agriculture field, a vast area, or on a rise overlooking a bluff or valley. The Therma-Tek system offers a weatherproof, noise-free and scent-free blind by layering high-density foam, tempered hardboard, and marine carpet, all encapsulated in exterior grade UV protected PVC.  When used with the 10′ foot Muddy Tower, The Bull includes a ground anchor with cable and turnbuckle and four 24″ stakes for a secured tie-down system. The easy access ladder with handrail adds security when ascending and descending the stand. The 43″ x 20″ deep platform landing offers two handrails for security when entering the full-length, lockable entry door. The window configuration allows this blind to be used for gun or bow hunting.

Hunting Styles Supported: There is no doubt that this blind makes the perfect hunting solution for the food plot hugger, the weatherman, the family man/soccer mom, the one and done, and the full-time sportsman.

Each model of the Muddy Outdoors tree stands includes safety harnesses which should be properly worn every time a hunter uses an elevated stand.  Muddy Outdoors not only offers a variety of great stands in several styles for every type hunter, but also offers an assortment of stand and blind accessories that bring convenience to any style hunter on the hunt.

Which style hunter are you? Do you have the gear and stands to match your style? Would these matchings make hunting a lot easier for you? Write below and give us your feedback! If you are interested in learning more click the blog below!

Planning and Hunting Food Plots in the South

Southern Food Plots and Deer Hunting

Hunting and land management practices in the southern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi require somewhat of a different strategy than that of the Midwestern states. While we often focus on the Midwest, we can’t ignore the need for some accurate tips and strategies focused specifically on the south. The south requires a very different set of tactics, strategies, and tips. Several factors are responsible for this of which population density, soil type, terrain, median climate, lack of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) areas, browse quality and quantity all weigh in. Hunters owning or leasing property, or even hunt clubs in and around the southeast and southern regions utilize food plots in the summer, fall, and winter months not only for the well-being of the deer herd but also for successful hunting.

Proper land management practices are a direct influence on the health and benefit of the deer herd of the managed habitat. A popular concept stands true among land management philosophy, “Preparation for next year’s hunt begins at the end of this year’s season.” With that in mind, no two plans will be exactly alike for different tracts of land; the individuality of the property will factor into what core needs will develop the best sustainable habitat.

Food Plots in the South

The southern and southeast regions of the United States are more populated per capita by the human population, and although there are ample farmland and vast areas of unpopulated land, the acreage numbers of agricultural land are nothing compared to that of the Western and Midwestern states. Add to that the fact that soil comparisons rank the southern soils as some of the most nutrient-leached soils by average. The mild median temperatures do allow more native habitat browse year around, but the supplemental planting of food plots provide nutrition to deer during the most critical nutritionally stressed periods and is vital to the nutrition and health of the deer herd. Not only do food plots assist in the nutritional health of deer herds, but also these food plots are a huge factor in providing a viable method to attract deer during the hunting season.

When planning to put in a new food plot location or revive an old plot, deciding what to plant and choosing the prime location for a stand, several considerations factor into the success of that food plot. Considerations such as site selection, crop selection, soil preparation, planting methods, and stand placement ideal for that location. Other factors such as median temperatures, average drought, weeds, deer population, amount and quality of natural browse, and proximity of agricultural fields in the area are also important to the success of perennial food plots.

Food Plot Site Selection

 The size, shape, and distribution of food plots are not only important to utilizing those food plots for nutrition; it is critical in successfully attracting deer during hunting season. As a general rule, factoring in the palatable native plants, nuts, and browse, 1-5% of the entire acreage of managed property should be planted, and often as much as 10% if the plot locations are available. Larger food plots will sustain crops longer because they can survive heavy browsing by game animals. Often, agricultural fields that are on the property or the property has access to can be used according to the crops planted and are ideal for stand placement.

Typically, food plots for deer will range from half an acre to as much as five acres. Keep in mind that deer will usually utilize the edges of larger plots in the daylight hours, but usually will feed in the center of larger plots only during the cover of night. Feeding in the cover of night will meet the goal of enhancing nutrition for the deer herd but will not benefit hunting from an attraction standpoint. Long, irregular shape plots offer deer easy use and access to food plots with the safety of some edge cover; whereas long, even-sided plantings seem to make deer weary for lack of edge cover.

Location, purpose, size, sun and shade exposure of the food plot are all dynamics to the use of that area, but none of these are more important than the soil type and condition. The requirements of the crop and the season being planted will largely be a factor as to where it can be planted.

Food Plot Soil Preparation

Before crop choice can be considered for a certain food plot, it is important to have the soil tested to see what each plot needs to create prime soil for planting crops. Soil testing can be done through many county extension offices for a fairly economical fee. It is important to follow the instructions on the soil testing kits when obtaining the soil samples. Once the results have been confirmed, it is time to prepare the soil for planting.

Soil fertility is going to depend on several elements but mainly soil structure/texture and pH.  For the southern/southeast regions the most productive soils are going to be found in the Black Belt Region, alluvial regions such as river beds, streams bottoms, and deltas which will be comprised of a combination of sand, silt, clay, and gravel. The deep sandy soils of the Coastal Plains are low in fertility due to a high rate of nutrient leaching in those areas. Soils that have a finer texture with some gravel will naturally hold more moisture than that of coarser texture with some gravel.

The pH numbers are classified as basic with a pH range of 7.1 to 14.0, neutral with a pH range of 7.0, and acidic with a pH range of 0 to 6.9.  Each plant is going to have a range that is tolerable to its growth and sustainability. The popular range of the greatest variety of plant species and summer legumes and fall plant species is 6.5 to 7.0 pH. It is evident that a vast amount of land across the southern and southeast regions encompass highly acidic soils because of the number of pine tree species found in those acres; pine trees thrive well in acidic soils. Alluvial bottomlands commonly have a more neutral pH which hardwoods grow well in.

Soil fertility doesn’t stop at pH levels, the amount of phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, and other nutrients are important. One to two tons of Ag lime per acre is often enough to adjust pH and should be applied right before or immediately after plowing and should remain at the root level of the plant. Rotating certain legumes in summer plots can help build many of these nutrients and combined with proper lime and fertilizing, the result is fertile soil for planting.

A good seed bed, the preparation for planting, is critical for summertime food plots to retain moisture and aid in germination in the dry summers of the southern climate. When planting, it is important to plan according to pending rain and 60° or warmer temperatures for proper germination of seed. In many areas, the practice most popular for summer plots are mowing and poisoning residual fall plants and spring weeds followed by disking or drilling for an ideal seed planting of ½” to 1” depths; anything deeper will often not allow proper germination and growth.

Food Plot Crop/Seed Selection

Once the plots have been soil tested, lime and fertilized where required, it is time to choose what to plant considering the season of planting.  A variety of seed can be purchased Round-Up Ready, which means that the seed/crop can be sprayed throughout the season to kill weeds and vegetation that can choke out the crops that are planted. Alfalfa, a grass food crop widely grown in the Midwestern states, does not thrive in the southern regions.

A well thought out plan will include summer legumes such as Iron-Clay Cow Peas, soybeans, and other legumes which not only provide protein and fiber for deer, these legumes aid in adding nitrogen to the soils for fall planting. LabLab is a drought resistant, warm-weather legume that can withstand heavy browsing for areas with high deer density. Perennials such as crimson clover and ladino clover are often planted by broadcasting on top of other planted seed. Crimson clover and Regal ladino clover make good spring and fall browse. Brassica crops are fall crops that thrive well in the mild winters of the southern regions.

Cereal grains, such as wheat, oats, and rye, offer great cover but provide little to no nutritional value. Similar to cereal grain sorghum, Egyptian wheat, and millet also offer no real nutritional value to the deer herd. Egyptian wheat is usually considered for coverage or support of crawling or vining crops. Millet is often used for upland game and controlling erosion, but it chokes out most other crops so it should be planted only for these two uses.

Tree Stand and Box Blind Setups for Southern Deer Hunting

The typical terrain and characteristic of southern property are most favorable to stand type hunting. The overabundance of trees and planted pine plantations, topographical features, and the lack of long shooting ranges in the southern regions make hunting ideal for stand hunting over food plots that attract deer. After carefully planning out food plots, investing the time and expense into preparing and planting, the next step will be deciding on what type of stand and placement of the stand for the most effective advantage of a successful season. Using game cameras after the food plots are planted and before the season opens by placing the cameras in travel corridors and staging areas can also assist in deciding the best locations for stand placement.

There are several types of stands available that can be used in a variety of locations for the best shot opportunity. Permanent box stands will need to be planned precisely since erecting this type of stand doesn’t allow easy set-up, take down and mobility. Other stands, such portable box blinds, ladder stands, tripod stands, ground blinds, and bale blinds offer mobility.

Using the terrain and the characteristics of the land as factors in stand placement, take into consideration access to the stand, bedding areas, trails, corridors, staging areas, pinch points, typical wind direction, and the rise and setting of the sun. When placing a stand on a field with irregular edges, choosing a location that gives the hunter the widest angle of view will give an advantage. The most effective stand placements are those areas that will allow a stand to share a pinch point, staging area, or trails with the food plot view. As with any stand placement, it is critical to use any cover available, including a canopy of tree tops to protect from a skyline silhouette.

If planning to use a ground blind, for the best results, placing that blind and brushing it in well in advance to the season will allow deer to get accustomed to the blind. When placing a ground blind, avoid placing the blind in too close in proximity to a trail or the middle of a staging area. Bale blinds work well in large plots, and often allows the hunter a 360-degree view of the edges of the entire food plot. Bale blinds or tri- and quad-pods are often placed in areas that have the highest chance of a hunter flushing wildlife or being seen while approaching the stand, so attention to ingress and egress to those stands will be imperative.

Cutting shooting lanes is often necessary for elevated stands that are tucked into tree lines at the edge of food plots or stands that have irregular edge cover. With food plots that have long, straight sides, careful consideration of stand placement is crucial; take advantage of any cover available. One of the most critical factors in placing a stand is typical wind direction and natural thermals based on topographical features. Choosing a downwind location typical to the common wind direction for that location is going to be key. Of course, controlling the wind is completely out of our capabilities so having a second stand location or another food plot favorable to the prevailing wind is always good planning.  Another factor to consider is the rising and setting of the sun because naturally, these are times when deer are most active and looking directly into the sun does not only hinder the hunter’s visibility, it also places a low factor of concealment on the hunter amplifying any movement.

Deer movement can change drastically from early season bow hunting, during the rut, and late season hunting. Even excessive hunting pressure or crop over browsing in an area can cause deer movement to change at any given time. It is often essential to the success of the hunt to change strategy and even to change stand location. This change in location can be done by adding a stand, which results in as little disruption as possible in that area, instead of moving a stand.

There will always be conditions beyond control such as the amount of rain and extremely high or low temperatures, but having a plan in place of proper land management for spring, summer, and fall planting and a well laid out plan for stand placement ensures the highest odds of a successful fall deer season.

If you are interested in learning more about food plots or feeding deer check out the blog below!

deer hunting cold fronts trail camera tips | Muddy Outdoors

How To: Deer Hunting Cold Fronts in October

Deer Hunting Cold Fronts

Have you got the rhythm down yet? Are you back in the saddle so to speak?  When it comes to bow hunting it feels like it can take a week or two to finally get used to waking up earlier, master walking quietly across parched leaves, and perfect the art of patience, little movement, and silence. Bow season is here and whether you are ready or not does not concern the deer and more importantly the fleeting month of October. Deer hunting during October is short lived as is, and more often than not, several opportunities go without recognition and “seizing”. The worst of these missed opportunities takes the form of deer hunting cold fronts during October.

Digging deeper, many hunters will come to realize that it is the rapidly changing behavior of deer…not time itself that lets us perceive October as short. During the first part of the month or so, patterns exist, food sources are still intact, and there appears to be a very real opening to harvest a buck. However once the second and third week of October arrive everything changes. The shifting weather, food, hormones, landscape, and much more create a list of factors that seem to alter everything we knew about our property and the deer going into October. The second and third week of October (October 10th – 24th) seems to throw hunters a curve ball.

Acorns, Ag fields harvested, cooler weather, varying attractiveness of food plots, intolerance due to heightened testosterone, and of course the pressure of the approaching rut seem to mix up deer behavior so badly that they themselves do not understand what’s going on….let alone us hunters trying to figure it all out. If someone figured out exactly how to hunt October, you would know the absolute authority on the subject, but no one will ever be able to figure it out entirely. Why? You cannot control Mother Nature…

What Is a Cold Front?

By definition (to a hunter) a Cold Front is Mother Nature’s answer to the hunter’s mercy plead. Curve ball after curve ball, Mother Nature has taken us through the ringer no doubt, but it’s nice when she answers our prayers. A Cold front is a hunter’s saving grace so to speak. When deer movement seems to be slowing down, or unpredictable a cold front is a sudden snap to get deer and more importantly mature bucks on their feet.

A Cold Front – advancing mass of cold air trailing the edge of a warm sector of a low-pressure system.

When should you hunt a cold front?

A great source for hunters as far as weather patterns and cold fronts is Weather Underground. Customize the 10 day weather forecast to show temperature, the chance of precipitation, pressure, wind speed, and humidity can also be an advantage. Hunters are by no means meteorologists, but knowing the simplest things can make a huge difference to the action you witness in the woods.

deer hunting cold fronts trail camera tips | Muddy Outdoors

https://www.wunderground.com

In the picture, you can clearly see when the cold front is advancing. This graph was exported from a state in the Midwest this year, 2016, last week in fact from the date this blog is posted. From the period of Tuesday the 4th to Friday the 7th you can see a period of high temperature hovering around 80 degrees or so. Friday afternoon marks the entrance and arrival of the front. When the front is passing is typically seen as a drop in temperature > 5-10 degrees, and an increase in pressure. You will also either see nasty weather or precipitation increase as the front passes. The amount of temperature drop isn’t necessarily the main take away or reason a cold front is so productive.

Notice the days before the cold front arrives. You have hunted these days before…the same boring, long, and hot days that are common in October. Low 80s High 70s during the day for several days in a row, plus the combination of nasty weather as the front arrives signifies how “productive” the cold front will be. Deer movement will be slow or what you will normally experience during the days beforehand. During the nasty spell of weather, deer will undergo intense stress. When the skies break open (Saturday-Sunday), pressure increases, and temperature plummets deer will be excited to get on their feet, especially to feed on available food sources.

That covers when you should be deer hunting cold fronts, but not “where”. Unfortunately, the “where” is a bit trickier than the “when” and subject to a lot more opinion and variability.

Deer Hunting Cold Fronts: The Big Question is Where

So up to this point we have told you “when” you might fake a sudden cough or take a vacation day off work, but the next important thing to decide is “where”. Where should you go “all in” on what seems to be your only and best chance at a buck in October. While we cannot give you a definitive answer that is a sure fire tree stand location, we can offer plenty of well thought out and proven suggestions.

While October is leading up to highly anticipated action-packed weeks in November, the majority of the month’s deer activity revolves around one thing…FOOD. Two big food sources are competing during this time frame and a third is thrown into the mix if it is available. Above all acorns and cut corn fields should be on the hunter’s radar, but food plots can also be thrown into the mix.

Acorns

Trail Cameras Weekly “Week 2” Oct 10th- 16th | October Cold Fronts and Acorns
(Video)- As the second week of October arrives, strategies must change accordingly. In this week, two major players are present, acorns and October cold fronts.

 

Acorns are a staple for deer during the month of October. White oak and red oak acorns rain down from mature timber canopies across the Whitetail’s range, offering a continuous and reliable food source. Unfortunately, it is also a plentiful food source…meaning the little package of carbs that is known as the acorn can spell disaster for hunters. This abundant food source’s availability means that deer do not have to work very hard or move very far to get to a food source. When deer are on acorns, it can be very hard to pattern them, but with the help of some landscape features like fingers, saddles, ridges, funnels, creek bottoms, and transition areas it can be done. Muddy TV’s Trail Cameras Weekly touches on these features and how acorns, with the addition of a cold front, could mean success.

Cut Corn Fields

Whitetail 101 S1 E8, “October Cold Fronts” | Best Way to Hunt October Cold Fronts
(Video)- On this week’s episode of Whitetail 101, Bill Winke discusses October bow hunting tactics, food sources, and October cold fronts.

 

Cut corn fields, a common site this time of year is one of the only food sources that can pull deer off of acorns. As Bill Winke mentions in the video from Muddy TV’s Whitetail 101, freshly cut corn field offers “easy pickings” as far as deer are concerned. The missed kernels and mangled ears of corn can leave a significant amount of food left scattered across the tangle of stalks. The combine leaving the field is a dinner bell for deer and has the power to bring brutes out of the timber for a quick buffet. Again a cold front moving through, with some nasty weather in the forecast may just prompt a farmer for a quick harvest, meaning you will have a cut corn field to hunt over while deer hunting cold fronts, both bumping deer to their feet to feed.

Green Food Plots

Trophy Pursuit S6 E6, “Close Calls” | Close Encounters with Mature Iowa Bucks
(Video)- This week on Muddy’s Trophy Pursuit, several team members have great encounters, close calls, and trail camera photos of mature Iowa bucks.

As always a well-planted food plot, with the right species, in the right location can always be a dynamite spot to sit when deer are on their feet. As you can see in Trophy Pursuits Episode 6, the team encounter several hit list bucks moving through, around, and to food plots. Clovers, brassicas, and species like oats can attract deer throughout October and even through November and later. This is especially true for years with low acorn production, or in areas with little mature timber and ag crops. Food plots such as the ones you witness in this episode work great as staging areas and transition plots as deer begin to filter out into larger areas such as cut corn fields or oak flats.

deer hunting cold fronts trail camera tips | Muddy OutdoorsTrail Cameras Will Tell You Where

Overall the secret to perfecting deer hunting cold fronts and bow hunting in general in October is relying heavily upon your trail camera data. As you noticed in all the weekly deer hunting videos and web shows on Muddy TV  this week (Trail Cameras Weekly, Whitetail 101, and Trophy Pursuit), they all relayed intel and information from their trail cameras to support their observations and predictions.

Take the advice and do yourself a favor. Setup trail cameras based on the available food sources. Await an October cold front, and base your hunt around the most recent information you have….you won’t regret it.

bow hunting deer hunting plot | Muddy Outdoors

How to Plant a Hunting Plot for Bow Hunting Deer

Bow Hunting Deer Made Simpler with the Right Food Plots

Do you know the absolute best way to guarantee you’ll see deer from your bow hunting tree stands this fall? Alright, we don’t either. If someone knew that, they sure aren’t sharing it with anyone. But there is one method you can rely upon to increase the attraction of your hunting area, particularly as it applies to bow hunting deer. The simple trick is to set your deer stands in strategic places near hunting food plots, or plant these hunting plots near a great tree stand.

How To Plant Fall Food Plots | Steps To Create A Hunting Plot
Fall is on its way, now is the time to follow these steps on how to plant fall food plots and hunting plots.

 

That sounds simple enough. So where do most hunters go wrong? There are usually two culprits for this problem. One, the food plots or corn/bean fields are usually too big or too exposed to really hunt effectively without spooking game animals (especially whitetails) from them routinely. The second issue is that tree stands are often hung in places that might offer great shots, but they can’t be accessed without alerting deer to your entry and exits. This is pretty much a no-win scenario for eager bow hunters. Let’s look at the right way to use food plots for bow hunting deer below.

What is a Hunting Plot?

bow hunting deer hunting plot | Muddy OutdoorsA hunting food plot is different than a large agricultural food plot in a few ways. Hunting plots are small in size (i.e., less than ½ acre) to make sure you can kill a deer from anywhere within them. Your deer hunting stand locations should be in strategic places that work well for ambushing animals. And they should usually be planted in highly attractive food plot species, such as brassicas, peas, annual clovers, or cereal grains. This combination makes them perfect for bow hunting deer.

Size is important for these plots, as anything over ½ acre really limits your ability to shoot across them with a bow, unless your food plot is a narrow and winding lane. Their small size also means that you should be able to sneak into and out of your tree stands for bow hunting, since the chance of running into a deer is slim in a smaller area. One way to further sweeten a plot is to add a mineral site nearby. They should be tucked into tight cover to allow you to stealthily approach and stay concealed while in your hunting tree stands. Last, the species you plant are important. For hunting plots, you want your plot to be the most palatable and attractive food option in the neighborhood when archery season opens. That means quick-growing (usually annuals), highly digestible, protein- and carbohydrate-packed species like those listed above.

How to Plant a Food Plot for Bow Hunting Deer 

Now that we’ve defined what it is you should aim for, let’s talk about how to make a food plot. First, you’ll need to find a spot like we described above. It could be a small woodland opening, an old trail, or a brushy corner of a larger agricultural field. Whatever works for your plan of attack. Then you’ll need to clear the existing vegetation using chainsaws, brush saws, mowers, weed-whippers, and/or herbicide. Make sure to leave a fringe of cover around the edges, if possible, and definitely don’t remove potential trees for bow hunting deer out of!

After you clear the area, you have a few options. Depending on how much soil is exposed, you could simply rake the area clean of leaves and debris, burn the residue off, or simply disc everything under (a garden rototiller works fine for such small plots). Once the soil is exposed, you could test it using a soil testing kit from the store to be most accurate. Or for these small plots, you could just wing it. It will almost certainly need some lime or calcium spray to raise the pH of the soil, and you should also scatter a couple 50 pound bags of general 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 fertilizer to raise the nutrient level. Then the really fun part begins.

Whether you plant the species we mentioned above or do your own homemade food plot mix, it’s important to consider when to plant food plots. If the archery season opens in late September, but you don’t plan to be bow hunting deer until mid-October, time your planting to be at peak attraction when you’ll physically be out in the woods. How? Look at the days to peak maturity on the seed you’re planting, and count back from the day you’ll start hunting. That will give you the earliest time you should plant your hunting plot. You can plant them a little later than this date too, as young plants are very attractive, but the plots may be over-browsed quickly due to their size. Using this strategy, you can really produce some quick and easy food plots for hunting.

Where to Hang Your Best Bow Hunting Stands? 

bow hunting deer hunting plot | Muddy OutdoorsNow the third piece of the hunting plot puzzle; where should you set up your bow hunting deer stands? If you planned the shape right, there should be a suitable tree standing in heavy cover within 10 yards of the edge of the plot. You don’t want it right on the edge so that it completely sticks out, and that’s also where the heavy cover comes into play for camouflage purposes. You’ll want to be able to sneak into the plot quietly using a cleared access trail, and then silently climb into your stand to hunt mornings and evenings.

The Muddy Outdoors Sportsman lock on stand is perfect for this setup. Then in the early afternoon hours of your first hunt, you can hang the Sportsman tree stand and get comfortable. The seat flips back so you have full use of the platform to have a steady bow stance.

Conclusion

While there’s no way to absolutely guarantee you’ll get a Pope and Young buck while bow hunting deer in these plots, using this method will substantially raise your hunting effectiveness. And that’s at least something to celebrate.