Posts

4 of the Best Fall Food Plot Setups

4 of the Best Fall Food Plots for Deer Hunting

As most hunters figure out, hunting mature Whitetails is a game of chess.  Hunters are constantly strategizing, analyzing, and scheming to be one step ahead of these sly creatures.  One of the best ways to gain that upper hand is to learn how to be a better hunter; i.e. become a better chess player.  But what if you took it one step further?  What if you could actually create your own chess board?  Essentially, you could then predict their next move and know where that buck is going to be at certain times of the season. Some of the very best fall food plots for deer can do just that…provide a chess board that nearly guarantee’s a win!  

Food plots do a lot more than just providing a healthy source of food for your deer herd.  They also shape travel patterns, create hubs for social activity, and recruit neighboring deer.  These are all great benefits of planting food plots, but what most hunters overlook is how to effectively hunt those plots and maximize the output of that resource.   

How many times have you sat in your tree stand with a proud grin on your face as you’re overlooking the plush green vegetation that you’ve worked endlessly to create during those summer months?  It’s a rewarding feeling, no doubt.  Now imagine seeing your target buck walk out into your plot 15 minutes before dark.  You’ve only seen nighttime trail camera photos of him and thought he was virtually unhuntable.  Now he is broadside at 20 yards and has no idea you are there.  That proud grin just turned into a full ear-to-ear smile.  Give yourself this ultimate advantage by following these top 4 food plot setups to bring in mature bucks.

Food Plot #1  Early Bird Buffet

This is an early season plot that can be a dependable location for that first sit of the year.  It’s purposely designed so that it’s not too invasive and you should try to use the taller grasses and foliage as a screen when accessing your stand in these warmer months.  Play your cards right and you could be first in line at the taxidermist.   

Where:  Ideally you would like to hug tight to a water source such as a creek or pond, but not too far from bedding areas in order to draw in mature bucks from their bed in daylight. 

Seed:  Soybeans and sorghum are rich in protein, green during this time of year, and the deer can’t stay off it. 

Shape:  Wrap this plot around the water source so the deer can’t skirt around when traveling through.  If you can, design a pinch point as the entry into the plot from the nearest bedding area. 

Trail Camera:  Set the Pro-Cam 20 on time-lapse mode to capture those entry and exit points. 

Stand:  Avoid working too hard and getting hot and sweaty when climbing into your early season stand.  The Odyssey XTL ladder stand is reliable, comfortable, and easy to access with minimal effort on big plots like this.

Food Plot #2 – Temptation Island

The Temptation Island plot is a staging kill plot that needs to be planted early to minimize intrusion in the months approaching hunting season.  The goal of this food plot is to position this island plot in a way that bucks do not have far to travel when getting up from their beds to satisfy their famished bellies.  Hunting this close to bedded bucks will result in a higher number of daytime sightings and shooting opportunities. 

Where:  Placed in between buck bedding and communal food sources. 

Seed:  Clover is your best choice since its reliable, browse tolerant for small plots, and low maintenance. 

Shape:  This plot doesn’t have to be large in size.  Just big enough to entice mature bucks to stop for an appetizer on their way to the main course. 

Trail Camera:  Make sure your Pro-Cam 14 or 20 is setup close to your tree stand.  You don’t want to be dropping your scent when pulling cards on the opposite side of the food plot.  Try placing a mock scrape in front of the camera on the edge of the plot, which adds something a buck will have to check if working through the area. 

Stand:  Shifting winds on a small plot can ruin your hunt real fast.  Use a Muddy Vantage Point stand with Aerolite climbing sticks to allow for ample mobility.

Food Plot #3 – The Show Time Plot

This is where all the magic happens.  The purpose of the Show Time plot is to create a stage for rutting activity.  You want to focus on attracting does to this food source, which will lead to bucks cruising through with their noses on the ground looking for a girlfriend.  Love is in the air, so take advantage of those testosterone filled bucks who let their guard down. 

Where:  Best locations are pinch points, funnels, and downwind of doe bedding areas. 

Seed:  Oats and peas, even combined with winter wheat and rye work really well here since they are highly resistant to early season grazing, ensuring your plot won’t be picked clean before the rut begins. 

Shape:  Shapes can vary depending on the landscape, however, you want to create a wide view for yourself so you don’t get surprised by bucks chasing at high speeds.  Multiple fingers like a turkey foot food plot design could work wonders if you’re hunting with a rifle. 

Trail Camera:  Pro-Cams are best placed in front of scrap trees and rub lines where you will typically see a lot of activity in and out of the plot.  If the plot is not designed with multiple fingers like a turkey foot, you can simply set the Pro-Cam high and on time-lapse to gather general daytime feeding intel. 

Stand:  The Nexus XTL provides the height and the large platform to maneuver around for a better position when that rutted up hit list buck comes within range.

 Food Plot #4 – The Binger Plot

As the late season begins, bucks are worn out from the rut and have shed a lot of weight.  In order to survive the winter, they need to pack the pounds back on and indulge on as many sugars and carbs as possible.  This is where you can really take advantage of shooter bucks that typically spend their home range on neighboring properties.  If those surrounding areas do not have a late season option to help sustain those deer populations, you can bet they will travel to your Binger plot to bulk back up.  Bottom line…. If you have food, they will come. 

Where:  Plant this plot in the interior sections of your property.  You will find bucks adjusting their core areas and a main food source will allow you to inhale neighboring deer. 

Seed:  Brassica’s, such as turnips, generate an elevated level of glucose when hit by a cold frost.  This can be combined with a strategy earlier in the year for standing grain, buy planting early maturing soybeans (turn faster for brassica planting).  You can also mix brassicas with winter wheat, rye, and even oats to provide more tonnage and draw deer in before the brassicas become attractive.  Bucks will hammer this type of fall food plot to get energy for recovery, as well as scent check remaining does and fawns feeding in the plot. 

Shape:  Planting in long rows to create shooting lanes for firearms, muzzleloaders, and crossbows can be extremely effective during this time period. 

Trail Camera:  Positioning Pro-Cams on field edges overlooking the food plot will fill up your SD cards with quality intel.  Don’t be surprised if you have a few bucks show up that you have not seen before.  The Muddy Pro-Cam features the hybrid mode, allowing time lapse cameras to also catch any movement, so set the camera up overlooking the field and a potential funnel to tighten your hunting setup. 

Stand:  Investing in a Muddy Bull or Penthouse blind provides different window options depending on your weapon of choice and keeps you nice and warm during these frigid winter months.

Conclusion

Food plots aren’t just a means of generating food on your property.  Besides helping to sustain a balanced and healthy deer herd, food plots can (and should) be used as a tool when planning out your hunting strategies.  Invest your time and energy in the offseason and you will capitalize on your sweat equity if you utilize these food plot setups.  Procrastination only leads to excuses and frustration during the season.  Well procrastination ends now.  Take that next step.  Creating environments that make mature bucks more predictable, placing yourself in those areas during the right time of the year, and investing in quality equipment will ultimately produce consistent opportunities at trophy bucks year over year.

 

Summer Checklist | Are You Ready For Deer Season?

Summer Deer Hunting Checklist

If you live and breathe the pursuit of hunting whitetails the summer is obviously not a time to relax! For those of us ate up enough with hunting, the understanding is that deer season is a 365 day a year event. Sure our fortunes as deer hunters are made mostly during November, but we spend the other days, weeks, and months daydreaming about and preparing for deer season. In fact so much thought and prepping is put into deer season that it would be astonishing to see the thoughts and the to-do list drawn out on paper. The thoughts, ideas, chores, and what-ifs in your head should now be organized and prioritized into a deer hunting checklist!

Take notes and check off these to-do’s as you complete them. Whether you are just a couple months from deer season or just week if not days away from it, now is the time to ensure you are ready! Some may be a higher priority than others for you depending on your situation and property, but overall this summer deer hunting checklist should help organize what you need to be done!

After looking through the checklist keep reading for more detailed explanations of why these items made the list!

Offseason Deer Hunting Checklist

  • Plant/Manage Food Plots
  • Buy License/Read regulations
  • Utilize Minerals, Supplements, and Bait (or remove bait before season)
  • Check and Run Trail Cameras (full batteries, empty formatted SD cards)
  • Gather an Inventory (trail camera survey)
  • Scout for the Early Season
  • Tree Stand, Tripod Stand, and Box Blind Safety Check
  • Safety Harness and Safe-Line check
  • Sight in/Practice Bow and Firearm
  • Create Detailed and Organized Maps
  • Think Through Your Hunting Pack

Food Plots

Summer is food plot season.  Planting food for your deer not only provides extra protein for growth but forage to sustain your herd in the cold weather of the late fall and winter.  Planting food plots takes several easy steps although it can be time-consuming.

First, test the soil to find the pH or acidity level of the ground you wish to cultivate for your food plot.  Finding the acidity will help you decide the next steps such as liming and seed choice.  Lime is a base which helps bring balance to unbalanced soils.  If your chosen area has had the nutrients washed away on a steep grade or is higher in elevation, then you will want to find the right amount of lime per acre needed to balance the pH to help optimize seed growth. Second, choosing the right seed for the pH is critical.  Typically seed manufacturers will have the information on each seed and what pH the plant will grow in best. Taking into consideration what your goals are for a given location you will want to plant accordingly.  Having a mix of high protein plants with high carbs and sugar –rich plants can help you create a year-round optimized buffet for your whitetails.

In some cases, access to farm equipment is not possible.  Through the power of science, seed manufacturers have been able to develop seed blends perfect for simply throwing on the untilled surface of the earth.  Typically, these are perfect for food plots in the woods where small clearings make for perfect ambush locations.  To create a food plot in the woods it is important to spray the weeds and rake away any debris like leaves, rocks, and sticks. Seeds must hit the open dirt.  Carry a sturdy metal garden rake and have durable work gloves to protect from blisters.  Cut the canopy of the trees back as much as possible to maximize sunlight.  Lack of sunlight is what kills most food plot efforts.

Create/Organize Your Maps

As we review the surroundings it is a bet practice to review first from the sky. Whether you use Google earth or a physical topographical map it is important to mark on map points of interest to scout.  The aerial review provides a fresh perspective and can open new opportunities for stand locations.  By paying close attention to the contours of the land you can find hidden travel corridors which guide deer travel such as saddles and benches, hidden field corners and bottlenecks.  Marking on map points of interest to scout helps organize your efforts and make the best use of your time.  Physical maps like those made from HunTerra Maps are a handy tool to be able to have at home or in the truck

Plan What to Do with Your Trail Cameras

In the interest of time management, it is important to make trail cameras a part of your summer scouting checklist. Ensure each camera is in peak functioning form by checking each before hanging.  Check the connections at the batteries for corrosion.  Moisture can corrode metal coils and render a camera useless. The last thing you want is to set a camera up in a prime location and not capture any photos due to faulty or damaged wires.  Always buy fresh batteries and use cleared and formatted SD cards to optimize performance when scouting for deer in the summer.  Double check the straps on used to hold your camera to a tree are not dry rotted and risk dropping your expensive camera.  When setting up a camera make sure it is facing North to ensure pictures will not be ruined by glare.  Sun glare ruins photos at peak deer activity in the early mornings.  Check to make sure all branches are out of the way of the camera that could trigger the motion sensor as a false alarm! Summer is a critical time for inventory, so make sure you are utilizing them as best as possible. Proven summer strategies for trail cameras include mineral sites, trail camera surveys, time-lapse over food sources, and transition areas between bedding areas and food.

Mineral, Supplements, and Bait

Protein and mineral supplements are a storied part of any spring and summer scouting season.  In the heat of the summer, it is the best way to capture the photos to take inventory of the deer you really want to chase.  Especially in areas where the soil is lacking nutrients, supplemental feeding and mineral sites in states where it is legal may be your best option to help push the growth of your herd during the growing months.  Protein supplements are valuable and research tells us that finding a mix with 16-18% protein is optimal.  Minerals are also important for bucks and does.  During gestation and lactation does have high requirements for calcium and magnesium to supplement their growing fawns. A buck will utilize calcium and phosphorus by storing it in his body to use throughout antler growth.  Growing bucks require tremendous amounts of minerals as they are growing their bodies and their headgear! Be sure to take out these bait sites well before deer season if required by law!

Build Cover

As important as food is to the whitetail so too is cover.  Mature whitetails, both bucks and does, require safety.  Remember, deer are food and they know it all too well. Creating a safe place near food is a recipe for success. The best way to create your own safe place for deer is through the use of a chainsaw and hinge cutting trees. While cutting mature hardwoods is best under the eye of a trained forestry professional, there is plenty one can accomplish with a chainsaw properly cutting small to medium sized trees and scrub brush of little timber value to create a thick jungle of safety for deer. Cut properly, hinge cut trees will still produce browse for deer further increasing the value for deer. When cutting trees and brush it is important to use the following accessories.  First, always wear eye protection.  Wood chips and dirt flying everywhere from being cut can pose a serious threat to your eyes and face. A full face guard is advised. Second, always have a tool kit with the right equipment to deal with chains that may jump the track. A spare sharpened chain is a valuable asset as well.

Stands

Getting your stands ready for the fall is a ritual of the season.  Checking stands for safety is of utmost importance.  Straps in particular that have exposed to weather for any amount of time in the fall and winter ought to be checked for weakness.  A dry rotted strap can easily break putting you into a rather dangerous situation.  Inspect the cables on all stands to look for any weaknesses and check the bolts for rust which can ultimately deteriorate the safety of a tree stand.

Glass

Resist the urge to sit in your stand to scout during the summer.  There is no sense if muddying up your area when you can scout fields from afar.  A lot of hunters have lost the art of simply glassing for bachelor groups. The reliance on trail cameras for the majority of their scouting has left this tactic underappreciated. Glassing summer food sources and travel routes from several hundred yards away can be critical when developing an early season hunting strategy. While basic 10×42 binoculars are plenty efficient, having a spotting scope with real magnification power like 20-60x60mm puts you far enough away from the summer action to not risk spooking deer.

REMEMBER: As always in the hot summer months and even towards the beginning of deer season it is important to always check for ticks!  Illnesses from ticks are an epidemic and hunters are perhaps at the most risk.  Always remember to spray down with deet or pre-wash your clothing in permethrin.  Keep all clothing sealed off to prevent ticks from crawling onto you.  A full body check after you exit the field is necessary and make sure to hang your clothes out after a hunt to let all the ticks crawl off.

The dog days of summer are no time to relax for the committed deer hunter. This is when the homework happens to create success in the fall.  While it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done, setting a summer deer hunting checklist can help you organize your time efficiently and leave nothing to chance when the weather turns cold!

tree stands

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!

Best Trail Camera Strategies for Your Summer

Trail Camera Strategies to Start This Summer

If you’re anything like us, you eat, sleep, and dream about deer hunting throughout the year. If there is a winter storm coming through, we’re thinking about the rut. If we’re sweating through a summer heat wave, we’re thinking about how to get ready for opening day. If that describes your lifestyle too, you probably also enjoy watching deer throughout the year by using trail cams. There’s just something special about trail cameras and how you can stealthily keep track of the deer herd on your property without them having a clue. Sure, you could start glassing fields or summer food plots in the evenings, but that takes more time than most of us actually have. Plus, you might not have any fields near you; maybe you hunt deer in a big woods setting where you can’t easily watch wildlife. These are the situations where having a few hunting cameras hung in key spots on your property can make a big difference to your hunting strategies next fall. Here are a few trail camera strategies to get you started this summer.

Top Trail Camera Strategies for This Summer

It’s not quite as simple as just throwing out a few trail cams in the woods and seeing what walks by. Sure, you could try that approach and you might get to see some wildlife eventually. But to get the most pictures, to get high-quality pictures, and to get information that will actually help you next fall, you need to focus on putting your trail camera in a spot that focuses deer traffic. Here are the best trail camera strategies for the summer.

Food Plots/Agricultural Fields

Food plots are great spots for getting pictures of deer for a few reasons. One, does and bucks alike need lots of calories in the spring to bounce back from the stress of winter. Throughout the summer, they need the food tonnage to build up their body weight and grow antlers to prepare for fall. This means high quality, protein rich forage! If you live in a forested area with very little agricultural food available, a single food plot is even more attractive to deer and your results will be better. Since it’s so critical for their survival, it’s probably the best place to hang trail cams on these locations.

For larger agricultural fields (e.g., corn, soybeans, alfalfa, etc.), the best location for game cameras might seem like the middle of the field where you can see the most deer. But since deer are creatures of the edge and will usually have set travel patterns throughout the summer, the best spot is generally along the field edge near a dominant trail. For smaller food plots (e.g., clover, cereal grains, brassicas, etc.), you can place a trail cam on a post in the middle of the plot without any issues. But really it comes down to just finding a spot that concentrates the activity and facing the game camera in the right direction. One thing to keep in mind is that facing cameras any direction but north will inevitably produce some glare in pictures at some time of the day.

Bedding Areas

Another reliable spot to capture deer pictures on your trail cams this summer is around their bedding area. After feeding throughout the night in destination fields or browsing in cutover areas, deer will shift to daytime bedding areas to chew their cud and rest. Often does and fawns will rest near or even within feeding areas, while bachelor groups of bucks will bed further away. Taking a quick scouting stroll from feeding areas and along main trails can lead you to bedding areas. They’re often easy to spot because of the oval depressions in the grass or weeds. If you’ve ever tackled a few habitat projects on your property, hinge cuts are great bedding areas to check out.

If you’ve designated some bedding areas as deer sanctuaries that are strictly off-limits throughout the year, try installing trail cams along trails on the fringe of the sanctuary instead. Be cautious about checking them too much towards the end of the summer when you want to really hold deer in-place. The bugs will likely be bad enough to convince you to only go once or twice the whole summer anyway. More than likely, you’ll find some small bedding areas outside of these sanctuaries too that you can set and forget until the end of the summer.

Travel Corridors

Of course, any main trails and travel corridors between the two areas above are also great spots to intercept deer movement. With a little desktop scouting, you can easily map these areas and find good potential corridors, but you likely have a few tree stands already hung in these areas anyway. Clear out the herbaceous vegetation in a spot along one of these trails so that you can get a clear trail camera picture. These small openings can also make deer pause long enough for a good picture.

When it comes to positioning your trail cams along trails, the common instinct is to place them so that the camera is off to the side facing perpendicular to the trail. Unfortunately, unless deer are really slow-moving, your camera will likely trigger too late and you’ll only get pictures of their rear end – hardly useful from a hunting perspective. Instead, try positioning your camera facing up or down along the direction of deer travel. Granted, you’ll still get pictures of deer moving away from you half the time, but you’ll get pictures of deer facing the camera the other half of the time.

Mineral Sites/Mineral Stations

Throughout the spring and summer, whitetails love to get an extra dose of minerals from the soil and plants around mineral stations. Lactating does need extra minerals to support their fawns, while Bucks need minerals to build their bony antlers. If you keep the station going for a couple years, you can easily train deer to keep coming back to it as a seasonal mineral source since fawns will be raised to use it. Eventually, the stations often become huge craters where deer have eaten the soil away. Luckily, you can easily set up a mineral site by scraping the debris away and exposing the soil in a given spot. Then you can incorporate some crushed mineral into the top inch of soil or simply place a block or rock on top of it. You can even place it on a semi-rotting stump, which will slowly absorb the minerals as well. But that’s about all it takes to set a station up.

If you’re installing one of these sites expressly for pictures, it’s best to locate it in a shaded understory area. Pictures from trail cams along fields and exposed sites often suffer from lots of glare, which greatly reduces the quality of the photos. But pictures within shaded areas can turn out crisp and clear any time of the day since light doesn’t interfere.

Water Sources

The final place that works great for trail cams are water sources, especially when paired with mineral sites. After eating something salty, we all crave a drink of water – deer are no different. Deer crave sodium due to the high amount of water they get in their metabolism during spring and summer. However, as the summer progresses and other waterholes or creeks go dry, a small water hole next to a mineral site will pull deer in. If you have natural wetlands, ponds, or streams on your property, you can easily locate mineral sites near them for the easiest solution. If you don’t have any water sources, you can easily sink a bucket, small rubber tank, or kid’s pool into the dirt to let it fill with rainwater. You can keep it cleaner by simply refilling it once you check cams. During hot summers or in southern, more arid areas, water sources can be the absolute best place for a trail camera setup, since it is such a draw for them.

How to Hang Trail Cameras and When to Check Them

 Once you’ve identified the spots and trail camera strategies you want to install this summer, it’s time to actually get them out. As already mentioned, pay attention to the direction you face your cameras, as south facing cameras will get lots of unusable pictures with a heavy glare. The one time you can get away with south facing trail cams is if you are in a forested or heavily shaded area. One of the best trail camera tips you’ll hear is to check the batteries and then recheck them to make sure they are fresh. You should also generally clear out some of the tall weeds, grasses, and even some brush in the area so you can avoid lots of false triggers. It’s a really deflating experience when you check your camera to find 1,000 pictures and 900 of them are of swaying grass. You can change the sensitivity level on many cameras to reduce this problem, but it still doesn’t hurt to make a small opening in front of the lens. Bring a simple folding saw with you when you enter the woods so you can easily cut any obstacles down.

Depending on where you’re hanging trail cameras, you may want to leave a trail to get back to them. For new deer bedding areas in big woods spots, for example, consider putting out some trail markers or trail marking tacks to help you find them again. This isn’t a good idea on public land, obviously, as would-be thieves could follow your tacks/markers right to the camera. But it’s a nice option for private land.

As far as when or how often to check your trail cams, it’s a tough call. The less you check them, the less invasive it is and more discrete your spying will be. After all, if you set it and forget about it for a few months, you can basically guarantee that you won’t interfere with the natural deer movement on your property. On the other hand, if your camera malfunctions after only a week of being outdoors, you could miss out on an entire summer’s worth of intelligence, which is just a terrible feeling (we’ve probably all had it happen at some point). Besides, we all feel the temptation to check them weekly. It’s kind of like Christmas morning when you get your chip and start to glance through them on the computer. If you have fresh batteries and haven’t had any issues with your camera before, let it sit in the woods for a month or two at a time, if you can bear it. If you’re not sure about your gear or if the opportunity is too great, then you’ve got two options. You can either charge right in making lots of noise (e.g., starting a chainsaw once in a while, driving an ATV, etc.), which will push deer away well before you spook them at close range. Or you can stealthily sneak in with scent-eliminating clothing and rubber boots to be incognito. It’s up to you and how your property is managed.

Good luck with your cameras this summer. With any luck, you’ll get some great pictures of deer to help guide your bow hunting on opening day this fall!

Box Blind

Post Season Considerations | Box Blind Placement and Strategies

Box Blind Placement & Strategies

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

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

box-blinds-placement-strategies-pic1

Why Choose a Box Blind?

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

It is All About the Two C’s

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

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

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

A Worthy Investment

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

Box Blinds, Food Sources, and Placement Strategies

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

box-blind-placement-strategies-tactics_pic2 (1)

Box Blinds & Food Sources

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

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

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

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

box-blind-placement-strategies-tactics_pic3

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

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

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

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

Box Blind Placement Tips

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

Look for the High Spot

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

Path Most Traveled

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

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

Entry and Exit

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

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

box-blind-placement-strategies-tacitcs_pic4

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

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

New 2017 Muddy Box Blind

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

hunting the rut lockdown phase | Muddy Outdoors

Hunting The Rut Lockdown Phase

Tips for Hunting the Rut Lockdown Phase

To suggest that there are phases of rut is ridiculous. The pre-rut, rut, rut lockdown, post rut, and second rut. To think you can delineate each one of the phases of the rut apart from each other into a particular set of days or weeks is hopeful at best. In theory, it is a great way for so-called experts of the industry to describe deer activity to your everyday hunter. The biggest problem in this delineation is that it does not describe deer activity 100% like it seems it should do. Rather a complex algorithm is at play, fluctuating deer activity a different way for every property. Sex ratios, weather, hunting pressure, property layout, acorn production, and crop status all have drastic effects on deer activity during all “phases” of the rut. While each phase paints a clear picture, it is never 100% accurate due to these reasons. However, If one phase above all was particularly spot on it would be during this week. This week the Midwest, in general, is experiencing peak breeding. Hunting the rut just got tough due to the rut lockdown!

November So Far…And In The Future?

Up to this point, November hunting has been what is expected during November. Chasing, seeking, cruising, and a steady stream of bucks and does coming by the stand. The onset of warm temperatures during much of the first half of November slowed things down, but just recently the floodgates opened. Cooler temps and the first frosts have hit, bucks were on their feet, the rut is in full swing.

Trophy Pursuit S5 E31, “The Chase is On” | Rut Hunting

As you can see in this week’s episode of Trophy Pursuit, the chasing, cruising, and daylight movement by mature bucks was easy to take advantage of. This opportunity was easily exploited by hunting with strategies and tactics unique to rut hunting. These rut hunting strategies and tactics were clearly outlined in our last blog Rut Hunting 101.

To summarize some of the best takeaways from the blog we have provided some of its information.

When To Hunt

The Morning:

  • Bucks will seek out does around bedding areas
  • Focus on where does will be bedding after they return from feeding
  • Pick a stand location on the downwind side of the bedding area
  • Access the stand from the opposite side of the food source

The Evening:

  • Does are still feeding in open area, for the most part, bringing the bucks with them
  • Both the morning and the evening is based on does and where they are feeding or where they go after they feed.
  • Hunt a funnel or an edge of a feeding source
  • Do not walk on, or across the main run or section deer will access the area with, keep your scent away from the trail

Trail Camera Tips for the Rut

Remember these settings and tips when you are setting up trail cameras for the rut!

  • Location: where the does will be (food sources, doe bedding areas, transition areas between food and bedding)
  • Setup: At a 45-degree angle from the run, trail, or funnel. High to avoid spooking bucks.
  • Settings: long video ( 1 minute +) or series of multiple photo bursts (6-8 ) with a short delay ( < 10 seconds)

From: Trail Camera Tips For The Rut

So why is this important? If you have ever looked at a bell curve you would understand. The action was hot during the first part of November, but as we approach the middle of November we approach the lockdown. After the lockdown phase of the rut passes, we start descending on the bell curve meaning the action heats up again. Bucks start looking for does again, start desperately seeking, and again opportunities are present for the taking.

What Is the Lockdown?

The lockdown phase of the rut occurs when the majority of does come into estrus. Why? The gestation period of a whitetail is right around 198 days, meaning timing the conception perfectly, times the fawn’s birth perfectly. This aligns fawn drop right when spring arrives where an explosion of growth means quality food, quality cover, and nutritious milk. The arrival of peak breeding is determined and brought on by photoperiod. This is why the rut, or peak breeding happens on the same dates each year regardless of weather and moon phase.

This can be a dramatic event for hunters. When the majority of does suddenly come in bucks go on lockdown! Bucks will lay up with does for usually 24-48 hours. To some, this is not enough time for a hunter to realize the buck is laid up, but then again it is. Put yourself in the scenario. It’s November 15th, high pressure, hard frost, a slight 3 mph wind….a day that should result in a lot of deer movement. Instead, the day results in a yearling and button buck…not at all what you expected. Why? So many does are available, that literally every 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 years old + is lockdown with a doe that day and perhaps the next.

Hunting The Rut Lockdown Phase

It’s a blessing and a curse. The lockdown phase comes in dramatically but exits the same. Hunting the rut lockdown isn’t necessarily hard. You have to concentrate in the right areas for hunting and simply wait it out. On any day, and at any time during the lockdown phase, a buck can come off of a doe. Here are two videos that help supply information on hunting the rut lockdown.

Whitetail 101 S1 E13, “Hot Doe or Bust” | Rut Lockdown

The overall advice in this week’s Whitetail 101 is to stay away from the feeding areas and start working your hunts towards doe bedding areas. Does that are out feeding have most likely already been breed and are simply staying away from bedding areas as they are avoiding being pushed around by bucks. Touching on this further with the concept of the “hot doe or bust” is this week’s trail cameras weekly episode.

Hunting The Rut Lockdown | Trail Cameras “Weekly Week 7”

Again, this episode not only touches the concept that hunting the rut lockdown means that on any day and at any time a buck can come off a doe. This means all day sits could prove successful. This also means bucks will desperately seek does once they come off a doe, and after peak breeding slows. Also know that during this time a doe can pull a buck anywhere at any time, meaning your rut hunting strategies and tactics like hunting funnels and bedding areas are still creating opportunities. This episode proves the concept as Jeremy Flinn encounters a hot doe with a buck locked in.

Conclusion

Hunting the rut lockdown will only last a short period. It is important to not only keep hunting during this time, but to hunt the right areas. Hunting does, as far as funnels and doe bedding areas go is a more successful tactic for hunting bucks during any other time during the rut.

For more deer hunting videos and weekly hunting, web shows like this visit Muddy TV. Also be sure to check in every week for new hunting tips, tactics, and strategies at Muddy’s Blog.

rut hunting strategies tips tactics | Muddy Outdoors

Rut Hunting 101 | Strategies, Tips, Tactics, and Videos

Rut Hunting Strategy, Tactic, Tips, and Videos

The weeks of November…the weeks you have been waiting on for months, are finally here! The next 3 weeks will be the best action in the whitetail woods. You hit-list buck’s guard is down, his hormones have him up on his feet, and he now stands a very good chance of making a mistake within range of your tree stand. Yes the rut is upon us and your chances look good, but it doesn’t automatically mean success. These rut hunting strategies, tips, tactics, and videos will dive into exactly what you should focus on during this time.

Pre-Rut to Rut Transition

The transition from the October lull, to the pre-rut, and now soon to be the rut is fast paced. The rapid changes are hard for hunters to stay on top of and adjust. What was once slow, variable movement, depending mostly on weather fronts has now given way into what can be perceived as even more variable action. The last week of October was expected to bring out more opportunities but instead, your high anticipation might have been met with little to no movement. As the pre-rut approaches the transition to the rut, it is important for you to understand what exactly is going on.

Hunting The Pre-Rut
(video) November is finally upon us. In this episode, the Trophy Pursuit team is hunting the pre-rut, and the action is definitely heating up!

 

This week on Muddy TV, Trophy Pursuit encountered classic pre-rut deer activity. Both Tayler Riggen and Alexandria Dunkin had bucks showing common behavior. The bucks in this episode relied heavily on scrape use, but also showed they were scent checking and actively searching for does, but seemed to have a reserve to them. During that time bucks scent checked areas and scrapes for signs of the first does to come in. Why they were not actively dogging does and running through the timber, they did show signs that the phase was actively approaching. During the pre-rut phase, hunters relied heavily on their trail cameras to reveal which bucks arrived with an increased home range, which bucks left, and which bucks were susceptible for an encounter with daylight activity. Our mock scrapes were hot, and deer sign like rubs and small scrapes seemed to be visible everywhere in the woods.

With the last week of October now behind us, and the first week of November at our doorstep, we can’t help but wonder what strategy should we change, and where we should be our November hunts on.

Rut hunting Strategies

Before diving into strategies, hunting tips, and tactics, it might be important to discern what we are actually talking about with the term “rut”. The “rut” or actual breeding peak is not what hunters associate with the term. Instead to hunters the term “rut” means endless buck activity, chasing, dogging, fighting, and everything we associate with being the best days in the woods. For the cases of this article “the rut” will encompass the intense action, what hunters might call the “lockdown”, and even the action of the “post-rut”. Why? To think there are actually “stages” to base your hunting off of during November is favorable thinking at best. It’s a hope that you can actually be spot on in predicting what you will see, when in fact, breeding, activity, and behavior will be regional, and very often property specific. With this said, the first 3 weeks of November are the best times to be on the stand, regardless of which “stage” or time period we are determined to be in.
For hunting the “rut” or better said, first three weeks of November, you need a strategy that puts you where the action is! Many hunters hold the belief that just about anywhere, or their tree stand location they call “old reliable” will get the job done. While this might just work with the amount of action and activity we are approaching, a better strategy would be to base your tree stand sites around what actually draws in bucks…does!

Early Rut Hunting Strategies
(Video) Bill Winke covers early rut hunting strategies and exactly where to concentrate hunting efforts on during the morning and the afternoons of early November.

 

Where should you hunt during the rut? Bill Winke breaks it down into morning and afternoon.

The Morning:

  • Bucks will seek out does around bedding areas
  • Focus on where does will be bedding after they return from feeding
  • Pick a stand location on the downwind side of the bedding area
  • Access the stand from the opposite side of the food source

The Evening:

  • Does are still feeding in open area, for the most part, bringing the bucks with them
  • Both the morning and the evening is based on does and where they are feeding or where they go after they feed.
  • Hunt a funnel or an edge of a feeding source
  • Do not walk on, or across the main run or section deer will access the area with, keep your scent away from the trail

Trail Camera Tips for the Rut

During November the best trail camera tip can be to not completely rely on your trail camera information. Activity is at an all time high, bucks can suddenly appear or disappear on a property without warning, or being caught on your trail cameras. Even if you have a camera per 10 acres, your chances are still slim to catching ALL deer movement. This means that your trail cameras are not always correct or reliable for making decisions on. The fact is that you should hunt in the locations above, regardless of what your cameras tell you!

However, you should still optimize every trail camera location and site to capture as much activity as they can. The information will guide hunting this year but more importantly will reveal how the intense deer movement worked across your property for next year’s hunting. The cameras might also catch information pertaining to which bucks leave the property, stick around, or are extremely daylight active, giving you insights on who to target next year.

Trail Camera Tips For November and the Rut
(Video)- This week go with solid tactics and trail camera tips, which are placing trail cameras on food sources, by bedding areas being reasonable with human pressure, and of course on funnels!

 

Remember these settings and tips when you are setting up trail cameras for the rut!

rut hunting strategies tips tactics | Muddy Outdoors

  • Location: where the does will be (food sources, doe bedding areas, transition areas between food and bedding)
  • Setup: At a 45-degree angle from the run, trail, or funnel. High to avoid spooking bucks.
  • Settings: long video ( 1 minute +) or series of multiple photo bursts (6-8 ) with a short delay ( < 10 seconds)

Trail cameras with settings such as 4 + photo bursts or longer than a 1-minute video are not common. The Muddy trail cameras feature these settings and more, and it might be well worth having the extra capabilities during the peak of deer activity!

Insert Pro Cam 12 PNG on left with info on the right – https://www.gomuddy.com/muddy-outdoors-trail-cameras/

rut hunting strategies tips tactics | Muddy OutdoorsPRODUCT DESCRIPTION

  • 12 Megapixel
  • 2 – 8 Photo Bursts
  • 1280 x 720 HD With Sound or VGA (32 FPS) with Sound Video
  • 2-minute video capability
  • 6 Second Trigger Speed
  • Invisible Flash with 36 HE LEDs
  • Simple to Program
  • Backlit LCD Screen to easily navigate through settings any time of day

Make the most out of November and the rut with these rut hunting strategies, tips, and tactics. If you liked the information and series of deer hunting videos and web shows used in this blog, visit Muddy TV  each week. Shows like Trail Cameras Weekly, Whitetail 101, Trophy Pursuit, and Hallowed Ground relay the latest information from their hunts, trail cameras, and observations to support their content and predictions so you are up to date.

This week take the advice and do yourself a favor. Setup trail cameras, tree stands, and hunting sites based on where the does will be. Just as the videos have shown you, get out and hunt, these upcoming weeks will be filled with some of the best action you will see!

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.

tree stand safety gear | Muddy Outdoors

Tree Stand Safety | The Most Important Piece Of Hunting Equipment

Tree Stand Safety Is The Most Important Hunting Consideration

The anticipation and excitement that was long awaited with the coming of deer season is now here! Bow hunters antsy from weeks worth of trail camera intel are finally ready to take a swing at their hit list bucks. In doing this, the excitement and anticipation can turn deadly as hunters take their first steps up a tree. The single most important piece of hunting equipment they forget or use improperly is tree stand safety equipment.

This is one more reminder to all hunters, wear your tree stand safety gear and get home safe!

Muddy Safe-Line Review | Muddy Safety Harnesses and Systems
Whitetail explains why he employs a Muddy Safe-Line in every single tree. “they have been a staple for us for several years now, safety is something you never want to take a chance with”. Aaron explains that the Muddy Safeline is probably the best all around hunting product the Midwest Whitetail crew uses as it keeps them safe for every hunt.

 

Tree Stand Safety Gear

In our tree stand safety guide, we go over the fine details of what your tree stand safety gear should be comprised of during the season. Click below to read the guide and make sure you are employing every critical piece of safety equipment you can!

 

Just to reiterate the facts presented in the tree stand safety guide, we have provided a tree stand safety gear list below.Having these items will ensure you make it home to your family after every single hunt.

Tree Stand Safety Harness

The first piece of tree stand safety gear you should concern yourself with is the main component the safety harness itself. Muddy has many hunting safety harnesses to choose from. The above safety harness is the Magnum.

tree stand safety gear | Muddy OutdoorsPRODUCT DESCRIPTION

  • Rugged Tether Reduces Chances of Fall/Injury
  • Padded Shoulders and Waist for Extra Comfort and Endurance During Long Sits
  • Easy Cinch Adjustable Torso Straps
  • Noiseless & Adjustable Leg Buckles; No Metal on Metal Contact

PRODUCT SPECS

  • CONSTRUCTION:Light Weight Padded Nylon;
  • BUCKLES: Cam Leg buckles;
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HUNT: Magnum Harness, Lineman’s Belt, Tree Strap, Suspension Relief Strap
  • SIZE:One Size Fits Most;
  • WEIGHT: 1.5 Lbs.;
  • WEIGHT RATING:300 Lbs.

Safe-Line

A Safe-Line featured in the video above is a piece of equipment that ties you to the tree. It truly is the most important piece of your hunting equipment as it keeps you safe from the ground in the tree at all times.

tree stand safety gear | Muddy OutdoorsPRODUCT DESCRIPTION

  • A Unique System that Allows the User to Stay Attached to the Tree at all Times!
  • Two Prusik Knots; Slides Easily Up and Down the Rope During Ascent and Decent and Stops You IMMEDIATELY Should a Fall Occur
  • Prusik Knots made of Reflective Material that Enhance Daytime and Low-Light Visibility

PRODUCT SPECS

  • CONSTRUCTION: Braided Nylon; USE: Stay Safe from the Moment You Leave the Ground to the Time You Return!; Length: 30’;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.

Lineman’s Rope

Before you can hang and tie off a safe-line you need one other piece of equipment to ensure you are safe as you either use climbing tree stands or hang climbing sticks. A linesman’s rope will keep you tethered to the tree during these activities.

tree stand safety gear | Muddy OutdoorsPRODUCT DESCRIPTION

  • Easy to Use, Quick-Clip Design
  • Includes Prusik Knot + One-Handed Lockable Carabiner Combo

PRODUCT SPECS

  • CONSTRUCTION: Braided Nylon; USE: Safe Tree Climbing While Installing Treestand, Safe-Line, or any Other Elevated Hunting Equipment;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 Lbs.
tree stands for public land | Muddy Outdoors

The Perfect Tree Stands For Public Land Hunting

2 Perfect Tree Stands for Public Land

With deer season approaching you may be feeling the pressure to start figuring out your hunting properties. While some deer hunters might stick to the old routine properties and the same “killing tree” their father’s father used to hunt, you might be considering something differently entirely. This is the year you swore to tackle public land, and you might seriously be questioning whether or not that is a good move. Listen, we get it…that large chunk of forestry or that hefty section of public land calls to hunters all too often, but it takes a special hunter to hear that call and actually pursue it. Why? Besides hunting pressure, public land deer hunting is just a plain, flat-out struggle mainly due to hauling in gear great distances. The number one piece of gear that causes the most grief is the tree stand. Luckily, we have the perfect tree stands for public land hunting.

Tree Stands For Public Land Hunting

The number one issue with tree stands for public land hunting is weight. To get to the deer, hunters must bushwhack into the interior or far reaches of the public land. Doing this with 30+ lbs. might as well be impossible or be called “training” and not hunting due to the energy and activity required. Trimming the weight down on tree stands, in order to make them perfect tree stands for public ground is difficult, but not impossible. Trimming weight is easy, but trimming weight while at the same time keeping the stand safe and comfortable is a challenge. With this in mind, muddy has created two perfect tree stands for public land.

Light Hang-on Tree Stand and Climbing Stick Combo

The first of the tree stands for public ground is what is shown in the video above, the Muddy Vantage Point Hang-on. The Muddy Vantage Point is only an astonishing 13 lbs. which should ring beautifully in the ears of any public land hunter. In addition to this hang-on stand, a hunter will need climbing sticks. The Muddy Pro climbing sticks offer very lightweight but sturdy climbing sticks that have a single characteristic that make them perfect for public land. Together the Muddy Vantage Point and Pro climbing sticks are “packable”. They are designed to fit onto one another like a glove, making a quiet and comfortable design that can be slung on your back and tracked in miles without issue.

hang-on tree stands for public land | Muddy Outdoorshang-on sticks tree stands for public land | Muddy Outdoors

PRODUCT SPECS

  • CONSTRUCTION: Aluminum;
  • FOOT PLATFORM: 20″ Wide x 32″ Deep;
  • FOOTREST: Flips Back;
  • SEAT SIZE:15″ Wide x 11″ Deep;
  • SEAT STYLE: 3″ Triplex Foam, Waterproof, Flips Back, Removable;
  • SEAT HEIGHT: 24″;
  • ADJUSTABLE ANGLE: Foot & Seat Platform;
  • PACKABLE: 2 Backpack Straps Included; Designed to Pack with Several Compatible Muddy Climbing Systems (sold separately);
  • FASTENERS: 1 – 1″ Silent Cam-Buckle, 1 – 1″ Looped Ratchet Strap;
  • ACCESSORY BAG: Included;
  • STAND WEIGHT: 13 Lbs;
  • TREE SIZE: Minimum 9″ Diameter;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 350 Lbs;
  • HARNESS: Full Body Fall Arrest Harness Included

Climbing Tree Stands For Public Land

Climbing tree stands have always been a favorite among public land deer hunters. The simple combination of 2 pieces of equipment allows the hunter to quickly scale a tree without the hassle of spending a lot of time hanging stands, or climbing sticks. The issue most hunters have with climbing stands is again weight but also a struggle to climb up the tree as a result of poor design. Some climbers simply do not have the right design as far as teeth and foot straps to actually create a good climbing stand. Again Muddy, with the hunter in mind, designed and created a climbing tree stand for public land hunting.

The Stalker Climbing Tree Stand from Muddy weighs only 15lbs. as it is built from Aluminum. This feature, with the hybrid climbing chains and with well-designed tree teeth will grip the tree for a solid climb up.

climbing tree stands for public land | Muddy OutdoorsPRODUCT SPECS

  • CONSTRUCTION: Aluminum;
  • FOOT PLATFORM: 20″ W x 28″ D;
  • SEAT SIZE: 21″ Wide with Adjustable Depth;
  • SEAT STYLE: Nylon Net;
  • SEAT HEIGHT: Adjustable;
  • CLIMBING SYSTEM: 2X Hybrid Climbing Chains;
  • PACKABLE: Folds flat, 2 Backpack Straps Included;
  • FASTENERS: 2X Hybrid Climbing Chains w/ Spring Bolt Knob, 1-1″ Cam-Buckle Straps;
  • PADDING: Armrests & Seat Bar Padded for Extra Comfort;
  • STAND WEIGHT: 15 LBS; TREE SIZE: Minimum 9″ Diameter;
  • WEIGHT RATING: 300 LBS;
  • HARNESS: Full Body Fall Arrest Harness Included

If you plan on tackling public land this year then you need to the tools for the job. Whether you prefer a hang-on tree stand, or a climbing tree stand, muddy has the perfect tree stands for public land deer hunting