Selecting A Stand Site by Shawn Reed
You can’t go wrong with food. If there is deer forage in the area you need to hunt around that site during the early part of the year. There are many different kinds of food you can hunt over like acorns, apples, pears, persimmons, cash crops, and plants that you plant. Hunting over white-oak acorns can be the greatest food to set over. The deer flock to it and it is a great source of protein but it doesn’t have as much protein as most cash crops like soybeans, corn, and watermelon. But back to acorns. It is not a good idea to set right in the tree (depending on the situation) If your in the tree they will be walking around right by the smelly ladder that you scented up while climbing your tree.
I suggest setting up 15-25 yards away from it to get the best shot at the deer. Try not to clear real big shooting lanes, the deer will take notice. If the acorn tree is the only tree within 50 yards you will have to set up in that tree unless you hunt a tree that is right by a deer trail leading to the acorn tree. You can hunt the apples, pears, and persimmon trees the same way. If you intend to hunt a cash crop there is a few ways you can go about it. You can hunt right on the field and hope to catch a buck chasing a doe by or you can hunt about 30-40 yards off the field and catch the alpha doe and/or buck walking around the edge scenting the field for danger. While he or she is busy scenting and looking for danger in the field you are there in a tree at full draw waiting for it to step in the shooting lane. But during the rut it is better if you hunt on the edge of the field. The bucks will be where the does are and that is in the field. They will be walking the edge of the field checking for hot does and if you set up on the downwind side it will probaly pass right by you and you will get a shot at a mature buck. You can hunt the the food plots you planted the exact same way as if it was a cash crop.
Trails & Bedding Areas
Trails are great right before the peek of the rut when the bucks are out looking for does. The bucks will be walking a zigzag motion across the trails trying to catch a hot doe. If you set up right up on a trail chances are great that all the deer walking by will smell you. But if everything is right you can get a shot at a mature doe and possibly a mature buck looking for a hot doe. When hunting trails you must know which trails to hunt. If the trail is a foot wide and a foot deep.The chances are that you won’t get a shot at a mature buck unless there is a hot doe near by. Think like a big buck that has deceived you over the years. Think back where you have bumped him out of his bedding area. Think back, you haven’t seen him in a middle of a wheat field in the middle of the hot afternoon. Have you? The mature deer know that the safest places are the places that there are no people hunting him. He knows that he stands his best chance in a thicket about 450 yards away from the wheat field. Then come nightfall he gets up and then goes out in the middle of the field. Sure during the rut the bucks are moving all day but during the pre-rut they just bed up and wait for sunset. Pay attention to which way the tracks are heading to determine if they’re going to bedding areas or feeding areas. Trails that lead to feeding areas are the most productive during the afternoon. You must get as close as possible to the bedding area for morning hunts. But don’t get too close because you don’t want to bump them out of the area.
A trasition zone is the area between the feeding area and the bedding area. You should hunt transition zones because that’s where the big bucks spend their time before they go out for a night of feeding on a field of food. Most people think you should hunt off the feeding area as far as you can but sometimes you’ll spook them off the bed. Some other people believe you should hunt right on the field but it’ll be too late when the bucks show up. They believe that you will see more deer by hunting right on the edge of the field. That’s true but you won’t see nearly as many big bucks. Hunting on the edge is a great way to kill your limit of does but when your hunting for monster deer, the transition zone is perfect.
Creek and Fence Crossings
If you had to cross a 20 foot wide creek that is 6 foot deep would you want to go across it or would you rather find a way around it or a low spot in the creek? The same is for deer. They want the easiest way across. Hunting places where the ground is wore down to dirt and is about 3 feet wide can be a great place to hunt, if you hunt it right. Since the water in the creek is going to take your scent down stream somewhere, walk in through the creekwhere you can. This is a great spot because the deer have to narrow the pattern down to a single spot, like a funnel. This is a great place to catch mature bucks in the evenings going to the feeding areas. The same is true with fence crossings. If there is a 50 acre field and a 5 acre woodlot in the corner of the field that two fences come together at, the bucks and does will be more willing to cross here than in the middle of the field.