Are your waterholes installed and ready to go?
By September of 2014, I had 3 new waterholes installed on my new lease property. With a new lease there was a lot of work to accomplish, but I felt on this particular chunk of rolling hills, rock outcroppings and absolutely zero water; a waterhole was vital to my success.
Important first step:
I only install a waterhole where I can hang at least 1 bow stand, and I encourage you to do the same! By offering a water source away from your bow stands, you will potentially draw deer to an intersection of deer trails away from your bowstands. If you do this, you can actually do more harm than good, as it relates to your hunting efforts. Keep in mind that while rarely can a waterhole be used to attract more deer to your land, than can certainly define how the deer move on your land. So it pays to hang a bowstand nearby.
Any potential location for a waterhole of mine has to combine a fairly strict set of strategies for hunter access, deer usage and maintenance. The following whitetail waterhole stand location strategies are the steps that I have experienced to be critical to your waterhole success.
Does a new waterhole sound like a good fit on your land? Click here to read the "5 Steps To An Easy Waterhole"
Waterhole Location Strategies:
1. Between dry bedding and evening food sources, or posssibly between bedding areas for morning use during the rut
-"Dry" bedding meaning no available water source within the bedding area or on the way to an evening food source. If water is available within the evening food source, the value of your hunting stand waterhole location can be greatly deminished.
2. Far enough away from both bedding areas and food sources to offer you the ability to access a nearby stand without spooking deer while they are bedding or feeding.
3. Multiple tree options for stand locations, possibly including the potential of hunting during a variety of wind directions
4. Within a secure, thick and "safe" travel corridor that the deer feel extremely comfortable using
5. Within a daytime cruising rut corridor, for extended use during the rutting period, so that the deer pattern of use features an X while combining both bedding to feeding movement and rutting activity.
6. Quiet and scent-free access, including a minimal level of brush, logs, tops, grasses, weeds and debris to access through
7. Either installed below ground level as pictured, or into the side of a hill (also pictured) to be able to self-fill during heavy rains
8. A solid trail cam tree nearby (to minimize the use of stakes, fenceposts, etc)
My favorite whitetail waterhole stand locations have also been some of my best, all-time locations for daytime mature buck photos. What does that mean for your hunting pursuits? If your land offers the condition(s) of daytime dry bedding areas, a waterhole can turn-out to be one of the best stand locations on your property! Do you have multiple whitetail movements on your parcel that are separate from each other-it can be a great idea to install more than 1 waterhole!
Waterholes feature a "quick-stop" social hot-spot for thirsty afternoon deer on the way to their evening food source, or daytime cruising bucks. Deer will also use a waterhole during the morning hours, but keep in mind that after feeding on green forages all night, the majority of a whitetail's daily water requirements are met. However, after bedding dry all day-watch out! A whitetail waterhole stand locations may be the best spot to sit in the entire neighborhood, let alone your own land.
Here are some of my other great waterhole articles: