Folks, there are a lot of time wasters that you can focus on during your off-season preparation activities, but your time will be well spent if you follow these 5 whitetail game changers! If you haven't already considered these deer hunting strategy changes, you really should, because these game changers can significantly influence the success of a wide range of habitat and hunting activies that you may already have in place.
*Don't forget to check out my trilogy of Advanced Whitetail Strategy books, including my food plot strategy book,"Food Plot Success by Design".
1. Predatory Access
-Your ability to sneak around your parcel like a superior predator, undetected, is one of the greatest whitetail game changers of all time! It is critical that you avoid 1 thing when you access a stand locaton: Deer. That means designing quality access routes around food sources, particularily during the hours of darkness, as well as hunting travel routes that allow you to circumvent known deer hotspots, during their peak times of use. For example, a bedding area may be safe to travel through after the sun sets, but that same route should be strictly avoided during the hours of daylight. The opposite can be said about a food source. Many times walking directly through a food source during the daylight, as opposed to within the darkness, will allow you to slip right by deer that may be bedded within the woods, in particular if you have created an adjacent bedding area to offer pinpoint bedding opportunity.
Bottom Line:If your access for whatever reason, creates a high % opportunity for you to spook deer; you need to create an alternative route. If you don't, not only can your hunt can often be over before it starts, but the subsequent value of the hunting potential of your land will greatly decrease with each passing sit.
*Non-invasive access can not only make or break a sit, but the entire hunting season. Are your opportunities destroyed before you even climb into a tree? To make sure the value of your land remains high, check out the tactics found in the, "Morning Treestand Access Guide".
2. Create an EFFECTIVE Deer Sanctuary
-An effective deer sanctuary is one where you can access your land without the deer inside, knowing that you are on the land. I find that the term "deer sanctuary" is the most embelished deer strategy term out there, because the majority of deer sanctuaries lack each of these 3 critical ingredients: No hunter site, no hunter sound and no hunter scent. If you can create a daytime deer bedding environment where deer can be completely insulated from detecting those 3 things, you have will have created a very rare whitetail game changer.
Bottom Line:The majority of hunting lands do not include an effective deer sanctuary. This creates an incredible opportunity because as the hunting pressure picks up during the middle of the hunting season, it doesn't take long to realize that a large portion of your land is the safest spot in the neighborhood.
3. Highly Defined Deer Movement Patterns
-Whether you are hunting public or private lands, your ability for you to assemble the pieces of daily deer use through scouting or habitat activites before the season, will create huge rewards for your hunting efforts. The typicaly line of daytime movement includes a pattern of habitat components from buck bedding to doe bedding to travel corridor to staging area to food source, and back. Often on public land, it just takes a lot of boot time to discover a solid line of deer movement. However the beauty of private land is that if it isn't there, you can fix it! Making sure that each piece of the puzzle is solid and safe for deer travel, is a major portion of this game whitetail game changer.
Bottom Line:To successful define when, where and why to hunt, you must first scout, define or create the daily movement patterns of the local deer herd.
*Here are a few of the happy mature buck hunters who were rewarded greatly, by following the cold weather predictions from this site. Check out the story of Nick's 216" WI cold front giant, by reading, "The 2015 WI Bauman Buck".
4. Cold Fronts Are King
-If you have the flexibility to hunt during the best days, as opposed to a particular day or weekend on the calendar, then make sure not to miss the opportunity to hunt each and every cold front, during the entire season. Over 80% of my oldest and greatest bucks, have been shot following a major cold front. Cold, toe numbing morning sits during the rut can be outstanding, and have produced a high % of my best buck harvests. Also, I try not to miss cold, evening sits that relate to evening food source movements, all season long.
Bottom Line:Hunting the cold, backside of a major front can be the biggest whitetail game changer for your entire life of hunting, let alone for this season.
5. The Power Of Water.
-If you have dry bedding areas that feature dry travel on the way to an evening food source, then a waterhole can be an incredibly powerful whitetail game changer for you to consider. In fact a waterhole can be such a game changer, that I do not recommend that you create a waterhole without making sure that you can shoot to it with a bow. Often hunters place water within a wide open food source, when deer are already being attracted to the location in the first place. If you can't shoot to a waterhole with a bow, then deer can easily be drawn away from your stand, instead of to the stand. My favorite locations for a waterhole are hidden within a highly defined brushy travel corridor, located between a dry bedding area and a major food source.
In the video below, you'll see the advantages of placing water between dry bedding areas and food sources.
Bottom Line: Even if there is water in the opposite direction, make sure to include a waterhole on your land if the bedding area, travel corridor and food source is already dry. A waterhole should offer a quick, safe, hidden, 2-3 minute stop for deer within their daily movements, or potentially a cruising buck during the rut, while he travel downwind to scent check a major food source.
*Really, a waterhole doesn't have to be that difficult to establish! To quickly install your own, make sure to read, "5 Steps To An Easy Whitetail Waterhole".
Are You Prioritizing Whitetail Game Changers?
Perhaps you may be looking to add additional food sources to support a larger % of your cover or possibly to establish a highly strategic treestand rotation plan, but regardless of your focus, make sure it includes game changing activities that will make a difference.
Bottom Line:Often it isn't the hunter who works the hardest, but instead the hunter who works the smartest, towards attaining their goals.