A Hunters’ Age-Old Quest Of Finding a Tactic That Allows Him to Consistently Kill Deer
I can envision our cave man ancestors sitting around a campfire plotting ways to outsmart mastodons. Killing such a creature would feed the tribe for many months. The fact that we are here today is testament to them developing successful enough hunting tactics that humans did not become extinct the way some of their prey did.
Along the way cave men, no doubt, changed hunting tactics as trial and error taught them how to become more efficient at hunting whatever game they sought. Did one of them kill a skunk and place it near his deer stand to act as a cover scent, hoping to overcome a bad wind? Somebody passed that trait on to me. That idea absorbed into my DNA and I wound up finding out the hard way not to ever attempt it again!
Contemporary deer hunters use tactics very different from our ancestors. We’re more into setting a “trap” that has deer coming to us rather than stalking or running down our prey the way the cave man did. “Traps” in the form of bait piles, food plots, waterholes, and other man-made attractants bring deer to us as we await their arrival. Having trail cameras monitor these traps tells us when to hunt them at that location. We’re not as patient as our ancestors. We want action and these tactics have produced, so far.
One of the more effective, and subtle tactics being used by a very successful contemporary hunter, Paul Ranft, is a man-made rubbing post. Paul uses a cedar fence post, placed in the ground at a strategic position, to monitor and/or hunt over. The post is dipped in a solution that attracts bucks to rub their antlers on it. It mimics the way a natural “community rub tree” attracts bucks to deposit their forehead scent gland odor to a single tree that many of the mature bucks in an area use.
This is only one example of many innovative tactics being employed by hunters that help evolve our hunting methods. So called “magic bullet tactics” come and go with only a few of them proving themselves over time.
Buck Bedding in Daylight
In my opinion, the best tactic for consistent success is to scout an area in late winter or early spring until you’ve found where a mature buck beds during daylight hours, then leave him alone. Not disturbing a buck’s daytime bedding area is critical to assuring he will return there, so scout in early spring and leave it alone until it’s time to hunt it during the deer season. A big buck spends 90% or more of daylight hours bedded down. A buck’s bedding areas are chosen because they offer security, and that is the single most important factor in a buck occupying them. Once that security has been breached a time or two, the buck will usually abandon it to find a more secure spot elsewhere. Knowing where deer spend their time during daylight is the most important information a hunter can have in formulating a successful plan to hunt it. The best plan involves intercepting the buck as it travels to and from it’s daytime bedding area. Be it on public or private land, locating a secure day bedding spot is golden and the most consistent deer producer of any tactic I know of. Like “playing the wind” it has withstood the test of time.