Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Best Place to Hunt and Kill Big Whitetails

I have been hunting whitetail deer now for forty years. ninety percent of this time has been spent in my home state of South Carolina. Hunting deer in the deep south is very different and in many cases much harder than in other parts of the country. 

For one, we have very large blocks of timber with very little terrain features. This is very different form the mid-west where agriculture fields dominate and finding funnels and trails is easy since the deer are concentrated into small woodlots. In the deep south, we have areas with very large blocks of timber that can stretch for thousands of acres. Tot op this off, this area may have an elevation change of only a few feet. This poses a great problem of where and how to hunt bucks and kill them consistently. 

The answer is pretty simple to state and difficult to accomplish. Will Primos, of Primos hunting calls says it like this; "You cannot hunt a buck where he is, you have to hunt him where he is going to be." This may seem obvious and easy, but in reality it is difficult to accomplish. The reasoning is trying to discern where he will be in hundreds or thousands of acres of a mono-culture can be daunting. 

Contrary to other parts of the country, we can walk for miles and not find a single trail. The deer just wander around feeding, grazing and moving from one place to another. This is where efforts to concentrate them into certain areas can make it easier. Whether your state allows baiting, or salt licks, minerals, food plots it doesn't matter. Whatever is legal in your state that you can do to concentrate the bucks into an area is your best chance to kill him. 

If baiting is allowed, then by all means use what the law allows and strategically place bait in a good location. If it is not allowed, find the core area of the bucks, and get a hundred and fifty yards from there and construct a small 1/4 acre food plot. Scratch it out in the woods, make something that will attract the deer to your location. Hang your stand and only hunt on the correct wind. Remember you cannot hunt a buck where he is, you have to hunt him where he is going to be. In this scenario you are controlling to some degree where he will be. 

If you are baiting, don't place your bait in the middle of a clearing. Make it comfortable for the buck to visit the bait during daylight hours. Place the bait near or in the woods. Near some thick cover, or some place he can hide and feel safe. If bow hunting your stand should be no more than twenty yards from the bait and high in a tree. Again, only hunt with the correct wind. Personally, when baiting, I prefer to gun hunt these locations and place my stand a minimum of eighty yards from the bait. This allows me the opportunity to get into the stand without disturbing the area. 

Killing food plots are small plots located in isolated areas typically these will be hourglass shaped with a stand near the center. The entire plot will be within range of a bow hunter. These plots need to have proper vegetation for all seasons. Warm season then top seeded with winter foods. Or a good combination from the beginning. Standing corn, soybeans, cow peas, clover, winter wheat or rye are all good. So too are crops like turnips or rutabaga.

The focus is to remember, you cannot hunt a buck where he is, you have to hunt him where he is going to be. Get your location set up long before you plan to hunt him and be ready when he arrives. Anything you can do to control where he will be is to your advantage.