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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

Every hunter seems to have their own set of rules they live by. These deer hunting tactics come from a local hunter in Southeastern Oklahoma where the free-range hunting is tough and countless lessons have been learned. The area is quite mountainous and the style of hunting is not the kind you see on outdoors television. There are no corn fields or soy beans like Illinois or Kansas. This is close up and personal back country bow hunting, where most shots are about 25 yards. The deer are primarily nocturnal and big bucks have become exceedingly smart. The below deer hunting tactics (in no particular order) are the opinion of a seasoned hunter who has spent most of his life in the region – with experience comes wisdom. Try implementing these into your whitetail season. Many can certainly apply to your neck of the woods too!

Whitetail Hunting Bible: Deer Hunting Tactics

  1. Food Plots / Fields: Hunt these in the evenings only unless they are in a transition area.
  2. Thick woods / bedding areas: Hunt these areas in the morning only. Durning rifle season, hunt these areas all day as the deer like to stay hidden.
  3. Scent: To and from the stand is important. Clean your clothes and use scent blockers like Wildlife Research Scent Killer. Rubber boots are your best friend, like Muck Boots.
  4. Tracking: If you don’t see it or hear it crash, back out.
  5. Don’t over hunt stands. It is detrimental to the hunt. Spread your hunting out, for example hunting a square pattern. Rotate your stands upper left, lower right, upper right, lower left. Plan in the pre-season for this and set up your area to allow for this sort of rotation.
  6. Getting patterned: Walk more; ride less. Don’t enter your stand the same way every time and slow down your walk. Watch your step and use the moon when possible. If you need a flashlight, use a red light bulb.
  7. Cameras: Hide them well! Big bucks don’t like cameras. Make sure they are secured to to a tree wider than the camera.
  8. Morning vs Evening hunts: With the exception of early season, morning hunts are 70% more productive. Few hunt mornings until mid October.
  9. Noise: Stand equipment is the number one mistake. Metal on metal equals a disaster.
  10. Cold fronts: 1 cold front hunt is worth 5 other hunts!

Calling: Deer hunting tactics

  1. Snort Wheeze: Will scare the hell out of 99.9% of bucks. This call only works on the biggest and baddest of bucks. You can use this call when you see 2 bucks about to fight.
  2. Decoys: Only use this trick in huge wide open areas. Carrying and setup will spread your scent and make too much noise.
  3. Scent Lures: You are leaving your scent around more than you are tricking deer. Use a scent bomb and place it directly below your stand . Don’t walk around trying to hang scent wicks.
  4. Rattling: Watch your downwind. It needs to be open or blocked downwind. Big bucks will always come from down wind.
  5. Grunt Tubes: Don’t ever grunt at a deer coming in your direction. Also, one grunt is all it takes to get his attention.
  6. Doe Bleat: Have at it. It’s the one thing that doesn’t seem to matter as much.

Note: Studies have shown a full moon does not dictate deer activity as believed for generations, just as human urine does not affect deer travel.

More deer hunting myths explored, click here.

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