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Shed Hunting Dog Training | How to Train your Dog to Shed Hunt

How To: Shed Hunting Dog Training

 

If you’ve hunted for shed antlers in the past, you know how difficult it can be. Often times it requires the right conditions, a good number of friends or family members, and a considerable amount of leg work to find any at all. Luckily for us, man’s best friend is also a shed hunter’s best asset! All it takes is a little shed hunting dog training to equip almost any dog with the right mindset to hunt down more shed antlers than you could ever stumble upon on your own…

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Best Antler Dog?

One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to shed hunting with a dog is, “which breed makes the best antler dog?”  While there is no perfect answer, the question you should be asking is much broader… Being that the shed hunting season for most of us only lasts 2-3 months at a max, consider the following questions before making any decisions about what shed hunting dog breed is right for you.

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  • What do you want out of your dog during those 9-10 months you aren’t shed hunting?
  • Will they be a pet first and foremost? (Inside/Outside)
  • Will you use them as a retriever during the waterfowl or upland game bird seasons?
  • Will you use them to track and recover wounded deer or other big game?

In addition to all of these considerations, price, temperament, and space requirement should all be taken into account when narrowing down your antler dog breed options.

The simple fact is that if they have a good nose and a desire to please, they will make a great shed hunting dog. Fortunately for us, this describes most dogs! So, if you already have a dog you are considering training to find shed antlers and they possess these qualities, you’re in luck! If you are considering buying a new dog that is versatile and will make a great shed hunting partner, here are some great breeds to consider…

  • Labs
  • Pointers
  • Retrievers
  • Spaniels
  • Setters

How to Train a Dog to Find Sheds

Training a dog to find shed antlers is not hard! The secret is baby steps… Don’t just hide a shed antler in the woods one day expect your untrained dog to seek it out and deliver it you when you give a command. It takes time! Start with small successes in a controlled environment and gradually transition into bigger successes in environments where you have less control. Be patient and work at your shed dog’s pace. Before long they’ll know exactly what is expected and your shed hunting dog training exercises will have been a success!

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Retrieving Basics

Start your shed dog training indoors. The idea here is to eliminate distractions and get your dog to focus on the task at hand. As your dog progresses and becomes more focused with age and practice, you can start to work them into environments with more distractions. The field being the end goal…

The first thing to work on is retrieving. For shed hunting dog breeds, the instinct is already there, but it’s up to you to bring it out of them by making it fun for them! For those breeds that aren’t naturally as inclined to retrieve, it’s ok to entice them with a small piece of food. It’s important to make every training session a positive experience for your dog. This, over time, will help them realize that this whole shed hunting thing is actually pretty fun!

On this same note, we don’t want to have the dog retrieve anything that may be harmful to them or cause them to have a bad experience. This is a common mistake as most people just starting out with their shed dog hunting training will send their dog out after a real antler and risk the high probability of that dog having a bad experience with the sharp points on that antler. Remember, a dog is soft and sensitive and making them retrieve something hard and pointy comes with a risk. To avoid this risk altogether, start with a balled up sock or a tennis ball and introduce the antler shape over time.

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Introducing Shed Antler Shape

Once your dog has the retrieving part down pat, it’s time to introduce the shape and smell of an antler. Wait!! That doesn’t mean we just chuck an antler out there and send them after it. We still need to be careful to make sure every experience that dog has with an antler is a positive one. For that reason, this is where we introduce an antler dummy. The antler dummy will help the dog start to associate the shape of an antler with a reward. There are several products online for this purpose and are an essential tool for transitioning your dog into retrieving hard antlers.

Introducing Shed Antler Scent

Once your dog is retrieving the antler dummy for you, it’s time to introduce scent. Antler scent can be found online and is an essential tool to get your dog to associate not only the shape, but the smell of an antler, with a reward. When your dog is retrieving scented antler dummies on a consistent basis, it’s time to introduce the blind retrieve.

Blind Antler Retrieves

Now that your dog has a basic understanding of what an antler is based on the shape and smell, it’s time to make things interesting… This whole time, they’ve watched you either throw the object out in front of them or walk out and set it down where they can still see it. Starting back in a controlled environment like the house, have your dog sit… Either toss or walk out and set the antler dummy where it is just out of sight for them and give them the command. This is no different from the retrieving they’ve been doing except now they don’t know exactly where the antler dummy is. Over time, make the hiding places more difficult and move outdoors once they understand what is expected of them. Your dog is practically shed hunting at this point!! The key to improvement from this point forward is setting them up for success. Don’t give your dog a task they can’t possibly succeed at. The more success they have, the more fun it is for them and the more shed antlers you’ll find!

Once we’ve gotten to this point, it’s time to start using a real antler. Start to work the real antler into your training regimen until the dog understands that the antler and the antler dummy are one in the same. Eventually, we’ll work the shed dummy out of the equation completely and real shed antlers will be the only thing on his mind

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The Real Deal (Shed Hunting with your Dog in the Field)

There is little to no difference between the final stages of shed hunting dog training and actually shed hunting with a dog. The only difference is that there may or may not be an actual shed antler nearby for the dog to find. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start in high probability areas… These include winter food sources, S/SE facing slopes, and thermal cover where bucks are likely to shed their antlers. On the same note, there’s no use hunting when there’s nothing to hunt. While your dog is still building confidence in their shed hunting abilities, hold off from shed hunting until you’re certain there are sheds on the ground to be found. By shed hunting high probability areas when the time is right, your dog’s chances of success are much greater and they’re likely to stay interested in the hunt!

Something else to keep in mind is that your dog will use his nose #1 and his eyes #2 ALWAYS! Work the downwind side of whatever terrain feature your shed hunting and he’ll likely pick up the scent long before he ever finds the antler.

Shed Dog Training Takeaways

There was a lot of information covered in this piece but there are a few important things to keep in mind that will make or break your shed dog training success…

  • Set your dog up for success. They learn by succeeding, not by failing!
  • Don’t let your dog chew on antlers… Ever! Give the shed value by only using it during training and praising him excessively when he retrieves it for you.
  • You can’t teach a disobedient dog to shed hunt… Make basic obedience a priority over shed hunting dog
  • Be patient. This doesn’t happen overnight…

Good luck, and happy shed hunting!!

Photos from Jared Prusia and his Brittany, Buckley

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Why You Shouldn’t Use Shed Antler Traps

The Dangers and Better Alternatives to Shed Antler Traps

 

Each and every shed hunting season, many die-hard hunters dedicate a lot of their spare time (including week nights, weekends, and even lunch breaks) to traveling the woods and looking for shed antlers. You’re probably one of them! While shed hunting, walking mile after mile is extremely satisfying and acceptable to simply find just one shed antler. However, in the pursuit of making the process a little easier and more consistent, some folks like to employ shed antler traps on their hunting properties. It seems harmless enough, doesn’t it? It’s supposed to only knock something off that would fall off anyway, right? An antler rack trap can definitely pile up more antlers than just walking through the woods alone. But there’s a dark side to deer antler traps that most people do not realize. If you currently use shed antler traps or are thinking about using them this year, you need to read on below.

 

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Why Are Shed Antler Traps Used?

There’s a simple reason people like to use shed antler traps, especially around supplemental feeders: they work. In fact, that combination can be a dynamite shed antler producer. The feeder pulls them in to eat very regularly each evening. The more time they spend there, the more likely they are to drop an antler. But here is where most shed hunters get confused. The reason antlers might lay in abundance around an antler trap is not due to the antler trap design or construction…it’s simply because they were ready to drop and happened to be feeding on the bait when the antler was ready to fall.

 

While there are plenty of sturdy metal versions you can buy today, a common homemade antler trap involves setting fence posts or cattle panels closely around a feeder so deer have to stick their heads into the area to feed. They may bump them while eating, but they aren’t very likely to knock their antlers off, the reason why will be explained later. For now the take home point should be that antler traps obviously make it easier for a person to find shed antlers, as seeing that they usually involve a hundred pounds or so of deer feed and deer corn. With deer spending time feeding, the likelihood of finding a deer shed skyrockets…and since you have to refill the feeder every week or so anyway, you can simply pick up any antlers sitting around the vicinity! Since feeders are often located in areas where you could simply drive your Bad Boy Buggies® ATV or side by side up to, this is infinitely easier than walking miles of hills in the snowy terrain. It’s easy to see why people might be drawn to an antler trap feeder.

 

The Natural Deer Antler Shedding Process

Bedding and feeding areas are the two best places to find shed antlers because that’s where whitetails spend most of their days and nights, respectively. They also might lose them along travel corridors between these two areas. But due to probability alone, they are just most likely to be in one of those two areas when their bodies finally reach the hormonal threshold to shed their antlers. As they move around within their bedding area during the day, they may also bump their antlers against brush or the ground to jar them loose. Similarly, feeding deer are likely to bump their heads against the same things as they eat throughout the night. However, they generally will not hit them hard enough against these objects to break them loose before they are ready. What do we mean by “ready” and how do deer shed antlers anyway?

 

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The Science behind Antler Casting

 

Bucks have two pedicles on their skull – think of them like the bases or seeds that grow a new antler each year. When whitetails eat your nutritious food plots and consume those wonderful minerals you place at mineral sites, their antlers grow and harden throughout the summer. But as winter wears on, their changing hormones as a result of photoperiod cues start to trigger the buck’s pedicles to dissolve minerals along what’s called the abscission line. As their bodies re-absorb the minerals, this layer weakens and becomes a little crumbly – this forms the roughly spherical base you find at the ends of your shed antlers.

 

If a buck gets his antlers struck or lodged in something too hard before this abscission line has dissolved completely the minerals (as they can do on the market’s many metal-constructed shed antler traps), it can cause a portion of the pedicle (i.e., a part of the deer’s skull) to break loose with the antler! And yes, breaking off a piece of their skull is basically as bad as you think it sounds. This can create grossly deformed antlers for the rest of its life, and that is the best case scenario; the worst is that an infection takes over their brain and kills them slowly.

 

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So sure, you might find more sheds this winter by using shed antler traps, but you could also find a sad-looking buck carcass this summer in return. We’re guessing you don’t want that since you’re probably interested in seeing and hunting those hit-list bucks again next fall. In the end, the risks of using a shed antler trap are just not worth the potential rewards. Luckily, there are safer alternatives to help you find as many sheds as possible this winter without the risks. These also bring several other advantages beyond the trophy of the antler. Let’s look at a few options.

 

Better Alternatives to Shed Antler Traps

By choosing to shed hunt the old fashioned way and not using an antler trap you expose yourself to looking into different options and tactics. These tactics that go along with shed hunting season paint a more complete picture in regards to your hunting strategy.

Sheds, Deer Feed, and Trail Cameras

 

Using a supplemental feeder (without an antler trap) is a solid start to draw deer in and increase their chance of being there while they drop antlers. But there are some caveats. Feeding deer may be illegal where you hunt, so check your local wildlife regulations before you start. If deer in your area are unaccustomed to eating highly nutritious Big & J® attractants or even cracked deer corn, you’ll need to start them on it slowly. If you don’t, deer that are primarily adapted for surviving on winter woody browse could starve themselves by eating it. Their guts just won’t have all the microorganisms they need to properly extract all the nutrients they need, so it will essentially pass right through them without nourishing them. Start by introducing just 10 pounds a week or so and steadily increase the amount you give them each week. This should give them time to adapt to the new food source and survive.

 

Read more on feeding deer in the winter in the blog below

 

 

While you’re feeding them this way, the idea is to not only get them accustomed to the site but also to get them in front of a camera! By running a trail camera survey immediately after the hunting season you not only figure out which bucks are still around  but also when bucks are shedding not to mention a spreadsheet of information on your property’s  deer population! This can help inform future management decisions by letting you know the deer population number, age, and structure, but it will also let you watch as bucks feed to see whether they have dropped their antlers or not. Bushnell® wireless trail cameras will allow you to keep an eye on them without having to physically pull cards every week. Start with a week of pre-baiting and, in this case, getting them used to the feed. Then run the survey for two weeks by keeping the feeder stocked and taking pictures every five minutes. Plan on having one camera per 100 acres, which should give you a great snapshot of the deer on your hunting property.

 

 

Shed Hunting the Hard Way

 

At the end of the day, the best way to go shed antler hunting is to lace up the hunting boots and hit prime spots at the right time of the year. Nothing can safely beat walking through large bedding areas or winter food plots (e.g., standing corn or soybean fields) for finding shed antlers. Walking these areas in search of antlers essentially equals post season scouting. The information like rubs, scrapes, beds, runs, and high traffic in food sources are great indications into where to hunt come next deer season. This is especially true for the late season as most of the sign you are seeing is directly correlated to the last month or so. If you already have some of these spots on your property, you’re in luck. Start with the feeding areas to see what you find. You don’t want to charge into their bedding areas if they haven’t shed antlers yet, information that is available only if you are running trail cameras.

 

Without knowing and shed hunting early it could push them to bed on a neighboring property before they drop their head gear. And once they’re on a neighbor’s land, the chance of finding their antlers on your hunting property is about the same as your chances of winning the lottery. As far as when to go shed hunting, it’s really different for each deer because individual hormone levels are different. Many factors such as weather, injuries, and stress from a variety of sources can cause an early drop. But you are usually safe to start shed hunting by late February/early March. Technically, however, deer could shed their antlers any time from December through March.

 

 

If you don’t already have many bedding and feeding areas on your property, think about how you can manage your land to increase these types of habitats for next winter’s shed hunting. For example, could you plant conifers and native warm season grasses or do a few small clear-cuts to increase the amount of thick bedding cover that deer require in the winter? Maybe you could plant your own winter food plot or leave an acre or two of standing crops in an existing agricultural field to feed deer during the winter? If you lease hunting the land, you might be able to convince the landowner of doing one of these things too if you approach it respectfully. For instance, the timber harvested from a hardwood section may help pay for the money lost in not harvesting the crops, but be prepared to help offset the costs yourself if you want to take this route.

No More Shed Antler Traps!

As you can see, there are ways to find lots of shed antlers without the risks of using a deer antler trap this winter. Do antler traps work? Of course, they can, but for reasons beyond the trap itself. There are better and more informative options to find sheds while protecting those mature bucks you’d like to see again next fall from a tree stand instead of finding one dead on your property this summer!

Western Public Land Shed Hunting and the Laws

Western Public Land Shed Hunting and the Laws

Western Shed Hunting on Public Land | The Law In Western States

 

All outdoorsmen are familiar and most likely infatuated with big game seasons.  The season of shed hunting should be on that list.  Western shed hunting on public land is an experience of its own.  We spend hours of our lives, and as much investment as we can afford toward epic quests in the stand or on a mountain.  Many sportsmen spend their vacation time and many other resources around a chance at a coveted tag.  Whether that tag is for a general unit in your own backyard, or for a limited draw unit for a coveted species in a far off western state, one thing is constant…antlers!

 

Not all folks are trophy hunters, and the majority are concerned with the meat and managing game populations with the harvest of females. For the majority, there is no such thing as antler soup, when the realization that the tenderloins from a young cow elk are much more tender than those of a battle worn bull with gray in his mane.  However, any hunter could agree that the fact remains, a great trophy animal with a huge set of bone on his head is a treasure to behold and a memory that will last forever.

 

Before you pack up the chevy in search of public land shed antlers, be sure to give this article, and the laws surrounding sheds enough thought!

 

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Nick Mundt, Chevy, Turkeys, and Sheds

 

Public Land Shed Antlers

 

The antlers of a seven hundred pound elk carried high amongst his harem measuring upwards of four hundred inches of antler are an amazing sight and miracle of nature.  The sun glistening off a powder white eight point rack of a whitetail chasing a doe past your stand on a cold November morning, his whole intention on that female and his guard down for only a short window cannot be easily forgotten.  A mule deer buck in all his ghost like tendencies, a dark chocolate rack with deep v’s of split beams towering high above his wide ears cast an impressive shadow across a sage plateau of a western mountain.  Finally, a giant set of spoons, set wide across the heavy neck and head of a giant moose, the largest of the deer family is at least unforgettable.

 

Imagine a one thousand pound animal carrying antlers weighing upwards of 50 pounds.  It is truly an amazing display of nature and biology.  While each set of antlers across these species is different and unique to the species, each has one thing in common.  This one thing has become a sort of craze, and set sportsman nationwide into a new big game season.  Elk, mule deer, whitetails, and even moose all shed their antlers when testosterone levels drop after the final female heat cycle.  Changes in the deer’s biology as a result of hormone adjustment due to photoperiods cause the antlers to be cast off (the process of shedding antlers).  As a result, the shed antlers lay in wait for some lucky shed hunter to come along and pick them up.

 

 

western-shed-hunting-public-land-laws_pic2Photo Credit: Rob McDonald

 

Shed hunting has taken the American sportsman by storm.  Looking for and collecting the shed antlers of multiple species has opened up into an amazingly popular hobby for many outdoorsmen.  It’s easy to see why so many are so excited to look for shed antlers.  First and foremost, finding a shed antler is simply cool.  It is fun to find something of value and meaning to you, to work for something and be rewarded!  Second, shed hunting falls between sporting seasons, big game, waterfowl, and upland are wrapped up, and turkey is still a month or two away when bucks and bulls start dropping their headgear.  This creates a lull for sportsmen, a chance to slow down and enjoy moments with friends and family.  This brings us to the final benefit of shed hunting, it is a great way to get outdoors!  Some folks strap on snowshoes to spend a sunny afternoon alone in the great outdoors in early spring.  Others head for the southern slopes of hillsides around farmsteads and ranches, with friends and family members spread out in a line all looking for antlers.  The season of shed hunting has gotten so popular that folks are even training their bird dogs to find sheds.  Whether you are trying to take stock in the remaining trophies that made it through the season, or just an excuse to get outside, shed hunting is a big deal.

 

 

 

The Law: Public Land Shed Hunting Out West

 

The recent popularity of shed hunting has gotten the attention of many state wildlife agencies, and the Federal Government as well. The resource of public land comes with great opportunity when it comes to shed antlers.  If you plan to try your Backwoods Old Dominion Boots out looking for sheds, be sure you know the laws of the area you plan to shed hunt.  Shed hunting, specifically western shed hunting as a season on public land, has its own set of rules and regulations.   It is not the wildlife agencies responsibility to inform you about the laws in their area about a particular season, so take it upon yourself to find out the law of the land before heading out looking for sheds.

 

The reasoning behind the regulations is not to somehow prevent people from enjoying public lands or to prevent sportsmen from strapping new antlers on their backpack or saddle.  The laws around western public land shed antler hunting are in place to protect the game animals and the habitat they call home.  The antler drop season is one of the most vulnerable for big game.  Most animals in the west have been pushed down from their summer ranges by snow, and moved to the grazing winter grounds.  A miracle of nature in its own right, large herds of elk and deer spend the plentiful summer seasons in high country pastures and meadows, stockpiling graze for winter at lower elevations.  These winter grazing lands become the spring calving ground before the high country snows come off with warming temperatures.  This is the place that trophy bull or buck three or four years from now will get his start.  Pressure into these areas, at this time, can mean devastation to the animals that are trying to survive here.  Hunting season, the annual rut, and the winter season have all taken their toll on the game populations that we cherish, and to do them an injustice of making the spring season harder than it needs to be for them is not sportsman like at all.

 

The rules and regulations are also in place to establish a base for Conservation Officers to work from when protecting the natural resources on public lands.  Carrying a deadhead (skull with antlers still attached) down from the mountain out of season could be cause for concern wouldn’t you say?  It is important to think of the rules and regulations from all sides of the table before getting in a fuss about the reasoning.  Antlers are valuable, in terms of satisfaction and trophies for the individual, but can fetch a nice price as well if sold.  This makes rules and regulation important to protect our public lands and the game animals that live there.

 

Western shed hunting regulations vary state by state, and even sometimes within a state by unit, or on federal property.

 

Some examples of these Western shed hunting regulations include:

 

  • Federal Property

NO shed antler collecting in any National Park.

https://www.nps.gov/search/?affiliate=nps&query=shed+antler

 

  • Utah

USUALLY…Shed hunting in Utah requires an online course to hunt the limited shed hunting season between February 1 and April 15th. No deadheads (antlers attached to skulls).

https://wildlife.utah.gov/wildlife-news/1804-course-required-to-hunt-shed-antlers.html

*However, as of February 2nd, 2016 Utah has officially closed shed hunting on both public and private land until April 1st. Follow the link below for more information.

https://wildlife.utah.gov/wildlife-news/1989-shed-antler-closure-expanded-statewide.html

 

 

  • Idaho

Restrictions not found. No license is needed, call ahead to make sure as regulations do exist on access.

 

  • Colorado

Shed hunting in Colorado, certain units are closed from January 1 to March 14, and others units are limited to between the hours of 10 AM to sunset.

http://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/BigGame.aspx

 

  • Wyoming

Many Wyoming units are closed to shed hunting, other units are closed January 1 to April 30.

https://wgfd.wyo.gov/News/Antler-shed-collection-closely-monitored-statewide

 

  • Arizona and Nevada

Both Arizona and Nevada have regulations making it unlawful to retain antlers still intact to a skull, known in the shed hunting community as a deadhead.

 

  • New Mexico and Kansas

Both these states have regulations requiring a salvage permit to retain antlers still intact to a skill, known in the shed hunting community as a deadhead.

 

  • States with Bighorn and Desert Sheep populations

As a general rule it is illegal to take or possess the horns or head of a wild sheep without a tag.

 

western-shed-hunting-public-land-laws_pic3Photo Credit: Rob McDonald

 

The links provided here are current at the writing of this article.  Phone calls to several of the wildlife state agencies to determine rules and regulations listed here are to clarify their laws regarding shed hunting.  These laws can be changed or amended, and staying current with the regulations in the area you plan to shed hunt in is ultimately your responsibility.  To be sure, place your own calls to the department before shed antler hunting. As a good rule of thumb, do not take deadheads, antlers still attached to a skull, no matter the species or state.

 

Shed Hunting on Public Land

 

The purpose of this article is not to deter anyone from getting outdoors, putting some miles on a pair of boots, and enjoying the springtime afternoon sun on your face.  However, we do hope that when you head out with an empty pack, in hopes of weighing it down with heavy shed antlers, you take the time to find out what the laws are in the area you plan to hunt.  Western shed antler hunting is truly its own season, and any outdoorsmen should be excited to get involved in a season that allows them to be outside and hunt for a set of trophy shed antlers.

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Firestone Tires Presents “The Roads We Share” Featuring Michael Waddell

Firestone Tires “The Roads We Share” with Michael Waddell

You know the story of Michael Waddell…or do you? The origins, the values, the stories, and the meaning behind an outdoorsman, all summed up in the area Michael calls home. Booger Bottom Georgia is more than just home, it’s the story of hunting foundations and traditions.

 

The story of Booger Bottom Georgia for Michael is not distant from the story of Harvey Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company. The spirit of Harvey is ingrained into the Firestone brand and remains alive today, as evidenced by the brand’s commitment to quality and rich traditions. Over the years, his family has passed down what it means to be an outdoorsman and hunter, and now Michael shares those traditions with his children—similar to how the Firestone brand was built on foundations set out by its founder, Harvey Firestone.
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Firestone: “The Roads We Share”

 

#1: TRADITION LEADS THE WAY with MICHAEL WADDELL

 


Outdoor Channel’s Michael Waddell grew up in an area of Georgia called Booger Bottom. Over the years, his family has passed down what it means to be an outdoorsman and hunter, and now Michael shares those traditions with his children—similar to how Firestone has been built on foundations set out by founder, Harvey Firestone.

 

#2: EXTRA MILES: Origins of Booger Bottom

 

 

Outdoor Channel star Michael Waddell has always called Booger Bottom, Georgia home. How did the area get that name? Michael reveals the history.

 

#3: EXTRA MILES: Tools of the Trade

 

 

Outdoor Channel’s Michael Waddell explains why Firestone tires are an important tool of the hunt, and why he counts on them to carry him to all his adventures.

 

#4: EXTRA MILES: New Tires

 


Outdoor Channel’s Michael Waddell shares his priorities = new tires, new wheels, and a new stereo system. #TruckStuff.

 

Want more content? Be sure to check out firestonetire.com, Firestone’s YouTube, as well as the Brotherhood Blog and Bone Collectors’ YouTube.

                                                                                        

 

scouting for deer post season | Bone Collector

Tips on Scouting for Deer in the Post Season

Scouting for Deer Post Season | Establishing a Base for Next Year

Now that snow has finally covered some parts of the country, it seems winter is actually here. Unfortunately, its arrival means the end of many deer hunting seasons. Most of these are probably firearm seasons, since archery seasons are usually pretty liberal and open until the end of the calendar year or later. Hopefully your firearm season was eventful this year. If it was, these tips on scouting for deer in the post season will help you to stay at the top of your game next year. If you weren’t very lucky this year, then you really should hit the woods now when the time is right to learn as much as you can. On the other hand, if you’re still bow hunting, you can apply these same principles at the end of your season.

Take A Note:

Take these tips on scouting for deer in the post season with this thought in mind: “The most valuable information/scouting you truly have is the observations and data collected during the season”. While post season scouting directly after the season can translate into crucial information relating to the late season, it does not directly correlate to activity during the early season and the rut. Observations/scouting/intel is the most valuable to the time they are made.

While most hunters start scouting for deer to find new tree stand locations, much of this occurs in late summer, well before firearm seasons open. Because of the timing, deer activity patterns are usually far different from what they will be later in the season. While some of these patterns will hold true, it’s not the most reliable or current information to trust. That’s why scouting for deer, or writing down and keeping track of your observations during all parts of the year is important. For the purposes of this article, scouting for deer in the post season can help you find valuable information for next year’s late season. Let’s look at the what, where, when, why, and how of scouting for deer after the season closes!

Why Scout After Hunting Season? 

So why is scouting for deer hunting a good idea after the hunting season closes instead of before it opens? Well, it’s important to scout either season for the same reasons. Sure you might be running trail cameras during the off season, but by walking through your hunting area, you can learn a lot about deer and how they interact with the local landscape. You can find new tree stand locations based on the information you collect, which will help you tweak your hunting approach each year to be more effective.

scouting for deer post season binoculars | Bone Collector

But the real magic of post season scouting is that you can get real-time information about the deer you hunt. You’ll be following their trails and observing their habits immediately after the hunting season, which means you will know more about their patterns for next year’s hunt. It’s important to compare observations from pre-season and post season scouting trips so you know generally what they will do at the same time next year when they transition. While in-season deer scouting would provide information you could use to hunt deer in the current year, there’s also a high chance you could spook them out of your life forever.

Another nice thing is that you can wander anywhere you like without fear of spooking deer. In fact, you’re hoping to bump deer from their beds while you’re doing this, so you can pinpoint exactly where they’re located during this time of the year. If nobody can hunt them anymore, it doesn’t matter if you scare them off to a different property for a few days. They’ll have plenty of time to cool down (almost a year) before you hunt them there again, so it does no lasting harm.

When to Start Scouting for Deer 

Really, as long as you’re done hunting for a given season or location, it’s time to get out there and burn some boot leather. It’s ideal if the season itself is closed so you don’t interrupt every other hunter’s opportunities or inadvertently chase “your buck” to another property owner’s firearm blast. But as long as you can get out there and dedicate some time to walking the property without affecting your hunt or long-term success, that’s as good a time as any to do your deer scouting mission.

If you hunt during the late season or in northern areas, you have an additional advantage over early season or southern hunters. Late fall or winter deer scouting works so well because the cooler temperatures will have frozen wet areas, allowing you access to some remote swamps you would never want to step foot into otherwise. That’s often where mature bucks like to hide out. You also typically have snow on the ground to help with tracking deer movement. You can easily see where they have been congregating (e.g., feeding, bedding, etc.) or using specific travel corridors to get around. Additionally, the trees and underbrush are bare of leaves this time of year, which allows you to see further and find more deer sign without having to walk every square foot of forest.

The ideal conditions are after there has been a fresh snow of a couple inches. Wait 2 to 3 days to let deer move about on their daily routines, and then get out in the woods to track. The trails will be obvious to follow, and the snow depth is shallow enough to easily interpret a wide and long buck track versus a doe or fawn track.

What and Where?

In an obviously general sense, you should look for deer sign (e.g., tracks, trails, beds, rubs, scrapes, evidence of feeding) while you’re out on a post season scouting trip. But similar to pre-season scouting, you should also look for basic deer necessities, which include food, water, and shelter. Food sources are a good spot to start your search and might include food plots, agricultural fields, oak trees, apple trees, young woody growth from a clear-cut, etc. Water sources are more important if it’s still a very hot time of year or if it’s a drought year, and you will often find a focal point of deer traffic near creeks, rivers, or ponds. Finally, shelter gets more important as the winter rolls on and deer need to escape from winter winds. Good late season deer bedding areas can include dense conifer plantations, natural spruce or cedar swamps, tall CRP fields, or remote cattail islands. If you can find these areas, you should be able to find deer sign somewhere.

But if you’ve hunted the property a fair amount in the past, use this time as an opportunity to explore new areas. Focus on finding hidden or remote places you can’t normally access or sneak into without alerting deer. This might allow you to find a new mature buck bedding area or a cluster of white oaks that could rain down acorns earlier in the fall. Remote bedding cover and food sources are often targeted by bucks that try to escape hunting pressure during the season, and they are often used during daylight hours versus large agricultural fields. Your trip also might expose a travel corridor you would have never guessed that deer would use. Sometimes they will surprise you in the wandering paths they take just to stay out of sight.

How to Scout for Deer? 

There is really no wrong way to go about your post season scouting, provided you’re walking around the woods and learning something new about the area. But if you’re a little confused about how to find whitetail deer, you can start walking on a main trail or through a large destination feeding field until you cut a deer trail. It shouldn’t take long in most places. While it’s a great learning exercise to follow any deer trail (just to see what they do and where they go), you’re probably interested in overall herd patterns and buck movement more than following a single doe trail. Try looking around for a larger trail that’s well-used by several deer or a lone trail that has large tracks (3 to 4 inches across and 4 to 5 inches long). You’ll either follow the main doe herd to their bedding area or a buck to his bedroom, respectively.

scouting for deer post season trail camera | Bone Collector

Post season scouting is a good tracking exercise in itself and an opportunity to observe the secret habits of deer in the woods. You’ll often find their trail veers off to follow an interior forest edge you would have never even noticed, or they stop to browse on a certain type of tree/shrub more often than others. Keep an eye open for natural funnels or pinch points along the trail that would work well for an ambush site. Similarly, you should look for potential trees that would work well for your tree stands.

Eventually, you should be able to follow their tracks to a bedding area. If you were really quiet and stealthy, you could even get close enough to jump them from their beds, but there’s really no point to sneaking around the woods for this kind of post-season deer scouting. You want to cover as much ground as possible to learn the most you can in the shortest amount of time. When you do find a bed, take a moment to examine it closely and even hunch down to view the area from a bedded deer’s perspective. It might sound crazy, but you can learn a lot by doing this. Viewing it from their perspective might show you why they choose a certain spot (e.g., good visibility from the ground, cover behind and upwind of them, etc.). Loosely size up the bed to see if it’s likely a buck or doe bed. A buck’s bed will typically be alone, over 40 inches long, and may even smell like a rutting buck, depending on the time of year. A doe or fawn bed, however, will be smaller and usually clustered with other beds nearby. Take a look around at the habitat and surrounding cover. If a single buck chose to bed here, it’s likely others will do the same in the future or at other similar spots you find.

Don’t Forget the Cameras!

A big mistake many hunters make each and every year is pulling their trail cameras down days after the season closes. Don’t! Instead get some bait out in front of the cameras (if legal in your state) and wither run a trail camera survey, or keep tabs on your hit-list bucks and whether or not they have shed their antlers.

Post-Season Scouting: Don’t Miss It

If you’re done archery or firearm hunting for the year, don’t miss out on the opportunity to do some post-season scouting. You can learn so much about deer and their habits in the current season you’re hunting them, which will make you a more efficient and calculated hunter next year. Use the deer scouting tips above to make the process even easier.

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Bone Collector SHOT Show and ATA Show Recap

SHOT Show and ATA Show Recap with the Bone Collector Crew

Show season is finally slowing down. The Bone Collector crew had a great SHOT show and ATA show, connecting with partners and checking out the latest gear to hit the outdoor industry! The crew made their way around the 2017 ATA and SHOT shows, making sure to bring you along on the most exciting products and news! Check out the videos and pictures below to see the highlights of the shows.

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Live Videos

Over the course of both shows T-Bone, Nick, and Michael went live from the Bone Collector Facebook page. Below are some of the biggest highlights from the live video feed!

Outdoor Channel

Old Dominion Boots

Check out Old Dominion Boots!

 

Hawk Tree Stands

Check out the new Hawk Tree Stands!

 

Havalon Rebel Knives

Check out the new Bone Collector Havalon Rebel Knives!

Dead Ringer Bone Collector Sight


Check out the Dead Ringer Bone Collector Sight below!

Knight and Hale

Check Out Knight and Hale Calls!

SHOT Show and ATA Show Gallery

The crew was busy checking out the products and shooting live video, but they did make their way around the show floors to show you the most exciting products from the sponsors and partners. If a live video didn’t capture it, one of the cameras did! Check out the pictures below in the show gallery.

best deer hunting

Best Deer Hunting Award | Bone Collector

Golden Moose Awards

Best Deer Hunting

Bone Collector

Michael, T-Bone, and Nick have established themselves as some of the few personalities that represent the modern hunting industry. From their easy-going personalities to their knowledge on hunting tactics for many species, the Bone Collector crew continues to entertain fans and hunters across the country. Year after year, The Bone Collector has received various awards that show just how widespread their influence reaches.

This year at the 2017 SHOT show the Bone Collector crew was honored to receive another Golden Moose Award. This year’s award was for “Best Deer Hunting”. The video below shows you the unbelievable hunt that won the award!

Insane 3 Yard Deer Kill! Best Deer Hunting | Bone Collector

If there has ever been a perfect spot n’ stalk situation, Nick Mundt has found it! Here’s the hunt that resulted in Bone Collector winning the Golden Moose Award for Best Deer Hunting at the 2017 Outdoor Sportsman Awards hosted by the Outdoor Channel!

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deer hunting

Nine Deer Hunting Goals You Should Consider for 2017

How to Develop Deer Hunting Goals

 

New Year’s resolutions are well under way across the country. At least that’s the idea, right? As we reflect on the prior year, it’s only natural to want to improve something for 2017. Whether it’s our health and fitness or something as specific as deer hunting, there’s always something we could do better. While the term “resolution” seems to always flop before we even see the light of February, goals tend to live on longer. For that reason, this article will discuss a few deer hunting goals you might consider for the New Year ahead of us.

 

Now you’re probably thinking how obsessed someone would have to be to actually set deer hunting goals. Isn’t the goal of hunting simply to kill a deer for one reason or another? Not necessarily. Sure, we all want to put some more venison in the freezer or hang a trophy buck on our wall. But there are many other reasons to hunt or ways to push ourselves harder in 2017 besides that. If you’re a passionate deer hunter who thinks about it throughout the year, goal-setting is a great way to achieve way more than you ever have before.

 

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Setting SMART Goals

To have any hope of really achieving these nine deer hunting goals, it should be what’s called a SMART goal. This is an acronym to help you get the most bang for your goal-setting buck. If your idea hits all of the following points, it is likely a good one to pursue. If it doesn’t, try to refine it a little until it hits the mark. This isn’t just a procedure on paper either. It’s a way to keep yourself accountable to your goals. If done correctly, they can actually help you achieve them too.

 

  • Specific – include as much detail you need to make it happen.
  • Measurable – develop a way to measure your progress to keep you on target.
  • Action-oriented – it should include some clear action to take.
  • Realistic – don’t expect miracles to happen just because you write them down.
  • Time-based – you can choose the 2017 hunting season or longer for bigger items.

 

Nine Deer Hunting Goals for 2017

We’ve compiled a list of nine different hunting goals you should consider adding to your own list. While they all have a slightly different focus, they challenge you to grow as a hunter through learning new hunting skills or sharpening old ones. Additionally, these goals are fairly general in nature to make a point. But you can use them as a springboard to create SMART goals from these topic areas. Think about more specific details, how you’re going to measure their success, whether there is a clear action you can take, how realistic it is for your area, and how long you’ll have to complete them.

 

  1.  Become a Shed Hunting Master

With shed hunting season rapidly approaching us, this is the time to make plans for it. While it’s not strictly a hunting-related activity on the surface, there’s a lot to be learned from it. For example, you can find out which bucks made it through the hunting season and much of the winter by studying their antlers. This is really useful to inform other deer hunting goals, especially if you’re after a certain buck. During this time of year, you can also wander wherever you want to look for shed antlers, which might allow you a glimpse into a secret whitetail hotspot you hadn’t noticed before. Study the terrain where you find a shed antler and follow their trails to see why they chose that particular spot. With seasonal differences, they might not be in the same area next fall. But knowing that in itself is useful for whitetail hunting too.

 

  1. Study Your Deer Herd

You don’t have to be a biologist to conduct or benefit from some simple wildlife surveys. In fact, the more you know about the deer in your area, the better equipped you will be from a hunting perspective. Similar to shed hunting, winter is a great time to run a trail camera survey on your property so you can see which deer made it through another season. All you need are a few trail cameras (one per 100 acres), some Big & J® attractant (if legal), and a little of your time. Spend about a week getting deer used to the bait, and then hang your Bushnell® trail cameras to collect data for 2 weeks or so. Scrolling through all the trail camera pictures will take a while, but we there are worse ways to spend your time.

 

  1. Planning a Hunting Trip

We typically think of these kinds of hunting trips as a “someday trip” – they will eventually happen, just not this year. The danger with this thinking is that we don’t get any younger and none of us is guaranteed another hunting season. More to the point, we often let “someday” turn into never. Whether we let laziness creep in or decide that there are many good reasons to not spend our hard-earned money on a trip like this, we often let them slip away. Not this year. Take time now to brainstorm a hunting trip you’ve never been on. Whether it’s an elk hunt across the country or a safari hunt across the world, make it happen this year.

 

  1. Get Access to More Hunting Properties

Most of us aren’t blessed with hundreds or thousands of acres of private land to hunt on. In fact, many of us depend on public land hunting each year. This year, one of your deer hunting goals should be pushing yourself outside the old familiar comfort zone and hunting somewhere new. Contact your state wildlife agency to find additional public hunting land within a few hours of you. Or maybe this is the year you finally ask a landowner if you can hunt on their property. Many farms readily accept hunting requests, simply because deer damage their crops. But to get their approval, you need to be ultra-respectful and should probably offer to help with something else in return. If you do get access, make sure you always deliver on what you say you’ll do. Having access to multiple properties, especially a mix of private and public land, is a great way to stay one step ahead of Mother Nature next fall. If the conditions aren’t right for a certain property, they might be perfect on another one. If you’re hunting a mature buck, it’s also a good way to hedge your bets by casting a wider net, if you will. Finally, hunting on a new property will teach you things that hunting on the same old property can’t. You’ll realize you don’t know everything, and there are still skills to learn.

 

  1. Improve Your Property

If you are a landowner, we realize you’ll still primarily hunt your own property before driving hours to the next spot. One of the best deer hunting goals you can do to push yourself and make it a more effective hunting property is to plant food plots or do some deer habitat improvement work this spring, summer, or fall. Luckily, this is the best time to plan all of those things from the comfort of your couch. Pull up an aerial map of your property and identify a few areas you’d like to target for planting food plots or some oak and apple trees. Once you figure out how big the area is, you can calculate how much equipment and supplies you will need.

 

 

  1. Try a New Weapon

Maybe you’ve always hunted with a rifle and that’s been your chosen hunting weapon. This year, why not try something new? Hoyt® bows are a high-quality brand you can trust to get you from the beautiful early season bow hunting conditions right through the bitter cold late season. Thompson Center® muzzleloaders will help you with the late season hunting over your new food plot. Different weapons will allow you to extend your hunting season through much of the fall instead of only having a few weeks to fill your tag. And in some cases, you can also get multiple deer with those weapons.

 

 

 

 

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  1. Be a More Strategic Hunter

We get it. It’s easy to fall into the same hunting routine. You get up in the morning and go to the same tree stand each day, following the same pattern. Within a matter of days, deer will have your activities and location patterned and you’ll likely face some boring sits in the woods. This year, make a goal of becoming more strategic about what you do to keep the deer guessing. Hang a few different Hawk® tree stands around your property (or on several properties) to switch things around. If the wind isn’t good for a particular hang-on stand, you can always use a different location where it’s in your favor. Having multiple options means you get to wait for the perfect conditions for a particular stand without feeling like you’re missing out on hunting. Not to mention, this also provides you with a much-needed scenery change once in a while.

 

  1. Hunt Harder

Along with being more strategic, sometimes you just need to work harder to get it done. Whether that means sitting in the tree stand longer throughout the day or hunting more days than the prior season, the more you’re in the woods (to a point), the better chance you have of seeing and killing a nice deer. Work harder to find new hunting spots and be willing to trudge through a swamp to get to the perfect tree stand (if the conditions are right). If you’re on public land, the effort is almost always worth it just to separate yourself from others.

 

  1. Kill a Mature Buck

You knew it had to make the list. If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us do want to put a high-scoring buck on the wall. Unfortunately, some properties and geographies are simply missing the right components to really create and hold a 180-inch whitetail. But most of us would be happy enough to take a mature buck too. If you put the other deer hunting goals above to good use, finding and killing a mature buck somewhere should be within your reach.

 

Get Busy!

Best of Bone Collector Season 8 – 2016 in Review

 

While we listed out nine ways to become a better hunter, don’t let this list stop you from trying new things. Really think about what went well in 2016 and what you would like to accomplish in 2017. Chances are there are plenty of other deer hunting goals you’d like to finish this year. Go crush them and make 2017 the year of becoming a better hunter!

bow sight

NEW: Bone Collector Bow Sights Coming Soon!

Bone Collector Bow Sights Coming Soon!

Coming soon, the all new line of Bone Collector Bow Sights, built by Dead Ringer, designed by The Brotherhood!

The Bone Collectors, Michael, Nick, and T-Bone, collectively have hours, days, weeks, months, and years’ worth of bow hunting and archery experience. Collectively they hold a vast amount of experience…valuable experience, as to what works, what doesn’t, what is all hype, and what truly is a game changer for the industry.

What can all this knowledge lead to? A brand new line of Bone Collector bow sights. Dead Ringer, understanding the opportunity to hone in on the knowledge, approached the Bone Collectors to help design their all new line of bow sights. The product of this is a well-designed, feature driven, and die hard bow hunter based bow sight!

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Travis Turner, a.k.a T-Bone, an ASA and APA certified professional archer, 1991 ASA 3-D World Champion, and 4-time Georgia State Champion, said this about the new bow sight:

“From my years of tournament archery background, to all of our years of bleeding bow hunting, we are thrilled to work with Dead Ringer on the designs of their new line of bow sights. From solid and simple, to advanced and technical, they have you covered with the features you need to be VERY DEPENDABLE AND SUCCESSFUL on every single archery and bow hunting adventure” –T-Bone
The New Bone Collector bow sight line is coming soon, follow both the Bone Collectors and Dead Ringer to stay updated on the reveal!

 

 

Still Hunting

10 Still Hunting Tips for Deer Hunting Winter Bucks

Winter Deer Hunting | The Art of Still Hunting Bucks

 

The tree stand is by far the method of choice for deer hunting. But late season whitetail hunting requires you to leave the stand and take the hunt to the bucks and make something happen. This time of year, it is often your only chance. Tired, pressured bucks are confined to small pockets of cover near food to minimize their exposure. Sitting in stand winter deer hunting may have you there for days before you even see a deer. Leave the stand and go searching for that buck with still hunting.

 

Still hunting deer is not complex. Two rules apply. The first is at the very core of the still hunting definition.

 

Still Hunting is moving slowly while winter deer hunting, sticking to the shadows and concentrating on keeping footfall sound nonexistent. It also means minimizing the chances deer will pick you out and maximizes the chances you will slip in undetected and within range of unsuspecting deer. Still hunting also gives you the edge if you do it right. Detecting even the slightest movement like an ear flicker or tail move is possible before a deer spots you. This type of deer hunting is a mental game. You can only hunt slow, taking one step and looking, for so long. An option to keep your head in it is to pick up the pace when in areas of little deer sign. Do not, however, become complacent because the moment you let your guard down is when you will move too fast, too suddenly and spook your chances away.

 

The second rule of still hunting deer is to move into the wind. Going slow is meaningless if your scent is blowing right into a deer’s nose. Use the wind and ScentLok® clothing to remain undetectable in the case of variable winds or changing wind directions. Still hunting perpendicular to the wind direction is also a good option as it provides an approach route to bedded deer. Mastering these two rules makes for a good still hunter, but a great still hunter takes it to another level.

 

Pick the Right Day for Deer Hunting in Winter

 

Late season whitetail hunting is tough due to the winter weather conditions, though, bad conditions like rain and snow offer the best still hunting days. Poor weather is to your advantage. Windy conditions allow you to stay concealed, reducing a deer’s ability to smell you and disguising your steps in the woods. In addition, wet weather makes it easy to sneak around. Deer hunting in snowy weather muffles sticks breaking under your feet and in addition gives you deer sign to follow while still hunting for deer. It can be hard after a long deer hunting season, but less than ideal weather is the right day to plan a still hunt for late season bucks.

 

 

Planning a Day Long Still Hunt for Late Season Deer

Still hunting is a type of deer hunting that becomes an art for those that take it seriously. It takes some forethought to be done right and to be successful at it. Many hunters think they are still hunting when they are slowly walking in and out of their tree stand locations, but it is much more than that. Late season deer hunting with this tactic takes a whole day to do it right.

 

With late season bucks, food sources are going to be the key. Plan a still hunt that parallels feeding areas in the early morning. Deer will likely be actively feeding at first light so plan to be hunting at sun up. Once you have worked timber edges, creek bottoms and terrain features near these feeding locations, still hunt your way towards bedding areas as it gets later in the morning.

 

Often bucks in winter will stick close to food sources near bedding areas. Use you Bushnell® binoculars with every step to glass for bedded bucks that have yet to rise and feed. Ideally, you want to work higher ground to give you the vantage onto potential bedded bucks. Sneak along ridgelines or use other terrain features to stay hidden as you approach areas where bucks may be bedded. Keep the wind in your face and take extra time observing to try to spot deer before they spot you. Do not be afraid to get aggressive while winter whitetail hunting and hunt through thick cover. Sure you may spook a few deer but it could also get you close enough to squeeze off a shot with your T/C muzzleloader.

 

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After you have still hunted a few bedding locations, work your way back to travel corridors leading to afternoon feeding areas. Staging zones are good still hunting areas, and good late season deer hunting areas in general, as the sun goes down. Bucks will linger in these spots before traveling out to an open oak flat or a cut field to feed. It makes for a perfect late season muzzleloader hunting spot to sit and end the day still hunting.

 

10 Still Hunting Tips

 

These 10 still hunting tips for deer hunting winter bucks will help you master the art of still hunting as you try one last shot at harvesting a buck this season.

 

  1. If there is snow, use it to your benefit. Still hunt on fresh deer tracks not in hopes of tailing a buck but that those tracks take you to core areas where deer are bedding and feeding. Also, learn to judge deer tracks. Mature bucks leave a noticeably larger track that is more rounded in the front. Choose to chase these first.
  2. Successfully still hunting deer takes all your attention, leaving little time to be concerned about following a particular path. Allow and expect yourself to get lost winter whitetail hunting. Mark your Chevy with your GPS and put all your effort into the hunt.
  3. Bad weather is desired when planning a still hunt. Rain and snow help to hide your scent and movements while sneaking through the woods. Windy days, not particularly desired when stand hunting, are also good late season deer hunting days to conceal your presence. Poor weather seems to increase deer activity extensively as well.
  4. Carry your rifle, muzzleloader or perhaps even you bow in a shoot ready position. Shots when still hunting deer are quick and any delay, such as having to pull your slung weapon off your shoulder will be the difference in getting a shot or not.
  5. Still hunt in cover. It is hard to stay concealed while still hunting an open field. Plus, still hunting in cover keeps you concealed from deer when you are not moving. Stopping and looking next to a tree keeps you out of sight from any deer and also gives you a quick shooting rest if needed. Realtree AP® Snow Camo blends perfectly against a snowy forest for extra concealment.
  6. Reduce any quick movements. Deer are always on the lookout for any sudden movements. For instance, pulling up your binoculars fast after you stop to glass an area can easily give you away. Bring them up slowly and keep any other movements to a minimum.
  7. Strive for perfection when still hunting deer but understand it is not achievable. Walking on air is not possible so you will certainly make noise at some point. It is ok. When you do, however, spend an extra few minutes remaining still. Let the noise fade away and any deer nearby will think nothing of it. A good winter deer hunting tip is to carry a few deer calls and blow a grunt if you are making noise. A buck may think it is another buck and not a predator.
  8. Hunt light and leave the cold weather clothing and large pack at the house. Since you will be moving, even though it will be slow, you will stay warm enough to dress light. Insulated clothing only makes you sweat and increases the chances you will get cold. Since there is no need for extra clothes while still hunting, a large hunting pack is not necessary either. Carry only a few essential items (knife, tags, extra shells, small survival kit, etc.) in what you are wearing. If you have to bring more, consider a small shoulder pack or fanny pack instead of a bulky backpack.
  9. Prepare for tough shots. Deer hunting in winter via the still hunting tactic makes for some tough shots. Most likely the shots you get will be freehand and best case scenario there will be a tree to rest on. Shots at deer come fast and there is no time to kneel or get out your shooting stick for a solid rest. Practice these shots in the offseason to prepare for still hunting.
  10. The last still hunting tip is to stay alert. Moving as slow as it takes to still hunt successfully can produce some pretty amazing experiences in the woods. In your next step, you may be only yards from a bedded buck or even have a deer walk right into your path. Staying alert late season deer hunting puts you in the driver’s seat to be able to sneak right into a buck’s backyard.

 

Why You Should Still Hunt for Late Season Bucks

After months of pressure, big bucks are slow to return to “normal” patterns. Spending time isolated in one spot in hopes of a buck coming to you is almost wasted time in winter. Of course hunting out of stand where you have high confidence of a buck walking past from diligent scouting throughout the year is something to not pass up. Yet, this is a rare occurrence for most people deer hunting in winter. Still hunting is the next best tactic. Use that same scouting to seek out bucks that would otherwise disappear until next year.

 

Still hunting deer takes a certain kind of hunter. It is mental toughness matched with day long stamina but has huge rewards when it is done with precision. This artful deer hunting approach is one more effective tactic to add and deploy with your winter whitetail hunting strategies.