It all seems so perfect.
With archery season fast approaching, you’ve found the perfect place to hang a stand or set up a blind. It’s right in a monster buck’s bedroom. Or maybe his dining room. Or perhaps it’s in the hallway connecting the two.
You just know that if you hunt it long enough that deer will be yours.
Dream of getting a nice buck like this in the fall? Stealth is key.
There’s only one problem. How do you get in and out without spooking your quarry in the process?
It’s not too early to think about that.
Stealth is critical, said Mike Stroff, host of Savage Outdoors TV and operator of Southern Outdoor Experience Hunts, a Texas-based guiding service.
“The approach to your stand can be the most important factor for you,” Stoff said.
He won’t even try to hunt from a stand if he doesn’t think he can get there without a buck smelling him.
That’s especially true in the case of a public land buck that’s likely pressured.
“I know when you’ve got pictures and you know a big buck is there, it’s hard not to go hunt that spot. But if it’s not right all you’re doing is educating a deer that didn’t need any more education. He’s already the smartest deer that you can find to hunt,” Stroff said.
“If the wind is wrong or your approach is wrong, meaning they can wind you when you’re walking into the stand or they can see you get into the stand, that’s just as counterproductive as sitting the perfect spot all afternoon with the wrong wind.”
In such a case, try to come at the stand from a different direction, he said.
If that’s still not possible, stealth can involve disguising yourself.
Tom Richardson, a Carson City, Mich., hunting guide and deer calling expert, sometimes pretends to be what he’s not. On occasion – especially during the rut and just before – he’ll cluck like a turkey on his way into the woods.
Deer will hear him, but that’s the point, so long as they think he’s a bird.
“That will sometimes cover your tracks,” Richardson said.
Stroff sometimes relies on a similar tactic.
In farm country, where deer grow used to the sight and sound of tractors and other equipment, Stroff said it sometimes pays to hitch a ride. He’s been driven directly to a stand and then killed deer.
“A lot of guys will say, well, they’ll hear you. Well, they hear that same sound all day, every day,” he said.
“And if you’re going to bump them, bump them like the farmer does because it’s an everyday occurrence. That’s not really danger.”
Think about how to get out of your stand, too. There’s room for stealth there, too.
There may well be times, Richardson said, when your stand is surrounded by deer – does or smaller bucks you don’t want to shoot — as darkness falls. Climbing down out of a tree stand or crawling out of a blind will spook them.
He’ll use a red-tailed hawk call then.
“It’s a raptor. They won’t take a deer,” Richardson said. “But it makes deer nervous. And they usually move away.”