When it comes to whitetail hunting tips and tactics I've learned many lessons simply by trial and error. I've learned that certain things work better at certain times of the year and even in certain regions.
However with all that said, there are some tactics that are pretty effective across the board. Below are my 3 favorite whitetail tips & tactics that I feel are most beneficial in the field.
Comfort is key-
Wherever it is that you decide to hunt, make sure you’re comfortable! This isn’t just for your own well-being, but the more comfortable you are the longer you’ll sit and the less movement you’ll have on stand. I’m a firm believer in sitting dark to dark and there are a couple reasons for this. First, this takes away half the pressure on a property because you’re skipping two trips in and out each the day.
Next, you will also find that if you’re hunting a heavily pressured area, mid-day can be amazing time hunting because many people will leave their stand locations and kick up deer. If you’re the one still on stand you can benefit greatly from others going in and out for lunch or a mid-day break. It’s little things that can make a big difference on comfort. Have plenty of food, snacks and water. Get a comfortable seat cushion if you’re in a treestand. My favorite is called a Fat Boy cushion. If you’re in a ground blind, bring a comfortable chair! Once on stand organize your gear so everything you need is easily accessible and at the ready.
Learn from deer–
Many people ask me when is the best time to rattle, grunt, snort wheeze, etc. I’ve come to learn that that the best indication is from deer themselves. Watch their body language toward each other, listen for antlers clashing in the woods, and learn from this. If you see a fight between bucks, let them finish, and as soon as they’re out of sight use antlers to cause a scene. I like to start off with a couple grunts to make it appear as if two bucks are in the area. I actually keep two grunt tubes with differing sounds to make this more realistic. Next I wait a bit, then do a snort wheeze. This is basically one buck telling the other buck to back off…or else!
After that I start in on the rattling as if a fight broke out. Make it realistic by hitting them together, pausing, break sticks, hit the tree with the antlers, and do anything possible to make it seem real. The biggest mistake hunters make is by rattling and calling too much and doing it when deer are within sight. If you can see deer, don’t make a sound! They can pinpoint the sound and will bust you quickly. Use the sounds to draw them in, and then just wait them out.
You can be the best hunter in the world and get in close on deer, but you also need to be able to seal the deal when the time comes. In my opinion, this comes down to preparation and confidence. Take time to shoot your gun over and over so you know exactly how it will perform and what your effective range is. Know the ammunition you’re shooting and what the ballistics are at the various distances. I shoot a Winchester XPR in a 300 Win. Mag using Deer Season XP. My gun is topped off with a Swarovski Z6i with a custom ballistic turret that helps me dial in the exact distance so there is no guess work in the field. Another form of preparation comes with scouting and having all your stands ready and lanes cut. Nobody wants to be out during the peak of the rut wasting time cutting lanes. Have this done ahead of time so you can spend every free moment hunting, not setting stands and cutting lanes.