Ed’s Deer Hunt tips during the Rut- CWD Update for 2016

It is when we do what we are supposed to, out of good habits, that success comes our way. But we don’t always practice what we preach, me included. So we redouble our efforts and they can pay off. Sometimes!

Deer’s Primary Detector is Smell! 

So watch your wind carefully.So watch your wind carefully. Yes I said that twice. Or be above it. You can never be too scent free. Deer do not need to see or hear you to get out there. Smell is all it takes. Clothing and you favorite smell ridden hat does most of the betrayal. Keep your clothes scent free and in a plastic bag with scent killer or pine/fir needles

Keep getting detected by squirrels? They chatter a warning!

My guess is that you are not wearing face camo or a face mask. Get a face mask pronto because deer aren’t stupid and depend on other animals to sound the alarm. For years, I never figured that one out. With a camo mask I have squirrels feeding within feet of me.

What if you get on your deer stand and it is very windy?

This is not a good time to see deer while on stand as they often hunker down in very windy deer woods. At some point high wind may drive them to be in fields or small clear-cuts so they can see with their eyes too. Stay mobile and I believe still hunt (slow movement watch steps)  is the best option into the wind. During the rut, by walking in the wind, you can sometimes smell a deer and its tarsal glands. Keep gun at ready. Never take safety off unless game is in view and it is safe to shoot. For Safety; Discuss options with hunting partners in advance.

What if wind is blowing where you want to still hunt? Change your position to hunt into the wind. Or get above the wind in a tree stand. 

Wind is swirling during your hunt? This means that wind can give away your position. But use it to your advantage by staying clean, wear scent killer, while on stand place estrous scent (only if during rut) nearby to overcome your smell. (Never on your clothes)

Note: 2016 – NH Fish and Game no longer want you to use urine based scent as they believe Chronic Wasting Disease elements called prions can be present from unregulated deer farms. Look for Synthetic non-urine based scents while this CWD issue is of concern.

I drew a big buck toward me by being clean and placing doe in estrous and mature buck scent 20 yards apart with me in the middle. The buck was bedded 150 yards away in a thicket. All that buck knew was that there was a rutting buck with an estrous doe in that bedded bucks bedroom. He was madder than heck that another buck was in his turf and came to investigate. I shot him at 40 yards in his bedroom.

Let scents do some work for you during the rut.

While you do your best to minimize your own scent, place estrous scent in the wind column where you want bedded bucks to smell it. Place your ground stand laterally 90 degrees 50 to 100 yards away if hunting on ground.

Bowhunting? Use a spray bottle after you are in your tree stand. At 4 mph the wind will blow 1 mile in 15 minutes, a half mile in 7.5 minutes etc. Trust me, the bedded bucks that are 200 yards away will smell that spray scent in 1 minute and use its ears to hear any activity. Follow up with a soft grunt call to peak his curiosity. Don’t overdue the grunt call. Less is more.

During the Rut. If you are overlooking a field where deer are feeding, let the deer themselves pull bucks from cover. Don’t betray your location unless a buck you are interested in shooting is walking away. If so, a single grunt can turn a buck back towards you. Grunt calls work. It is best to have a soft callng grunt device and a louder device.

Best for last:

Grunt, rattle and beat the heck out of trees to call in aggressive bucks. Check on line for videos for techniques. I killed a nice 8 point with that technique and a 800 pound bull moose.  And watch that wind!

moose down ed oliver

Good Hunting!





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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.