These steps will show you how to lead a deer right to you, and right into shooting range.
There’s something to be said for following a deer’s tracks in order to get a kill, especially in the late season when snow is on the ground, time is running out, and you don’t have the hours to spare to wait for deer to wander past your treestand.
With that said, however, it’s certainly a heck of a lot easier to have the deer come to you and to simply pick off the big bucks when they decide to rear their heads near your position.
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To some hunters, the best – and perhaps only – way of accomplishing this feat is to learn about their deer herd’s natural movement patterns and intercept them when they least expect it. Normally, this tactic means setting up camp somewhere between a bedding spot, a well-favored feeding area, and a water source, and it can often be an incredibly effective strategy.
However, there are other ways of sending bucks and does right into your sights, and they don’t involve relying entirely on natural movement patterns. On the contrary, by manipulating your deer habitat, you might be able to boost the amount of activity you are seeing in any given season, filling your tag more quickly and effectively in the process. Here’s how to tweak a few environmental factors to lead a deer right to your location.
1. Block the alternative trails
In The Dark Knight, the criminal mastermind who is the Joker blocks streets to make sure that a police envoy is forced to proceed directly into his line of fire. Take a leaf out of the Joker’s devious playbook and start positioning roadblocks on trails that may take deer away from your location. A roadblock can be a fallen tree, a pile of brush – anything that encourages a buck or doe to ditch their original travel plans and wander down the trail that leads past your treestand instead.
2. Create your own trail
Say you find a perfect tree for your stand, but it’s just a hair out of range of where the deer will be walking. If that’s the case, why not consider blocking the regular trail and doing some work to create a new detour of sorts that leads within close shooting range of your treestand? By simply raking leaves, pulling away fallen branches or logs, and trimming away low-hanging branches, you can create an open trail and get the forest floor down to bare dirt. Once deer see your makeshift trail – especially alongside the roadblock you positioned on the regular route – they will opt for the easier path of travel. When they do, be ready to take the shot.
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3. Plant food bushes
If you think that whitetails will need some extra encouragement to take your detour path, plant fruit-bearing trees or tasty bushes along the pathway. Deer will wander along the trail, gobbling happily at the food you have left them and letting their guards down in the process. Even if your tree stand doesn’t provide much cover, the deer will be too consumed with their newfound food sources to bother looking for signs of danger.