Scent Elimination Clothes and Sprays

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Many hunters are showing little consideration for wind direction due to the invention of scent eliminating sprays and clothing. While these products keep us from stinking up the whole place, they are not the answer to the entire problem.

Most human scent comes from our breath and the sebaceous glands behind our ears and these products do little to help those areas.

I use these products whenever I go into the field. They help a great deal in keeping my passive scent undetected.

However the old-fashioned way of staying downwind of the deer is the only true way to keep your scent away from the deer.


Double your Efforts

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

It’s a matter of numbers only 1 out of 20 bucks will ever reach trophy status. Most areas just don’t contain enough deer to produce trophies year in and year out. Once the buck pool is drained in one area. It is time to increase and improve our hunting efforts.
If there’s a shortage of bucks in your area, means it is going to be rare to see big bucks.
What this tells me is that I need to double my efforts in scouting and locating new areas for big bucks.

Dig a Pit

Photo courtesy Apple Creek Ranch

One of the oldest and most successful methods of hunting deer is rarely used nowadays. I’m talking about hunting out of pits.
Back in my youth, I found an arrowhead on the West shore of Lake Coeur d’ Alene. I was looking around for more arrowheads when I found a shallow pit built with rock’s against a slide some 20 yards away. What I had discovered was an ancient Indian hunting blind. Digging shallow pits or making rock blinds near a deer trail was a common hunting tactic of Native Americans.
Hunting deer from a pit is as effective today as it was back there. The pit not only helps to keep your scent from spreading around but the low-profile does wonders to keep the deer from being spooked.
If you’re hunting in an area where treestands are not possible, you might want to think about digging a pit.
– Jim

Antler Rattling

I begin by crashing the antlers together. Then I twist and work the antlers together in an effort to imitate the sounds of two bucks sparring. My entire rattling sequence only lasts about 15 seconds. I try not to rattle more than once every 10 to 15 minutes because the last thing I want is a buck to catch me rattling. It’s happened more than once and every time the results have been less than desirable.


Hunting Scrapes

Bucks start scraping in earnest a week or two before the first does come into season. This is the best time to hunt over a scrape line or a primary scrape. A scrape line is just that; a line of scrapes showing the buck’s travel route. You can find a flurry of scrapes where the buck’s trail intersects the does trail.

While I like to set up as close as possible to a scraped line, I prefer my set to be 75 to 200 yards downwind of a primary scrape. A big buck will more commonly travel downwind of a primary scrape and merely scent check it.

The Last Stand

Here‘s an old Midwest hunting proverb; “Whoever has the last standing cornfield wins.”
Regardless of where you hunt, keep an eye on which crop fields are still available to the deer once the season starts and try to get permission to hunt close to those fields.


The most effective way to preseason scout is to back track the deer. This often gives you a rare glimpse into the buck’s daily life. You’ll find out where he stages before entering the field, where he stops to eat available mast, and where his trail intersects the doe’s trail (usually indicated by a cluster rub from a previous season). All of these are great stand locations if the wind is favorable.

Still Hunting

Whitetail deer like to travel edges. Most hunters recognize an edge as were timberline meets a crop field. While this is a great place to intercept a whitetail, there are a lot of edges that go unnoticed by hunters.

Fence rows, gullies, and even where a hillside meets flatland are edges recognized by the deer.
One of my favorite edges to hunt is at the base of a hill. Big bucks just seem to love to travel here.

When the Velvet Comes Off

For those of you who have been patterning a big buck with the hopes of arrowing him in the coming archery season, the race is on. If you don’t stick him before the velvet comes off you will more than likely have to re-patterned him. Sitting on the edge of a crop field after the velvet comes off is hit and miss at best.

When the Season’s Done

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Of course it’s never done.

I’m scouting, looking at aerial photos, and planning my next hunt year-round.

Often, I’ll backtrack a buck I have just harvested for several hundred yards just to learn the wheres and whys of his travel patterns.

It’s an addiction.

I’m planning my next hunt before I even field dress the deer I just taken.