Morning Stands

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Morning stands are generally more productive than evening stands. With the exception of early-season hunting in mountainous terrain. In those instances an evening stand at the base of the mountain is for more productive since it utilizes the evening air thermal direction.

Identifying Primary Scrapes

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Primary scrapes are used by several deer and are generally reopened season after season. They are often found on high ground, in funnels, and where one buck’s territory intersects that of another. Primary scrapes always have a licking branch above them and several rubbed trees in the vicinity. I’ve seen primary scrapes as small as 3 feet in diameter and as large as a sheet of plywood.

The Stink Buck

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

The bucks, for their part, secrete their own strong hormones to help induce the females to ovulate. Researchers have long understood the effects of male odors on hormone levels in females, and have found that the length and timing of the menstrual cycles are markedly influenced by odors produced by males. This is why big bucks will always enter the field upwind of the doe herd. Not only does this promote estrous, but also the buck can visually detect even the slightest sign of sexual arousal his scent might be causing in the doe.


Look for the Questions

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Good scouting is not so much looking for the answers as it is looking for the questions. In nature nothing is random and nothing happens by accident. The when and the where are a lot easier to figure out if we know what makes the wheel go around.


Whizzing in the Woods

Recent research indicates that deer cannot distinguish between human urine and deer urine.

I’ve known this for some time. I quit peeing into plastic jugs 20 years ago and in that entire time I have never seen a deer spooked at the scent of human urine.

In fact, I’ve had deer walk up, smell my urine, and lay down in it. I won’t go as far as to say that deer are attracted to human urine, but I will say it doesn’t spook them.


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.

We’re Not Hunting on Television

We’re not even living in a reality show either.
Outdoor Television has seduced us into believing that we only have to hunt like they do and we’ll be successful. Real hunts don’t take 30 minutes and big deer aren’t hiding behind every bush.
In real life little depends on what happens in the next ninety seconds. It takes more than 30 minutes to hunt a whitetail.
Real hunting is actually far better than it is on TV. It takes longer and the deer are harder to come by.

Flight Distance in Deer

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

How close a deer will allow you approach before fleeing is called flight distance. What is the flight distance of whitetail deer?

A deer’s flight distance has a lot to do with the terrain. An undetected deer will often let a hunter pass within a few yards if it. If a deer feels he has been seen he’ll never let you get close. For this reason, a hunter should avoid making eye contact with deer whenever possible.

A whitetail’s flight response to a man on foot in open terrain is about 150 yards. The flight response to a motorized vehicle is about 70 yards. This is because the car or pickup moves at a steady pace without arms swinging. Flight reactions are both learned and a genetic response developed over millions of years in the deer. Motorized vehicles have only been around a little over a hundred years, not nearly enough time for the deer to develop an instinctive response to.

Some hunters prefer comfort and laziness over common sense. The use of ATVs in hunting is a classic example. ATVs have probably saved more big bucks life’s than any other technological improvement to date. They are noisy, smelly, and jerk around a lot. All of which are flight triggers to the deer.

I see way too many people road hunting from ATVs. They’re hoping to get a shot at the buck from the ATV and thus avoid the necessity of either walking around are getting into a stand. While ATVs are a great way to get into a hunting area, they should never be used within a half a mile of were we hope catch a deer.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,

Book Review on Havlon Knives

Book Review by Steve Sorensen
Posted on January 16, 2013 by HavalonKnives
Buck Naked: The Straight Dope on Trophy Whitetails
by Jim Collyer
When a book arrives in my mailbox, unsolicited, I take a quick look and think, “Oh boy, another guy who thinks his whitetail insights are something special.”
“Oh boy!” is right – but this time I was very wrong!
It didn’t take me long to figure out Jim Collyer offers more than a hunting method, more than a how-to, more than a do-what-I-do approach to deer hunting. He offers a mindset, and when I started reading Buck Naked, I couldn’t put it down.
You won’t either because it contains secrets you’ve always wanted someone to reveal. Here are a few:
Is scouting really important? Yes – scouting means “evaluating the environment,” and you can’t understand deer in their world without doing that.
Do deer have a vocabulary? Yes – and it’s more than the vocal sounds they make.
Do some myths need busted? Yes – it might shock you that two of them are “hard work equals success,” and “big bucks are smart.”
Why are there more does than bucks? It’s not just because hunters are after the bucks.
The way Collyer answers these questions might seem surprising, but when you understand what he’s saying, a lightbulb over your head will turn on, and you’ll know he’s right.
Collyer approaches hunting with three principles:
1. An understanding of yourself (self-mastery).
2. An understanding of deer.
3. An understanding of how to carry out a real investigation.
This third principle is vital, and what most hunters are lacking. In fact, the reason hunters don’t succeed more, Collyer says, is “Big bucks don’t want to be found; that’s exactly why they are so hard to find.”
So, to be a successful deer hunter, you have to draw on the Sherlock Holmes in you. Scouting is more than taking note of deer sign, or watching deer through binoculars. It’s real investigative work. It’s the foundation of successful whitetail hunting.
You’ll find plenty more in this 132-page book to help you avoid unfilled tags. Find out more about it at the author’s website,, where you’ll also find a link to ordering it, and the price is only $14.95.
About Steve Sorensen
Outdoor writer and speaker Steve Sorensen writes an award-winning newspaper column called “The Everyday Hunter®,” and he is the editor of the Havalon Sportsman’s Post. He has also published articles in Deer & Deer Hunting, Sports Afield, and many other top magazines across the USA. Invite Steve to speak at your next sportsman’s event, and follow him at

Hunting Sheds

Among the whitetail hunter’s fraternity the spring search for shed antlers has become almost as competitive and widespread as hunting itself. Over the years I have found hundreds of shed antlers, the vast majority of which I didn’t even bother to pick up. A handful were of Boone & Crockett quality. What, if anything, can finding sheds do to help a hunter in his efforts to be more successful the following fall? The answer is plenty, if you know what to look for.

There are three things that affect the dropping of antlers: diet, stress, and hormonal fluctuations. The loss of hormones is the strongest determining factor. The largest bucks never seem to hold on to their headgear very long after the rut. Bucks fatigued from excessive fighting and breeding during the rut will be the first to lose their antlers.

Once I found a pair of fresh sheds on December 2 that clearly came from a “Booner.” The very next day I found an even bigger shed. Although finding sheds so early is unusual, it is even more uncommon the find a truly big buck carrying his antlers into January. I have spent a lot of year’s bow hunting in December and find it’s a race every year to get a big buck before he sheds. By the middle of December, panic starts to set in as we become aware that “Buckzilla” could become a “baldy” by morning.

Just like in deer hunting, the sheds from smaller bucks are much more common than those from larger bucks. Smaller bucks can keep their antlers well into February and March. For this reason small sheds offer us little valuable information.

The biggest bucks begin to lose their antlers shortly after the rut. I like to start looking for sheds as soon after the end of the hunting season as possible. December’s moist earth or fresh snow makes it a great time to look for tracks and to learn more about deer patterns in your area. Snow reveals the truths about the how’s and why’s of deer movement in any area.

Most importantly, if you find a monster shed, you’ll know exactly where that buck was during the rut, and should have a darn good idea where to look for him next fall. This is when you start looking for trees to hang a stand in next year. Look for nearby funnels, and brush thickets close to bedding areas. This is the one time of the year that busting a buck out of his bed won’t come back to hurt you. The buck has a whole year to forget about you. Regardless, be careful not to stress the deer anytime during the winter and early spring months.

I have used shed hunting to pattern several bucks over the years. It is often much more effective than preseason scouting, especially if you plan to hunt the rut.

I was looking for sheds and found an exceptionally large antler in a narrow timbered funnel. Towards the end of the season I hung a stand with hopes of catching the buck as he searched for does. About half an hour before the end of shooting hours I saw him coming. There was a large draw between us and I momentarily lost sight of him. I prayed he would come into view before it was too dark to shoot. He passed within twenty yards of the stand. As he quartered away, I let the air out of him.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,
Buy the Book for X-mas