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Ask Winke
Avoiding Detection - Low Impact Strategies

  • doug from MO asks:
    last saturday my son was able to harvest his first deer with a bow and it was a great buck he hunted in one of our better spots but we knew there was a couple good bucks using the area and with the cold front I decided it was worth it to go in after one. shortly after he shot his deer another mature buck came thru the same spot right under the tree and moved out didn't seem to know anything was going on at all. We waited about an hour to go recover the deer which was not hard he made a great shot and the deer only went about 50 yards. however we did have to take an atv in to get it and we had some friends come out as everyone was excited about his first buck with a bow. how much damage do u think we did to the area and how long before the other bucks with start using that spot I have been watching the area from a distance all week and we are seeing a lot of does and small bucks coming out of the woods there every night. I want to hunt there this weekend but just not sure if it
    Winke Responds:
    Doug, First off, congrats to your son. That is very exciting! Some damage for sure, but the ATV is fairly common in the woods now and deer are not super scared of them. It was better than surprising the buck at close range and spooking him. At least with the ATV he had plenty of time to hear it and move off. My guess is that within a few days he was back to normal there. Good luck. (10-16-14)
  • Brent from IA asks:
    Bill: I know your strategy is to walk in for morning hunts when you just start to see the ground. I tried my first AM hunt on 10/22 here in Iowa and the timber floor conditions are incredibly noisy due to lack of any significant recent moisture. I swear every deer within 150 yards heard me walking (some of which was on a partially covered dirt path!!) Would you suggest an earlier entrance time for AM hunts until we can get a decent rain to quiet down the timber floor?? Or should a person only hunt mornings with a decent wind to dampen the noise?? I really like morning hunts but I don't think any measure of patience can offset the noise of the timber floor right now.
    Winke Responds:
    Brent, I don't think an earlier entrance will help. You need wind to cover the noise. I often avoid my favorite stands on still days because I know I can't get in there clean. You may also need to rake the trail once all the leaves are down. I have a friend who runs to his stands when it is really dry, trying to sound like a buck chasing a doe. It has worked for him too! That is a bit extreme, but shows good creativity. You will have to wait - just like me - for some winds to cover the noise before hunting stands in the timbver. Good luck. (10-26-11)
  • Nathan from AL asks:
    You said in another poster's question that you hunt 50 yards in side the fringes. Do you not go in any further to the woods than that to hunt to protect bedding areas? Also, do you ever use mock scrapes or make scrape lines to hunt? Sorry for all the questions I just love learning about hunting. Nate Dog
    Winke Responds:
    Nate, That was an answer specific to the fellow's qustion. I sometimes hunt deeper if I am sure I can get in and out without detection. Normally that means hunting bedding areas (usually ridges here) in the mornings. I don't mess with mock scrapes or scrape lines. I don't really know for sure if they work or not. They may work great, I have just never gotten into using scents for my hunting. Good luck.
  • josh from OR asks:
    hey Bill, i have been staring at this aerial photo for what seems like hours, i have hunted this land for at least 20yrs so i know the lay of the land. what am i missin, i have a creek and a couple of ridges on the property and for the most part i do not intrude into the interior part of the property,any ideas? Oh ya when you say hunt the fringes i take that as no more than 50yds inside the tree line, and that is the main areas i hunt is this too far in or not far enough? thanks josh
    Winke Responds:
    Josh, I try to stay as far from core as I can while still setting up on realistic travel routes. These can be fence lines, creek crossings, etc. But your strategy to stay within 50 yards of the edge should produce a number of good stand locations as much of the travel occurs just inside the cover. You are on the right track. Hunt good travel routes but stay out of the sensitive core of the area. Good luck.
  • Mike from WI asks:
    I have talked to many hunters about whether or not it is okay to pee by your tree stand. I have shot many deer after I have peed off my stand. Do you think I could shoot more if I don't do this?
    Winke Responds:
    Mike, Nope, I do it too. I don't think it makes any difference. Good luck.
  • Brian from MI asks:
    The property I hunt is mainly big woods and cedar swamp with a few food plots that we have planted scattered about the property. My question is, when hunting a food plot or destination field during an evening hunt and you have many deer still feeding at dark, how do you exit your stand location without spooking the deer? I find it to be impossible. And how does this affect the deer?
    Winke Responds:
    Brian, If you spook them when you climb down, that is definitely a bad thing. You have a couple of options. 1. have someone drive in and move the deer off the field so you can climb down after they leave. While not ideal it is better than spooking them. 2. Have some kind of diversion you control. I have heard of guys using remote control "monster trucks" to move the deer off the field at dark. They hide it in the grass and then drive it out and ram it around a bit. Again, that is not ideal either, but still better than climbing down into the deer. Of the two, having someone drive to the field is the better option as it will seem more like normal human activity to the deer. The other method is to set up just off the field or in a spot where the deer have to feed past you to get to the best parts of the field. Also setting up near a dip or ditch will help you to get out of sight quickly once you get to the ground. I have used this method a number of times successfully. Usually it will take some experimenting and some creativity to arrive at the best escape plan, but you can't just climb down and spook them. Long-term that will kill the stand. Good luck.
  • Nick from PA asks:
    Bill, I have read your articles since I started bowhunting as a kid, 16 years ago, and I can't tell you how much they've molded me as a hunter and contributed to my success. Thank You! I've been struggling with this question since I started to put more time into pre-rut bucks. If mature bucks always move with the wind to their advantage, in their faces, then how do you effectively hunt them by setting up down wind? Won't they walk the opposite direction when they get up, etc.? I'm referring mainly to pre-rut bucks but any and all insight would be greatly apprecitated. Thanks again.
    Winke Responds:
    Nick, They don't always move into the wind. I see them walking with the wind at their backs all the time. The thing that keeps them alive is that most of them are nocturnal. The ones that showed daylight tendencies all got shot! I am not joking. It is a personality thing. Some bucks are inclined toward daylight movement and others aren't. It is no surprise that the ones that move during the day don't make maturity in PA. Only a few of them make maturity here in Iowa. It is only in areas with large blocks of very disciplined management that these "dumb" bucks make it to full maturity. That is what I wish I was hunting right now - an area big enough and managed well enough to have old "dumb" bucks on it! Good luck.
  • J.R. from VA asks:
    Mr Winke, Greetings From Va. love your articles and show. Was wondering.... I hunt on 20 acres [bow only] on a wooded lot surrounded by farm land. Great spot and lots of deer, but worried about over hunting the spot.Around here permission to hunt on land is rare or already hunted, so this is all I have. Any suggestions on how to hunt such land without being detected? This was my first year on this property and so far they do not know I'm there, but that won't last long.
    Winke Responds:
    JR, You are right, they are really good at figuring out they are being hunted. You have to take every possible precaution to make a small property produce for any length of time. For sure, you can only hunt the edges until you get right down to your last day or two of hunting. Also, be sure to hunt only the downwind fringe. Wear some kind of scent eliminating booties such as Elimitrax as you go in and out to keep your clothing from leaving scent on low brush. You need to have low profile routes in and out. I am not sure if you have these, but take full advantage of standing crop, fence lines, ditches, etc. to get in and out without being seen. My guess is that this will be the hardest part. If you can't get out without alerting deer, you will need someone to drive in and move the deer off so you can get out. Just think logically about it. What are the many ways the deer might determine you are hunting there and get creative as you try to defeat each of them. Good luck.
  • Abe from IL asks:
    Looking for a barrier or fence like grass 5-8 feet tall to create a line of sight blockage. perinnial or annual?
    Winke Responds:
    Abe, Switchgrass is OK, not quite tall enough but you can crouch and sneak behind it. Big Bluestem is taller but breaks down easily and hits the ground under snow conditions. Other perennials are risky. For example, there are some invasives such as pompas grass and there are a few others. I can't remember the names of them now. An agronomist can help you there and likely the local USDA office and tell you who that is in your area. Annuals are much safer from an invasive stand point and can be good. Of course, corn is one of them if the deer numbers are not too. In areas with high numbers, forage sorghum is a better idea. It grows thick and tall, deer will eat the heads eventually, but will leave the plant alone during the summer. However, it is cosly to plant (requires a lot of nitrogen). If you can contain them, the exotic grasses (often called "ornamental grasses" - google it) are worth considering.
  • Brian from MO asks:
    Any tips on getting to and from your stand with snow on the ground? Im hunting small woodlots and fingers surrounded by picked crop fields. I went in yesterday afternoon and it seemed I scared every deer on the planet. They can see you and you can see them so easy with a white background. They bed so close to the food, often right on the fringes of see through cover. Any ideas? On a different note I am reading your book hunting hard for whitetails. Very good read. Thanks Bill.
    Winke Responds:
    Brian, You really need to wear snow camo. We are all going to snow camo now because it is so hard to get in and out when the deer are bedding so close to their feeding areas. I feel that is part of the reason we don't see more mature bucks - we often move a few deer off the edge of the field when we go in and those deer are sure to send a suspicious message to any observant bucks back in the cover. Snow camo works in the tree too, so I would definitely consider that route. Also, be sure to hunt only those spots where you can slip in the side door rather than going for broke and heading right into the middle of the action. I would rather sit along the fringe of the movement area trying to hit singles than swinging for the home run and striking out. Be conservative. It can be very, very challenging hunting.
  • Brian from MO asks:
    Bill, I've been reading a lot of your past Q&A and must say I have learned quite a bit. I have a question about a farm that I can hunt as far as entry and exit routes. The farm is 80 acres of row crop with a nice wooded creek running right through the center. The awesome thing is the creek connects two large tracts of timber on either side of the 80, and I've seen some really nice bucks over the years. The farm is bordered on the east by the county road and there is a nice ditch that goes from the road to the creek. The problem I'm having is where to park. The only options I have is to park in the field next to to road and ditch entry, or the driveway to the property which is right in the middle of the farm. I have had bad experiences bumping NICE deer parking in the driveway. Do you think my truck parked in the field next to the ditch, out by the road will deter deer? Should I park at our 40 acres about half mile away and just ride a bad boy to the 80? Thanks!
    Winke Responds:
    Brian, Of all the options you have suggested, the Bad Boy Buggy is by far the best. Deer may not be too afraid of the vehicle sitting there but they aren't going to like it when they hear you pull in on a still morning. I would much rather run the Buggy over there, or even walk the 1/2 mile. Good luck.
  • Frank from PA asks:
    hi i have a question. how do i see more deer. i hunted this soy field early in the season and shot my first deer which was a doe. i seen 14 deer that day 3 of which were buck and one of those a shooter. since then i have not seen any deer
    Winke Responds:
    Frank, Deer are very sensitive to hunting pressure. If you get in there with the wrong wind or you accidentally bump the deer going in or out, or your scent blows to them when you are walking in, etc. In other words, if they can sense they are being hunted, they will shift their habits. That is the true art of deer hunting and why the first time you hunt a new spot is nearly always your best hunt in that location. Try to find a new area that is fresh. The better you learn to hunt without detection the more often you can hunt an area effectively, but even the most careful hunter will eventually burn out an area.
  • Rick from PA asks:
    I got a question for ya? This morning oct 29th I rattled in a solid 130" buck here in central Pa I rattled him into 20 yds drew back and realeased only to hit a limb about 10 yds in front of me I watched the arrow sail over the bucks back he ran about 25 yds downwind and stopped and kept checking the air and with the thermals I know he didn't smell me he stood there stone still for 10 mins or so and walked over to a scrape freshened it, tore a tree to scrubs rubbing it and walked away.Do you think I still have a chance to get another crack at this buck.
    Winke Responds:
    Rick, Absolutely. He has no idea what happened. I wouldn't hesitate to hunt there again as soon as the conditions are right. Good luck.
  • Jacob from MO asks:
    Well bill The buck i have been setting up on coming out of the bedding area finally made a mistake and came out at 5 30 last night. He is atleast a 4 and a half year old buck. probably around a 130, good for deer that have virtually nothing to eat. he came in at twenty yards and started to make a scrape and i missed him!! i couldnt believe myself. he didn't spook though, he circled around me and came in to about 30 yards but i couldnt get a shot. he isnt spooked so do you think he will come through again?
    Winke Responds:
    Jacob, Bummer. I could tell you a few stories about my own misses over the years that might make you feel better about yours, but it is too depressing for me to write about them. To answer your question, yes, I think he will return at least he will stay on daylight patterns in that area. They are never so patternable that you can predict which trails they will use, but you should another crack somewhere in that area. Good luck.
  • Steve from KS asks:
    I recently hunted a stand on my farm that is on the fringes of a bedding area. The wind shifted from the forcasted prediction shortly after daylight and put the bedding area directly downwind of me. It did not take long to hear the dreaded snort alarm and I wasted no time exiting the stand. I wonder if i did the right thing, move out then and there, or stick it out and hope that the deer that winded me will move along. This was the first time that stand, or area, has ever been hunted and I fear I did some damage by exiting during the morning "prime time". I guess my question is a basic one; do you stay or go in this situation??
    Winke Responds:
    Steve, I think you did the right thing. You may have spooked only one of the deer using the area. Had you stayed on stand, you might have spooked more of them. I think it is always wise to leave a stand as soon as you realize the wind is going to kill you. If it turns just marginal, but not dead wrong, I'll usually stick it out.
  • Jim C from IL asks:
    My question is what do you consider a "burnt out" stand-site, or given a somewhat dominate wind pattern, how many days (morning and night) would you hunt a stand before you feel youve contaminated the spot with too much scent? I hunt on less than 50 acres for the most part and I worry after about the third day if im leaving too much scent in the area regardless of stand rotation.
    Winke Responds:
    Jim, It can be done, but you have to hunt really carefully and really conservatively. In effect, most of the hunting area has to be a sanctuary, or you have to rely on shooting deer passing through between neighboring properties. Either way, you can't hammer a farm that size. I would focus just on the stands that you feel you can get and from without alerting deer, even if they aren't the best spots on the farm. Focus on access first. Stick to the fringes. Look for travel route stands and steer clear of bedding areas and feeding areas. You will educate and disrupt deer faster in the bedding and feeding areas than you will in a travel funnel. When the wind is right and you have a nice concealed access route to and from the stand, you can probably hunt it nearly every day. I once hunted a stand 12 out of 14 mornings one year without burning it out. And that was on a farm where I had many options. The stand was on the fringe of the high activity areas, but not right in it and I was able to get to and from it easily. I was hunting a big 8 pointer there, but I never got him. I hope that helps.
  • Colten from MI asks:
    I've been hunting one piece of property for several years now. Every year I see several small bucks and an occasional mature buck. This year however, I've seen a mature 8 pt. several times. I have him patterned right now on where he feeds and beds. I know he's coming out basically every night to feed in the field in front of me. I am just wondering how to hunt this deer. I'm afraid that he will change and move when the rut begins because I've not seen many does this year. Should I hunt him every night until I get a shot, risking over-hunting him? I don't want to push this deer off the the small property as he will surely get shot if he spends much time on the adjacent ones. Any info. on what I should do?
    Winke Responds:
    Colten, Don't take crazy risks, but I would hunt him aggressively when the conditions are right. Think your way through the whole thing and select the winds that will work and then when you have those winds, hunt him where you think he will come out. Do that every night the conditions a right until you get him or the rut takes him off his pattern. You might need to figure out a creative way to get away from your stand at dark. You can't afford to spook him or any other deer at this time or they will stop using that food source during daylight. It is time to be aggressive when you have a buck patterned, passive until you do. Don't burn out your spots by hunting them too hard or too aggressively until you know there is something there you want to shoot. Good luck.
  • Jeff from MO asks:
    I have several food plots that I hunt and I know the best way to hunt them is between the bedding area and the food, however some of the plots/farm don't allow that kind of access without spooking deer. This means I stay back and hunt on the edge of the plot. I try not to overhunt and I am very cautious about the wind but I am not sure what the best exit method is at night if the buck I am after does not show up. I don't like scaring and educating the smaller bucks and does when I leave. I have tried to howl like a coyote (granted a very sick sounding coyote). I would prefer someone to drive a truck to the edge but all my friends are hunting too so this posses a problem. Is it better to bump the deer like that or just wait until it is very dark and just try my best to sneek out off the field? How do you leave a field edge after an unsuccessful hunt?
    Winke Responds:
    Jeff, I try to set up where I can drop out of sight as soon as I am on the ground. Then I wait til dark, climb down and slip out that way. Try stay back off the field edge just a bit so you have some hope of hiding behind vegetation as you sneak out. Some spots simply can't be hunted without alerting deer. Then you have to make the decision whether it is actually worth it. I would start thinking of more creative ways to clear the field. For example, I often shoot a doe shortly before climbing down and she clears the field for me. I wonder if you could clear the field with a remote control big wheel truck like the kids buy at Wal-Mart? Just a thought - and not a bad one. Good luck.
  • Clint from AR asks:
    Bill, Love the show and really enjoy the diversity of the different states this year. My question is: last Saturday I had two mature bucks walk under my stand but it was too dark to shoot. I thought I gave them enough time to leave, but soon realized they watched me come down the tree. I spooked them when I reached the ground. How likely is it they will be educated about that tree and have you had any experiences like this?
    Winke Responds:
    Clint, That doesn't sound good. You can sometimes get away with spooking a mature buck and have a good chance of seeing him again soon as long as he doesn't know exactly where the sound of smell comes from. But when he can pinpoint you to a particular tree, that makes it tougher. I would say that they will likely come back, but they will likely be very cautious around that tree and may even stand back and watch it carefully. Give it a week or ten days and who knows, maybe they weren't spooked as bad as you think. Maybe they simply knew something was wrong but weren't able to determine the disturbance was a person.
  • Tom from IL asks:
    Bill, I sent you a question under the contact us section about how long I should let a site sit after spooking the deer herd after shooting light. Then I saw this link. Anyway feel free to use that question in this section. Tom
    Winke Responds:
    Tom, After spooking deer, I like to let a spot sit for a week, but I have several spots so I can afford this luxury. If you have only a limited number of stand sites, just let it sit as long as possible before going back. Good luck.
  • Brandon from NC asks:
    I was hunting the other evening when two nice 8 pointers come in on me right at dark and they was really spooked about me being there and as i went to draw back on one of them the other one seen me and blew at me.My question is how long will it take them to come back into my stand or will they ever come back in? Thank you.
    Winke Responds:
    Brandon, It might be tough to get those bucks back to that tree any time soon without them looking up to see if you are there. I would say at least a couple of weeks, but that is pure guesswork. I doubt they will abandon the area for the entire season, but they are likely to be more careful there than they were in the past and that means they are more likely to see you than before.
  • Ian from WI asks:
    Bill i am disgusted with myself i broke the cardinal rule and got greedy. I hunted my best stand ealry during this past cool off with the wrong wind. I was winded by a doe and she sat weezing and stomping her foot at me for 30min i also spooked a 145 buck altho he didnt smell me. ugh so have i ruined this stand for the season or how long should i wait to hunt it again also have u ever done this urself... i was looking for the jackpot didnt turn out so hot
    Winke Responds:
    Ian, I have definitely done it enough times to learn from it. I guess that is the value of experience. You have to know what the risks are for whatever you do in the woods. I don't hunt those good stands now until the best times. However, I am sure the stand is not ruined. I would simply wait until what you consider the "best times" and hunt it then. Fortunately, the deer have time to get back in there and feel comfortable again. I have found that it usually takes about a week to get things back to normal after I botch a hunt and spook a few deer. It may never be as good as it would have been if I had never spooked any deer, but it will at least be good enough again that it is worth hunting.
  • Zach from MI asks:
    I own 120 acres and 107 are crop fields, we try to pressure it minimally but with 3 to 4 of us I find that hard to do. What tips would you have to help me figure out a way for it to work for us? Also what do I have to do to try and become part of the pro staff or part of midwest whitetails? Thank you
    Winke Responds:
    Zach, I don't see how you can hunt 3 or 4 guys on 13 acres of cover without quickly destroying it. About all you can hope to do is stay on the downwind edge of the cover and use natural cover such as crops, fence lines, ditches, etc. to get in and out without being seen, heard or smelled. It would be very tough to get more than a couple of good stands into such an area. You may also consider setting up on travel routes to and from the cover and leaving the cover itself alone so the deer feel comfortable staying there. As soon as you start to go into that small cover, you will quickly educate most of the deer using it. Be very careful with every move and think about minimizing your impact on every step. Check with us after the season if you are still interested in the pro staff, there may be openings. Thanks and good luck.
  • Dale from MN asks:
    Bill, love your website. Very well done and I look forward to following the hunts this season. I have a small 40 acre woodlot and have access only from the northwest corner. Any tips on accessing my woods without blowing out the deer. Once they are bumped from it the hunt is over for the day. Keep in mind I have a gate that needs to be opened if I drive in. Should I limit my hunts to evenings (sneak in along the edges) or mornings when the deer should be out feeding in the fields surrounding it? The prevailing winds are working against me.
    Winke Responds:
    Dale, There is no doubt, that is not an ideal setup. Any kind of south wind will work, but if you have to come in from the NW with a NW wind, you are toast. I guess I would find additional places to hunt and use this one only for south or east winds. It doesn't matter if you hunt it in the morning or the evening, you have to get in there without being scented and that is going to be really tough. Of the two, the morning is likely the better option because, as you state, the deer are elsewhere so you may be able to get in ahead of them and not have your scent spook too many of them. Personally, I would work really hard to find additional spots.
  • Adam from MN asks:
    Hi Bill, Love the show. The question that I have for you is, When in the stand during early season you have a group of does come out right away and you know that there are good bucks in the area and you know the times they come out. Do you wait or fill your doe tag first? Thank you for your time Adam
    Winke Responds:
    Adam, Thanks for your support. If you ask me what I do, I shoot the does first because I like shooting them. If I was trying to shoot a particular buck and had him patterned on that field, I would pass up the does for sure. They definitely make a disturbance when they run off the field and the bucks will pay attention to that.
  • Curtis from OH asks:
    Bill, I'd like to start off by saying I love your show. I live here in ohio, and have several farms to hunt that have limited cover,but lots of sign. For example 50 to 60 acres with 5 or 10 acres of cover,and fence rows. One spot in particular is very thick but every time I go near it I jump deer. What is an effective way to hunt these places? Thanks for your time.
    Winke Responds:
    Curtis, You have no choice but to stay back and hunt those deer in other areas nearby. The only option being if you can sneak in through standing corn or behind some tall cover. If you jump a deer in a five acre wood lot, every deer in there knows what happened and you are going to have a hard time shooting one there that day. Another option is to hunt mornings and get in there very early by way of the most secluded route. I would be looking for funnels (fence lines) leading in and out of the small cover areas and hunting them in these places until you can come up with a super sneaky way to get closer.
  • Jake from IN asks:
    Hey Bill love the show, I was lucky enough to find a incredibale set of sheds this year the right was 88 3/4 and the left was 85 1/2 inches need less to say I am putting allot of time ino this Buck for this season. I have already put up a new stand in the best spot for easy entery and exit it's right on the edge of the thick cover and the open end of the woods were there is a couple of good draws. The problem is the cover is still incredibaly thick, so my question is how crazy should I get opening up shooting lanes exc. Or should I just try and shoot the holes I have so as not to disturbe anymore than I have to. Just looking for any tips or thoughts. Obviosly I am not talking about mowing down the whole woods but a couple of substantial openings. Also I am going to try an catch this hunt on camera, didn't know if you would be interested in that for your Indiana segment, first thing first gotta get this big boy in range. Thanks Jake
    Winke Responds:
    Jake, I appreciate your support. I think during the off-season like this you can get pretty aggressive in cutting lanes because the intrusion will be long forgotten by the time the season rolls around. In fact, the sooner you can get it done the better. I would probably take a chainsaw along and even if you don't actually use it to cut the lanes, having it running seems to let the deer know that you aren't up to anything sneaky. It is weird, but often it pays to make a lot of noise rather than risk sneaking up on them. I would much rather drive a tractor in, get off, start a chainsaw and then do my work than to sneak in. I don't know how they have figured this out, but if you make a lot of noise they don't seem to feel as though you are up to anything. If you are seriously planning to film, send me an e-mail on the site and lets see about getting you involved early with the quest for the big deer. It might work out to include regular updates in your efforts to kill him. That would be a lot of fun to watch. Good luck.
  • Matt from IA asks:
    First off, thank you for such a great show! My question...We located a buck last summer proably 4.5 yrs and probably around 160-165. I got him on trail cam 3 times last year, Once in the summer, twice during the rut.Never saw him during season, until late muzzle, but when he did show up had already shed out. Could tell it was him by large patch of hair missing on his back. We found his right side not far from bedding area. With hopes that he made it this year, we put a trail camera over a mineral lick last week, and when I checked the camera, he was back and had over 80 pics of him 2 days in a row. Nervous that I might scare/burn him out of the area, I pulled the camera. The area is open CRP ground, and fairly high pressured hunting. What would you do in that situation? Should I leave that area alone with the camera and not to scare him, or should I let him get used to the camera.
    Winke Responds:
    I guess if you know he is there, that is really the most valuable thing the camera can provide (other than cool pix). Since you know that, I would leave him alone. It sounds like he lives right there. If you want to keep tabs on him now, I would look to glass him from a distance on soybean, clover or alfalfa fields starting in mid-July through August. After that, I would probably leave him alone again and wait until just the right time to hunt him. Hunt him only from stands you know you can sneak to and from and where the wind is perfect. Then be a bit more aggressive when the rut activity is at its best. I would recommend hunting the best stand you have during the Nov. 6 to Nov. 8 timeframe (assuming it is cool). That is just a rough plan, but I would tend to be conservative in order to keep the buck relaxed in his home area.
  • Randy from MN asks:
    I hunt in central mn primarily on my parents 120 acre farm. The farm is 3/4 fields but plenty of funnels for the deer to make there way about. My problem here is i know where the best bedding spot in the area is but i cannot get to it without being detected. On the north end of our hay fields is a 25 acre swamp bordered to the north of that by a 30 yard deep by 200 yard wide strip of poplars with tall grass. This funnel is where i have seen large bucks bed over the years and has a 4 acre field covering the north side of it. that unfortunately is the end of our property and when we hunt that back field it is almost certain we bump deer either in or out. With fields to the east of us and bedding to the north on the nieghbors(unaccessable) and the deer seem to move in all directions at dusk bouncing from field to field. there are no good trees in the poplar line to stand hunt and going through the swamp is a nightmare and usually alerts the deer on the otherside. Any ideas appreciated
    Winke Responds:
    Randy, I would have to look at an aerial photo to really understand that situation better. What you descibe, however, is the toughest of all situations in deer hunting - places where access is limited and it is tough to get in and out without alerting deer. If you have a way to drive in there, such as a tractor, for example, that might be a good way to get dropped off near your stand and picked up from the stand after legal shooting time. The deer are likely not too afraid of tractors and though they will move out of the way, they generally aren't alarmed. It is worth a try. Otherwise, there may be a way to cut a trail through the swamp somehow or make entry and exit by this route easier in some way. Again, I would have to know more abou the situation. If after trying every creative solution you can think of, you simply can't find a way to get in and out, you may have to sneak in well before daylight, hunt all day and sneak out well after dark. It is a lot of extra work, but sometimes that is the price you have to pay. Don't take the easy route or the obvious approach if you know you are going to alert deer. You are better off, in that case, to simply not hunt that part of the farm. In other words, if you can't hunt it without alerting deer, wait to hunt that area until the last few days of your hunting vacation. Good luck.
  • loren from IA asks:
    bill)i love the show my queston is in the loess hills there is some wide valleys will the wind swirl too much to hunt in the valleys i know the wind stay more constant on the top but in the bottoms really look neat enjoyed talking with some of your guys at both iowa and nebr. deer classics thank you and keep the great shows a coming
    Winke Responds:
    Loren, Thanks for your support. If the valley is wide enough you can get away with hunting the bottom and enjoy consistent winds. The needed width is related to wind speed and height of the adjacent hills. I can't offer a good rule of thumb on that other than suggesting that you do a little scouting with some wind floaters or some light powder to see if the wind stays consistent when it is blowing across the valley. It generally will stay consistent blowing down the valley, but with narrow valleys, it will swirl when blowing across the valley.
  • Scott from MI asks:
    Bill, Where I hunt in MI is all farm land and fence rows. I hunt the fence rows usually with corn on one side and beans on the other. I have 13 stands set up on 4 different small farms and all are on fence rows. The problem with this is it is hard to find a good mourning spot without spooking every deer out feeding in the bean fields. But one small 40 acre farm that I hunt is planted in corn, and smack dab in the middle of it is a short, thick, fence row about 10 yards wide and 100 yards long and totally surrounded by corn. there is a tree big enough to get a stand in. do you think it would be a good am spot with most the deer out feeding in the beans? Have you every hunted a spot like this? Is the risk of bumbing a mature buck to great? the only problem is I will not only be in there bedroom, but I will practically be hidding under there bed? Thanks in advance Scott Withers P.S. congrats on getting 3 hunts on the new monster bucks DVD's
    Winke Responds:
    Scott, You have a tough situation. I would be inclined to wait and hunt the fencerow in the middle of the corn for a morning hunt only after about October 30. That way you have kept the spot fresh and the bucks should be milling through looking for does at that time. Obviously, if the farmer picks the corn sooner that is not an option. If he picks the corn before the rut, I would find out when he is going to pick it and hunt the spot the last three or four mornings before it is gone. Once the corn is gone, you have almost zero chance of approaching that spot. Good luck.
  • Thad from AL asks:
    First I have to say that I really enjoy your website and I recommend it to everyone I know. My question is, I go to Greene Co. Illinois every year the second full week of November, I only have 6 day's to make it happen, how aggresive can I afford to be? I have had 2 good buck get away early in the hunt because I didn't want to get to aggresive early in my hunt. Any advise would be great and keep up the great show's and articles!!
    Winke Responds:
    Thad, I would be conservative for the first three days and more aggressive for the last three unless you have a lot of land to hunt where you can afford to hunt only the best stands in high activity areas once and move on the next one. With smaller land holdings (160 acres or less) I would be conservative for three days hunting the edges and then dive right in to the hot spots for the last three. Again, with more land, I would hunt aggressively the entire time. Good luck and thanks for your support.
  • Jason from TX asks:
    Hey I don't really have a question for you. More of a tip. In watching your shows, having difficulty getting out of your stand with deer in you area, one method my family and I use, is to carry a coyote howler. It clears the deer out, but doesn't send them to the next county. I have actually used it in the past, gotten out of the stand, and once I was in the distance and looked back, I have seen deer already coming back. It is something they are used to hearing, but enough of an alert to allow you time to get out of the stand. Thank you for the shows. They are really great to watch. Keep up the good work.
    Winke Responds:
    Jason, Good tip. Thanks. I'm sure everyone appreciates it. Believe it or not, when I used to hunt a farm with a lot of deer, I would often have them bed near me in the morning. To get down without spooking them, I would carry a slingshot and rocks from the driveway. I would plink the nearest one. It would run off and the others would follow. The next day the same deer would be back again. They never knew why they were running. Thanks. Bill
  • Ehren Pavese from IN asks:
    How important is it to not over pressure areas while shed hunting. My spots are limited, but I try to wait about a week before returning to look for more sheds. I know if I spend to much time in certain areas I will push the deer out. Also, I was wandering if you could post a picture of a draw so when i scout land with sattelite views I will have a better understanding of what to look for. Thanks for your time.
    Winke Responds:
    Ehren I'll have to upload an article about reading the terrain using topos and aerials to the site. I can't upload to this page. I would think that by going into your hunting area weekly to look for sheds you aren't doing major damage. I usually don't try to sneak around at times like that. Make some noise so the deer can sense that you are harmless and they will likely just circle right back in after you leave. Good luck. Bill
  • Peter from WI asks:
    Hey Bill-I have a stand that I am very worried about my scent. It is on a ridge, but there is a little bit of flat distance between where I am and where the ridge drops off so I don't think I can assume all of my scent is over the deer's head on a light wind. If I am 25ft off the ground how strong of a wind do you think it would take to keep my scent above the deer if they are on top of the ridge, within shooting range?
    Winke Responds:
    Peter, It is not really the strength of the wind that matters. It is really more about the steadiness of the breeze. A consistent, steady wind, even if only 5 mph, will carry your scent smoothly aloft for about 15 yards before it hits the ground from that height. If the ground drops off it will be much farther than 15 yards. However, if the wind is gusty, it will swirl some, even on the ridge tops. When it gusts and ebbs it will carry your scent all over the place. I hate gusty winds. It is nearly impossible to control your scent on those days. Good luck.
  • Adam Rundle from MN asks:
    Bill my question is. Can you over hunt a particular area when you know there's a good buck in that area?
    Winke Responds:
    Adam, You can definitely over-hunt a particular area. Every spot is different. Some of them allow for undetected entry and exit and they set up well for the wind and for concealment. You can hunt these types of stands more often. However, stands that are in locations that are hard to get to without bumping deer or are in places where the wind swirls or where deer can get downwind of your stand, are much easier to burn out. I tend to avoid such places all together but if you must hunt them, do so only after you have hunted several stands in the same area where you have less impact. You would hate to blow out many of the deer in your area on the first few sits. I try to move around often. I probably have about 20 good stand locations (I don't have stands in all of them) so I always have fresh options for each wind. If you think in terms of how much impact you will have and not as much in terms of the sign present, you will start choosing stands that you can hunt more often. Good luck.