There are many tactics that can be used for hunting whitetail deer. From walking all day with a stalk and spot approach to utilizing a tree stand and getting up in a tree, the strategies depend on may factors like terrain, land access, weather and much more. Below are some general tips for hunting deer from the ground.
Scouting: Before your hunt, spend time scouting the general area you plan to hunt. If you are hunting on public land – you will want to look at where legal parking spots are to park your vehicle. From these parking spots how close are you to food sources, natural water holes and access for you to get into. This will help you identify the best spots to start with.
Scent Control: A deer will smell you long before they ever see you. Deer have a keen sense of smell, so proper scent control is crucial. Use scent-eliminating sprays, wash your clothing with scent-free detergent, and avoid contaminating your hunting area with human odors. New technologies like an Ozone scent eliminators can be used before, during and after hunting. These devices “confuse” a deer’s ability to detect smell.
Wind Direction: Pay attention to the wind direction when choosing your hunting spot. Position yourself downwind (wind blowing into your face) of where you expect deer to approach, so they won’t catch your scent.
Concealment: Ground hunting requires excellent camouflage and concealment. Wear clothing that matches the environment, such as camouflage patterns that blend well with the surroundings. Consider using a ground blind or natural cover like bushes or trees to break up your outline. Ground blinds allow you to be mobile and try different areas. They can also help you stay out of the wind and offer a little warmth to help extend your time in the field.
Choosing a Spot: Look for natural funnels, pinch points, and areas where deer are likely to pass by. These could include travel corridors between feeding and bedding areas or along the edges of fields and forests. You will also want to look for bare spots of dirt – these are scrapes made by deer to communicate with each other. These almost always are paired up with “licking branches.” This is another way for deer to communicate territory and presence.
Decoys and Calls: Using deer calls and decoys can be effective in attracting deer. Use grunt calls, rattling antlers, or doe bleat calls to mimic deer vocalizations. Set up decoys to create a more realistic scenario.
Stay Still and Patient: Deer have sharp senses, so staying still and being patient are essential. Deer might take time to approach, so resist the urge to move around too much.
These general tips are a good starting point for hunting from the ground. Personal preferences, more experience, observing deer movement and talking with fellow hunters will help you perfect your technique to hunt from the ground.