Tree stands and blinds may be popular, but more bowhunters are recognizing that hunting whitetails from the ground offers not only a safer and more comfortable method of hunting but one that’s also effective and rewarding.
Bow hunters depend on the ability to stalk and kill deer from the ground without using a blind. Here are some tips that will help boost your success rate with this versatile technique.
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Hunting deer from the ground without a blind is an ideal option for archers who don’t have the time or resources to set up a stand or use pop-up camo blinds. Additionally, it provides great opportunities to get up close to whitetail deer while learning their natural behavior patterns.
When selecting a location for archery, you must take into account the sun, surrounding cover, and tree stands height. This will determine how far you can draw your bow without exposing yourself to deer predators and what shot opportunities exist.
Generally, the farther away from your deer you are, the closer you must be to draw your bow. Additionally, be aware of the prevailing wind direction on the property; this can make a major difference in the success of your hunt.
While sitting on the ground, you should be aware of your environment. Avoid stray limbs and leaves that could give away your position; also, small trees or bushes may help conceal you from deer.
Once you’ve selected a location suitable for your hunt, cover it well with sticks or vegetation to hide it from deer. Do this at least one week before hunting so the deer are less likely to notice when approaching a close range of your stand.
While hunting, be sure to move around a bit and stop periodically to take in the view and keep your head and ears alert. This can be especially helpful if you are using a grunt tube or other deer calling to draw the deer closer for bow range.
Before hunting, spend time scouting the land, reviewing trail cam pictures, and learning deer behavioral patterns. That is why many hunters make it a priority to do this each year before heading into the field.
When it comes to hunting, nothing beats the thrill of being within striking distance of a mature whitetail buck that has no idea you’re there. It’s an experience that is hard to describe and makes bowhunting all that much more enjoyable.
Bow hunting deer from the ground without a blind requires you to minimize your scent. You can do this by washing clothes, showering in scent-killing soap, dressing in camo and boots, spraying yourself down with scent-elimination spray, or even wearing face paint for protection.
You can also utilize a ground blind to control your scent. Archery shops often carry pop-up models that set up quickly and put you at eye level with your deer. While these may not be budget-friendly options, they provide great experiences and enable you to hunt different areas quickly.
Ground blinds reduce odors and mask your scent from those around you by placing camouflaged walls and screens between you and the deer. They’re more difficult to conceal than treestands, but they can provide a fun opportunity for archery while on the ground.
When using a ground blind, wind direction should be taken into account. A strong crosswind can fling your arrow over several feet and make it difficult to hit its target.
A great strategy for successful hunting is to select an area in the woods with a gentle breeze. You can identify this spot by observing where deer frequently feed and where windy conditions will likely move fawns during nightfall.
Select a stand that is close to one of these feeding locations. Doing so simplifies your scent-control strategies and eliminates the need to decide which trail you will cover.
Additionally, wind can affect your arrow flight and cause it to scream as it is shot. This makes it more challenging to get a clean shot when not comfortable with the environment. However, if you can position yourself correctly for bow hunting deer from ground level without using a blind, then it will be much simpler.
If you plan on bow hunting deer from the ground without a blind, be aware of your cover. While grass provides many advantages to hunters, it also serves as an excellent hiding place for predators and other wildlife.
Hunting on the ground can offer many advantages, such as accessing difficult-to-reach places. For instance, hunters may be able to reach steep, thick, or distant corners from their hunting platform that would otherwise be inaccessible with just their bow and equipment.
Another advantage of hunting from the ground is that you can quickly identify travel corridors, or areas deer use to move between bedding and feeding grounds. These corridors could range from a grassy waterway to an isolated low saddle in the open field.
By hunting along these major travel corridors, you can increase your chances of spotting a deer and getting a shot at him. But remember: hunting from the ground offers little room for error; therefore, be particularly quiet and motionless.
To further reduce the likelihood of detection, always wear cover-appropriate camo when moving around. Additionally, use a scent-eliminating spray before and during the hunt to keep everything from your clothing to guns, bows, and other hunting gear as free from odor as possible.
Additionally, be sure to wash your body, clothing, and gear with a scent-free soap before hunting and thoroughly dry them after you exit the woods. Furthermore, store all of your equipment outside or in sealed containers both before and during the hunt to reduce odors as much as possible.
To maximize your success when using ground blinds, close them as securely as possible but not so tightly that they completely block out your line of sight. You want to be able to observe everything around you 360 degrees, yet not so tightly that a buck cannot be seen while grazing.
The wind is an element you should be aware of if you plan on bow hunting whitetail deer from the ground without a blind. It can make all the difference in success and failure during this type of hunt, yet it’s often overlooked when taking pictures from above.
Many hunters make the mistake of neglecting or dismissing wind as an issue when in reality it can have a major impact on their hunt. From scent control to cover, wind can be your most reliable ally when searching for and targeting deer.
Simply put, windy days won’t keep deer from moving.
According to a study conducted by Penn State University researchers, deer movement on windy days is directly correlated to wind speed. To test their hypothesis, researchers tracked 26 adult deer in October 2013.
Their research examined how far each deer moved in light winds, medium winds, moderate winds, and heavy winds over 30 minutes.
What they discovered was truly remarkable: in light winds, deer moved at an average speed of 30 meters per hour; however, once winds began to pick up, these same deer began moving at a much faster rate – an astounding 65 meters per hour!
Though this may seem like a lot of movement, research shows that it’s not an insurmountable obstacle. They suggest that in areas where high winds are common, hunting doesn’t need to be completely canceled on windy days.
Instead, take advantage of windy days by finding areas that are protected from the breeze. These could include low bottomlands, on the lee side of a ridge, or inside a conifer swamp. With this strategy in place, you’ll be in a position to capitalize on deer movements during these gusty spells and learn more about how wind affects deer in your area and how best to exploit that knowledge when out hunting.