There’s no feeling quite like anticipating a great hunt. As each day passes our emotions escalate, until a point where we basically forget about everything else except hunting. This may lead to sleep deprivation and a loss of appetite, as I can attest. It’s the feeling of finally getting a break and doing something you really enjoy.
As any hunter would do before their hunt, I checked the weather on the internet. I look at everything from detailed hourly, daily, weekly and monthly information to wind speed to barometric pressure. This can be a very useful tool for a conscientious hunter that plans hunts according to appropriate weather conditions or moon phases.
As my previous blog entry entailed, this past weekend’s hunt was supposed to be wondrous, to say the least. A fading moon, cold front and high pressure system moving into the Cheese State would break the disgusting snap of rain, heat and humidity. Finally, deer would be on their feet feasting on calorie-rich corn, soybeans and good ol’ food plots where my stand hung. Was it the hunt of my dreams...?
This weekend was miserable. Saturday’s temperature reached 87 degrees, while Sunday’s tipped 89! The humidity was so bad that I sat in my stand panting for air, and as I scaled down the tree stand my breath was all but taken away! To really top things off it rained every other hour, just enough to get me wet and soggy.
As the meteorologists predicted a few days prior to the weekend, temperatures would already be in the mid-60s. Apparently, that’s not going to happen for another couple days.
Saturday afternoon I sat in a white oak tree, surrounded by acorns and accompanied by a manmade pond. This spot is an ideal location, because it is roughly 80 yards inside the woods from a cornfield; a perfect staging area for deer to wait until twilight before sneaking into the field. The only deer I spotted was a fawn, a fawn with spots still on it to be exact.
Sunday wasn’t much better. We had a doe and fawn come in to drink at the brink of complete darkness. That’s all. If anything else, I was reassured that weather has a huge effect on deer movement, second only to human pressure. When temperatures hover 15-20 degrees above normal and the humidity level is at an extreme, it’s as if every deer has disappeared. This has been going on for roughly three weeks, but eventually this weather is going to break. Once it does, I can guarantee that deer will be tearing up those agriculture fields and food plots you’ve worked so hard at planting during shooting hours. It’s just matter of time, weather, and I guess you could toss in my patience!
As I said last week, chlorophyll is where I start but there is so much more to being scent free for hunting season. I try to get everything together before the season starts so that it is as effortless as possible and I don’t run out. Let me simply go through what I do when getting ready for a hunt.
I’d like to make an observation first. I have found that most women go out of their way to be as attractive in every way they can, even the way they smell. Every one of these women have one thing in common. They shave under their arms. The hair growing under a guy’s arms is a bacterial factory. When perspiration and bacteria mix with oxygen you have B.O. Plain and simple. This is why most guys, even after taking a shower in the morning, will smell ripe by 3pm if not before.
I know this is a touchy subject but let me continue. I have always weight-trained and I found that shaving under my arms did a lot for my appearance when I did a double bicep pose or was checking my form in the mirror while doing pull-ups for my Lats. Much to my surprise, I also found out that when I started shaving I didn’t smell nearly as bad late in the day as before. I’ve been shaving ever since. I’m a firm believer that this really helps me to stay as scent free as possible.
My scent-free regimen the day of a hunt starts by showering that morning. This does a couple of things for me. First, I wash off the oil on my skin and this makes a noticeable difference when it’s cold outside. When you expose freshly-washed, oil-free skin to the cold your pores shut and your body actually begins to insulate itself.
I then use a scent free shampoo and soap made by one of the well-known hunting supply manufacturers. I apply a scent-free deodorant as well. I’ve already washed my hunting clothes, underwear and everything I’m wearing with a scent-free, UV-free laundry detergent.
Here in Georgia we have what’s called the WAFFLE HOUSE. It’s a place you can eat 24/7. We always stop there for breakfast before going to the camp. At first we started going there just to eat; after a while though, we went there for entertainment. I would just laugh when we would sit down to eat and see hunter after hunter come in dressed in EXACTLY what they were going to hunt in including their blaze orange vests. They always sat in the smoking section. By the time these bozos got to the woods they smelled just like A PLATE OVERWELL WITH SAUSAGE AND HASHBROWNS SCATTERED, SMOTHERED AND COVERED. Don’t forget the dirty ashtray. It was hilarious and a crying shame all at once.
I never put on my camo until I get to my hunting site. There, I take it out of the scent free plastic bag I have them stored in. I completely spray every inch of the clothing with a scent-killer spray before I put them on. I spray my daypack and bow, too. You can also use one of the cover scents that smell just like leaf litter on the floor of the woods. I use rubber boots or, most recently, a special set of leggings that are waist high and come with a pair of slip-on shoes made of a scent free material. The manufacturer says that in tests, bloodhounds couldn’t track a man wearing these leggings. I’ve killed my biggest two bow bucks to date while using this product. I’m convinced the bucks never smelled my entry or exit trail to the stand. After all, isn’t that the whole idea?
The last thing I do is to use a mouthwash that totally deodorizes my breath even after brushing my teeth. I carry a small atomizer filled with scent killer in my daypack to use if it’s warm or I start sweating. If you’re hunting close to home and want to go ahead and dress before going, just put a couple of scent-free, large-size garbage bags over the back of the seat and one on the seat itself.
Sound like a lot of preparation? Maybe it is, but when I go through these steps my confidence is through the roof. I’m going up against the best nose in the woods. I need every advantage I can get to just be a spectator in his world. To be there without ever being noticed, like a ghost.
The bucks I hunt are older age class and got that way by being smart. One mistake on my part, one slip up because I got lazy then I might as well stick a fork in it because I’m done!! These are the techniques that I’ve found over many years work for me. Try them, tweak them and make them your own. You’ll thank me for it when the buck of your dreams walks into your shooting lane and you bring him home.
The whitetails at Bluff Bucks Outfitters have been really working the Moultrie setups. During the early part of August the owner, Butch Fox, and I set four trail cameras up and we’ve been getting some crazy pictures of gigantic bucks. Buffalo County Wisconsin is known for record class whitetails due to several variables, which include first and foremost, a Quality Deer Management program. They’ve also been lucky enough to have a hearty soil locking in essential minerals and creating several thousand acres of food. From an all-you-can-eat corn buffet to a soybean fest; food is practically everywhere. Having so many food sources actually posed the problem of where exactly to place the cameras.
Some of the cameras were placed along field edges where we’d be able to get a general idea of the amount of deer tearin’ up the food source. Another camera was hung near a waterhole. A waterhole is a unique spot to place a camera because your money shots are going to come from food plots, agriculture fields and anywhere you can bait. Yet, waterholes are places that I consider “secondary” hot spots, where deer are apt to go sooner or later, and with droughts in many parts of the country, “sooner”. You must remember: Deer get a lot of their water from the food that they eat. Especially early season corn and alfalfa.
I’ve been keeping my eye on a particular buck that’s been showing up recently and we’ve seen him in the field the last few evenings. He is a quality 8-point that I’d estimate at 3 ½ years of age. He’s a definite choice for me and if he happens to walk past the stand within 30 yards, he’ll be toast or I can guarantee an arrow will be flung at him!
As a rule of thumb, if you can photograph the same buck on a consistent manner, you’ve obviously done something right.
You’ve found his usual travel route.
You’ve remained anonymous to his presence.
You’ve found a general location that’s going to be hot for a few weeks, depending on what food source he’s hitting.
As I told you last week, now that I’ve killed my doe I’m preparing this week to go on a buck hunt. This weekend is going to significantly drop in temperature, a possible 20 degrees according to Mr. Weatherman... which can always be a tossup! With a cold front moving in towards Wisconsin and that full moon beginning to gradually fade; it should be a spectacular weekend. I can’t get my mind off of the buck images we captured. Taking into account several variables, it’s a week like this that big brutes typically hit the ground. It’s early enough that bucks are still coming out to the fields without being too pressured and also (fairly) easy to pattern because the peak rut is a good month away. With the combination of appropriate weather, moon phase and stand location (mine will be in the woods 60 yards from a soybean field) conditions aught to be considered ideal. And I will soon find out...
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