- By Brandon Wikman
When chasing whitetails with a bow in the confinements of branches, bushes, and brush blows, here’s a new tactic to try. Hunt your way to success inside a standing cornfield.
Standing corn offers a new set of challenges to desperate hunters drooling to fill their tag. Whitetails alter patterns, change bedding areas, and morph into an entirely different species during this time of year. Deer will completely modify their instincts after being pressured for nearly four months. I’ve spoken with many successful hunters who’ve found themselves nose-to-nose with bedded deer in rows of cornfields. Here are a few strategies that I’ve learned from the wise.
Weather plays a major impact on your ability to creep into shooting distance. Beating the whitetail’s keen sense of hearing is nearly impossible. Use the cornfield hunting approach when it’s windy, rainy, or snowing. The wind will mask your sound of approach by fluttering through rustling leaves. Rain can soak the sound and turn the crunchy, dry stalk leaves into soggy noise dampeners. Lastly, snow will also help dampen the sound of your stalk and help hide your movements. Falling snow acts as a slight camouflage that will help you get away with more stalking.
Thousands of endless cornrows stretch across hundreds of acres, which make spotting deer a very difficult task. It’s always important to carry high-quality binoculars. This will aid in locating specific parts of the animal, such as a tail, leg, or ear. Considering deer will bed parallel to the rows of corn, hunters must be aware of positioning. Lately, I’ve found using a 5-gallon bucket truly a charm. Standing on a bucket will give you a slight height advantage to peer through several rows ahead. The combination of a bucket, binoculars, and a patient pace will aid in your advantage.
You’ve got a nice steady drizzle, a handy set of binoculars, and a 5-gallon bucket, now what? This is where mastering the art of stalking comes into play. Always hunt a cornfield with the wind blowing parallel to the rows. You never want to hunt a cornfield when the wind is drifting your scent across the rows because deer will smell you coming before you even see them. Start at the beginning of the field and walk across the rows on the fields’ downwind side. Moving crosswind, slowly peek into each row and look both ways. Continue this slow and steady rate until you reach the other side of the field. Once you reach the side edge, move twenty yards up and cut across the rows again. You will continue this process until you spot a deer. If you happen to catch a glimpse and have a clear shot, take it immediately before it bolts. If not, carefully back up and sneak toward the animal until you have a clear shot Time is always on your side, be sure to use it.
Hunting in a cornfield with a bow is a technique I suggest all hunters try. Deer are often caught off guard because they rarely spot hunters sneaking up on them in a cornfield setting. This will give you a genuine opportunity of putting venison in the freezer before season closes.