Hunting deer in the fall requires knowledge and skill. Success depends on understanding deer behavior at this time of the year and using the right gear and techniques for a successful hunt. Take a look at the following fall deer hunting tips and techniques:
Hunt Bucks by Tracking Does
The best way to find big bucks is to track the does. During peak rutting times – that is, in the fall – bucks are searching for does to mate with as well as fighting off other bucks for the chance to mate.
During peak rutting, does are likely to remain most of the time with their herds, with only occasional excursions. They avoid the males until the best moment for mating.
Although does may be “hiding”, bucks know some of their tricks and continue to seek them out. Identify the core areas for does and set up your tree stand or blind along connecting corridors. A big buck will likely present itself.
Just be cautious because bucks are aggressive at this time of year and much less timid around humans.
Use a Drag Rag
A drag rag soaked in high quality doe urine can help lure bucks in the fall. Bucks will pick up the scent and follow it.
First clear every other scent from the drag rag before completely soaking it in deer urine. Wear rubber boots as you drag the rag from your hunting spot to a high-traffic travel route. (Some hunters say to drag from an outer area toward your hunting spot, but this makes the scent weaker as it nears you.) Tie the drag to a nearby tree upwind from your tree stand.
Bucks will pick up the scent and may head toward your hunting spot.
Know Your Hunting Tree Stand
Fall deer hunting is about safety as much as the thrill. Get to know all of your equipment, especially your tree stand. Smart hunters know how to set up and take down their tree stands efficiently, quietly and safely.
There’s no worse feeling than having all your scouting efforts wasted. Take the time to practice assembling your tree stand low in a tree before deer hunting. Take a few turns getting in and out as quietly as possible, as the slightest noise can scare off deer.
Use High Quality Mouth Calls
Deer behave differently throughout the year. What attracts them during the fall hunting season may repel them in the winter.
Know how to use your deer calls during different rutting times. Grunting calls are the most effective in the early season while quick bursts of doe bleats may be better during peak rutting.
Mating can wind down post-rutting, so use doe bleats and contact grunts to reassure deer that the environment is safe and to draw them closer.
Make and Scout Mock Scrapes
Mock scrapes are a great way to attract bucks. Rubber boots and gloves are a must for hiding human scent when setting these up. Locate low-hanging licking branches about 40-inches off the ground to simulate where a doe might leave scent. Dig scrapes in high-traffic travel routes in mid-morning and early afternoon.
Use a branch or shovel to clear out a circle about 3-feet wide in the ground and douse it with high quality doe urine. Position your tree stand or blind downwind from the scrape and let the buck come to you. It’s also a good idea to scout re-opened scrapes late in the fall hunting season.
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