I Like You

As I contemplate my rock and roll tour of mid-America for whitetails in the coming months I occasionally have indecisiveness. My main uncertainty is whether to stick with the same tree in hotspot locations or move slightly to keep deer guessing on my presence in a particularly well traveled funnel.

I'm sure you've been in the same predicament. You finally locate a hub of activity, scout it out and presto, discover there is one tree at best that will work for a treestand ambush. I come across that dilemma a lot hunting the Great Plains where trees are often scarce, stunted or simply in the wrong location. When I find a good tree in such locations I grow fond of it and basically bond with it. Before you label me as weird, consider the following.

On several properties I've bowhunted for more than two decades a single tree has given up three Pope and Young bucks in one location and another tree has been responsible for two others. I like those trees. They are in the right place. They are the right size to hide a treestand and they offer a sneaky avenue for access that deer generally don't detect. A good tree like that is hard to find.

I can't even begin to count of the great locations I've had to abandon because I couldn't find the right tree. That may seem hard to fathom if you live in the heavy timber of the East or Midwest, but for us bowhunting the edge of the plains and mountain west, treestand-perfect trees aren't found around every bend. I've even stumbled in Midwest locations when whitetails prefer the grass over the oak draws.

If you have a favorite tree and wish to hunt it repeatedly, here are a few tips to keep it a hotspot year after year. First, don't overhunt the location. Hunt only when conditions are perfect and keep a handful of stands in play for a rotational hunting strategy to insure the local whitetails don't pattern you like you are patterning them. Second, use a variety of routes to access the tree so you don't bump deer in the same area time and time again. Finally, use plenty of scent-free savvy including the use of products like Hunter's Specialties Scent-A-Way spray for clothes and gear.

One last thing; if you do bond with a tree, don't let anyone see you hugging it.