Photo by Charles Alshiemer
I was finally hunting the famed Milk River in Montana, but the constant blowing of doe whitetails was the sound of frustration. If I didn’t beat the doe security detail arriving prior to the bucks, my hunt would be over. When does bust you before bucks hit the field, you need to change your approach. Use these tactics to dupe hyper-vigilant does and get into range of an unsuspecting buck.
1. Overlooked Locations
Field edges provide ideal locations for waylaying a buck, but they also put you in the open for does to pinpoint your position. To blend into edge habitat more effectively, consider a setup that sets you farther back in the timber along a trail. Go in just far enough that does nearing the field edge will be focused on the openness ahead instead of the interior.
Just downwind of the inside corner of a field is an ideal location, as deer love to pause in those covered pockets to give the field a once-over before stepping into the open.
Be on the lookout for natural or man-made structures–like woodpiles, abandoned shacks, or junked farm equipment–to use as a hide.
2. Deceptive Distrations
Decoys attract the attention of any deer entering a field. Early in the season, a feeding doe decoy conveys a sense of calmness and security as does file into a field. During the pre-rut, a buck decoy can actually cause does to move to the other side of a field, yet it will attract bold, rut-ready bucks. In the late season, a buck may investigate a doe decoy for one last breeding attempt.
Scent can also play a role in distracting does from your location. Place doe or buck urine upwind of a heavily used field-entrance point. Deer will gravitate to the scent instead of being focused on their security. It’s critical that you keep any scent-dispensing site clear of all human scent.
3. Tag-Team Surprise
Lastly, if does still keep discovering your hideout, bring a buddy along to cover any alternate routes deer use to exit and reenter a field. Blown-out deer will often return to the field on a different trail, especially in the late season, when they are foraging heavily. Flip a coin to see who gets to stand watch over reentrance routes–the hunter posted here will likely get the shooting.
A friend and I used this tag-team tactic in Montana, and after a few tail-flagging departures from the field, the does started getting wise to my buddy’s location. I posted up at the opposite end of the field, and it wasn’t long before a fat buck followed a line of does right under my stand.