Whitetail Deer Hunting photo

If you’ve been following along on the BBZ blog the last couple weeks, you know I’m working with Aaron Milliken of Whitetail Properties for a hunt in Western Illinois this November.

Last month, we hung about a dozen stands on the property shown above on the Hunterra map. Three of the locations were so obvious we just had to hang stands there. If you run into spots like these where you hunt, throw up a stand quick—then stay out of there until November rolls around.

1) The Little Plot
Referred to fondly by whitetail fanatics as a “kill plot,” this little plot tucked away in the timber is a great place to ambush a buck as he makes his way from the sanctuary in the north to the major food sources in the south. There are two main entrances to this plot (the creek banks are high and there are only two good places to cross), and we hung a stand at both of them. One is hung for a north or northeast wind. The other is set for a north or west wind.

Your Setup: You don’t need a food plot to hunt a “kill plot.” If you can find a small, secluded food source near a larger food source, you’ve found your spot.

2) Timber Ridge
This is a classic spot for intercepting a rutting buck while he’s chasing does. One major trail runs north/south through the timber and another runs from the creek bottom up the ridge to the big cornfield. When I was there scouting in March, the place was absolutely thrashed with old rubs.

Your Setup: First, look for a high-traffic area that runs from a bedding area to a food source. If that spot has a lot of old buck sign, you’re in the money. Take the time to figure out the wind before hanging your stand.

3) The Big Plot
This is our late-season setup. Milliken planted that 4-acre opening with oats and a mix of winter greens. He’s setting a ground blind there at the edge of the southeast edge. We should be able to sneak in and hunt all day when the weather turns cold and bucks are looking to regain weight lost during the rut. It seems like the deer will trickle into the plot from the timber to the north along the river. So, we’re good with a north or west wind.

Your Setup: During the late season, food is the name of the game. Find a high-carbohydrate food source and place a ground blind there early. Monitor the place with a trail camera until you see bucks start moving in.

Next week, I’ll talk about three stand locations that aren’t so obvious.

A quick note to potential stand thieves: If you can somehow locate the property we’re hunting by using the map above, and you’re considering strolling in there to rip off our stands and trail cameras, you better think twice. The property has a handful of security cameras and is regularly patrolled by Milliken’s hillbilly buddies (the neighbors). They posted the “No-Trespassing” sign below…and not as a joke.

Whitetail Deer Hunting photo