Prepare Shooting Lanes to eliminate Phantom Bucks

Annihilating Phantom Whitetail Bucks

You’ve been on your stand for an hour. The eastern sky is just beginning to soften in the promise of a beautiful sunrise. You begin to strain your eyes to survey your shooting lanes. It’s time to put a bead on some whitetail deer venison steak and gravy. You notice something standing at the end of lane number one, and then decide it’s probably a bush that you failed to hack down during your pre-season clean-up. Noticing a flutter in your peripheral vision, you slowly turn your head toward lane number two, but it’s only a squirrel nibbling away at your corn pile.

Then you check your third lane, and there he is. The most impressive whitetail buck you’ve ever laid eyes on, is standing in the thicket at the end of the alley. You’re trying to get your crosshairs on him, but your scope is not gathering quite enough light. As you continue to watch and wait, the shadows begin to shift and that majestic whitetail buck gradually morphs into a clump of bushes.

It’s at that moment that you realize you should’ve invested more time in pre-season lane clean-up. If you had trimmed away that bush a couple of weeks ago, you wouldn’t have wasted time concentrating on that foliage-laced mirage and possibly letting other deer slip by you on your other lanes.

In the weeks prior to deer season, it is imperative that your hunting area be cleaned, trimmed, and thoroughly prepared for the hunt. And as all serious hunters know, this is a task most efficiently tackled with the help of a friend. Unfortunately, it’s the friend who often ends up bearing the brunt of the work, as you sit in your deer stand or ground blind and give directions on which limbs and bushes need to be cut away to give you a clear field of vision.

To insure there are no questionable clumps of vegetation left to obscure your view or play mischievous tricks on your mind, you need to spend more than only an hour or two working at this task. Take time to observe the changes that occur as the sun moves across the sky and the shadows fluctuate; you will notice distracting bits of foliage that you might not have noticed a couple of hours earlier. Have your helper get them out of the way now, so they will not pull your attention away from more important observations while you’re in the throes of deer hunting.

Making ready for a rewarding hunting season requires a great deal of sweat, blood, and maybe an occasional tear. But your efforts will be worth it. When you are sitting on your stand, breathing in the crisp morning air and surveying the unobstructed view of your deer hunting lanes, you will be able to relax and fully enjoy the hunt.


Perpetually Late For Your Day Of Hunting

It’s the same every year. You’ve set your alarm to wake you from slumber at dark-thirty. When it sounds its aggravated beep, you slap the snooze button. The aforementioned process is repeated — twice. By the time you decide to roll out of bed and head to the woods, you realize it’s almost daylight. In your haste, you skip showering in the “no-stink” soap and rush right into slipping on your camo. You grab a bottle of water and a couple of granola bars, throw them in your pack, and hop in the truck. Upon leaving the driveway, you realize your hunting rifle is locked up in the house. You retrieve your gun, hop back behind the wheel of your truck, and putter to deer camp in a cloud of dust.

This scenario is played out daily during whitetail deer hunting season. Some hunter, somewhere, is late getting to the woods. Even some hunting shows have been known to air episodes in which professional hunters continue sleeping in warm, cozy beds, rather than face harsh hunting conditions. The question is, how can a day of hunting be salvaged after getting off to a late start?

It’s important to acknowledge that not every deer in your neck of the woods is going to be at your stand at the crack of dawn. There may be a couple of them hanging around your corn feeder, but most will still be mulling about in the woods, drifting through the shadows. With this information in mind, take a slow and purposeful walk to your deer stand. Consider your journey a hunting opportunity, a chance to catch a glimpse of deer you wouldn’t have seen if you had gotten situated on your stand while the morning was still dark.

Because you are hunting during your walk in, it would be wise to carry a shooting stick with you. If you come across a deer while making the trek, you need to be able to shoulder your gun immediately without having to worry about finding a tree to use as a prop. By carrying a shooting stick, you instantly have a steady prop from which to shoot. Some hunters are excellent free-hand shooters, but most marksmen find it easier to make a steady shot if their gun is at rest on a stable surface.

You may feel as though you should rush to your stand, but plodding along quickly can spook your game before you even have a chance to lay eyes on it. By progressing slowly and quietly, you will be more likely to avoid frightening your prey. After all, this is a walking hunt, and it has just as much potential to put meat on the table as the stationary hunt you will participate in once you arrive at your stand.

If you don’t get the opportunity to harvest game along the journey to your stand, you haven’t lost anything. You made the most of your time. Although your day started off later than planned, you have utilized every minute of your time in the woods. Once you arrive at your stand, take a seat, let the sweat dry, and enjoy the deer hunt.