Editor’s Note: Today’s modern techniques have enabled deer hunters to use drones and maps to pinpoint ideal spots to create small deer hidey-holes.
“You can plant a green field hidey-hole 2 weeks before bow season and still have a great place to deer hunt,” says Dr. Grant Woods, a nationally-known wildlife biologist and researcher from Reedsville, Missouri.
I listened carefully to Woods’ ideas, because although I wished I had several thousand acres with 10-20 food plots I could hunt, I don’t. I hunt with friends, on public lands or on hunting clubs that already have food plots established. But you can create your own hidey-hole hunting spots even in those places. To identify land where sunlight hits the ground, use an aerial photo, and/or fly a drone to look for meadows, swampy places, pine plantations and ridges. For more success, learn everything you can about the region you want to turn into a last-minute hot spot, and do a soil test. Make sure you plant these hidey-holes, so that the wind won’t blow your human odor to the deer as you approach your stand site.
Pick out tree-stand sites where you’ll want to set-up. Never create hidey-holes without giving thought as to how to hunt these mini-food lots, what winds you’ll encounter, where you can hang tree stands, and where the closest thick-cover area’s located to where you want to plant. You can pinpoint:
- A small clearing close to a picnic area in a national forest, some type of pavilion or other type of recreation site that attracts numbers of people. Naturally, people will assume deer will avoid places with groups of humans. If you understand that deer pattern people just like people pattern deer, you easily can understand that big bucks may bed down close to human activity.
- Small clearings near gates, major roads or any place else where you feel confident no hunter will hunt, even if he spots a green field there.
- Small, flat shelves or benches on the sides of ridges, perhaps only 10-20 yards wide.
- A young pine plantation. You’ll spot skips – inside places where the pine trees haven’t grown, which have formed small openings in the pines. Perhaps pine beetles have gotten into that section, or maybe there’s a ditch, a creek or a gully that provides an opening in the pines. Mark these locations with a hand-held GPS.
- A large cane thicket that’s too dense through which to walk. Go out in the middle of the thicket, cut the canes down, and clear out a spot big enough to plant. Don’t leave any type of trail into or out of the thicket that someone else can find. You also can plant inside a blackberry or a gallberry thicket.
- An old logging yard with some logs still stacked-up. Although this area may have brush and undergrowth, the site gets sun because it’s a small clearing.
- An area where a large tree has fallen and made an opening, the middle of a sage field where you can create an opening and/or an abandoned trail.
You simply need a small clearing that receives sunlight throughout much of the day. If the clearing has leaves on it, use a backpack blower or a rake to clear the leaves away, go in, and scatter seed blends designed to produce a food plot within several weeks and fertilizer.
Expert Guidebooks on BowHunting Deer: Best Sellers
How to Hunt Deer Up Close with Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows
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If you’re serious about learning to hunt and take deer with a bow, if you’re looking for a different strategy that will help you identify and harvest big bucks, if you want to learn from your misses as well as from the shots that connect, and if you enjoy being in the great outdoors that the Good Lord has blessed us with, then this book is for you.
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Tomorrow: Create Deer Hidey Holes