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How to Use Your GPS to Hunt Deer

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John’s Note: A hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver can help you bag a buck every season. These navigation devices, introduced to the market some years ago, can put you in position to take the bucks other hunters never see, especially on public lands with intense hunter pressure.

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If you want to bag a buck each season, you must understand what bucks know about most hunters, they …

* hunt less than 1/2-mile away from a road;

* enter the woods at daylight;

* exit the woods before dark;

* take stands where they can see 100 yards or more;

* remain on their stands for less than 2 hours;

* come out of the woods between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm to eat lunch; and

* spend more time walking and less time waiting for a deer to appear.

The larger, older-age class bucks already have learned these characteristics of the hunters who come after them each season.

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A hunter must learn a tremendous amount of information to hunt deer effectively. He must understand:

* which scrapes the bucks use year after year;

* which nut trees deer feed on each season; and

* where to find wild apple trees and persimmon patches that produce bucks in the early season and escape trails bucks utilize during times of heavy hunting pressure.


By storing these locations in his GPS as well as places where he has seen and killed bucks during previous years, a savvy hunter can return to those same spots each year and often bag a buck.

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Dr. Keith Causey, a longtime deer researcher at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, now retired, explains, “Creatures of habit, deer often utilize the same scrapes, feed in the same places and walk the same trails year after year. Even when hunters harvest dominant bucks, the next buck in the pecking order often will follow the same pattern of movement as his predecessors. If you keep up-to- date information on deer sightings over several years, you can go to those same sites and take bucks from those areas.”

Another way to take the bigger, hunter-smart bucks with your GPS is to find thick-cover stands more than 1/2-mile away from the road hunters use to come into the woods. To locate these stand sites, scout the area before the season, select the tree you want to put your tree stand in, use your GPS receiver to mark that stand as a waypoint in the memory of your GPS receiver, and save the route you travel from the road to that stand. Then, you can follow that route back into the woods with your GPS receiver before daylight on the day you hunt.

“How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” or “Deer and Fixings” by John E. Phillips.  Click here to get these books.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

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