Setting-Up to Bowhunt Deer on New Lands

Understanding Why Many Deer Hunters Choose Kansas for Bowhunting

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Learning Where to Hunt Deer

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Editor’s Note: Ernie Calandrelli of Youngstown, New York, has been hunting deer with a bow for almost five decades and is the Public Relations Director for Quaker Boy Calls He’s hunted 37 states. Today Calandrelli travels to hunt deer in Kansas, Georgia, New York, Missouri and Illinois. Most bowhunters choose one to five hunting sites, learn all they can about those areas and the deer that live there and hunt those same places for years. Calandrelli hunts many different states with his bow and thinks you should too. You’ll need to start planning now to get permits and travel reservations, identify the best regions for the opportunity to take big deer and order and study the many maps available, including Google Earth, Huntstand and OnX maps. With your cell phone’s GPS, you can get to the sites where you want to hunt with Huntstand and OnX, even in regions with no cell service. Also ( produces custom topographical maps, revealing where the high and low ground and water sources are. The aerial views can show you how much of the area’s forested, nearby water sources and any development not visible from roads.

I’m often asked “Why do you travel from New York to Kansas, Illinois, Missouri and Georgia to bowhunt?” Well, these states consistently produce good-sized bucks and have quality soil and habitat and plenty of food. Then the bucks living in those states can grow big antlers and have heavy body weights. This old saying is true, “You can’t take a big buck if you’re not hunting where big bucks live.”

Years ago, Missouri wasn’t known as a big white-tailed buck state. But in the last 10 or 15 years, Missouri has started kicking-out some really-fine quality bucks. Since Kansas has opened-up its deer hunting to nonresidents, in my opinion, it’s probably the best big-buck producing state in the nation. Another state that I hunt sometimes is Iowa. When I first started hunting there, I just hoped to see a deer – any deer. Sometimes, I’d hunt for 2- 3 days and not even see a deer. But now, southern Iowa is covered-up with deer, and there are some true monster bucks there. As far back as I can remember, Illinois always has produced a high number of trophy-class bucks. If you want to take a big buck with a lot of head gear, these states traditionally produce those classes of bucks.

I like to hunt the State of Georgia, because it’s an easy hunt for me. I have a good friend down there who has some really-good property with a large deer herd on it. I usually can go down to Georgia and take a buck that will score 130 or 140, which is a really-good buck from any state. I also stay in a very nice deer camp, and my friend has cut trails where I hunt. So, I have easy access to get to my tree stands without making any noise. The land also homes a number of pastures where I can see deer early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Then I’ll begin to formulate a hunt plan for the buck I want to try and take. Another reason I like to hunt Georgia is that the weather is pleasant almost every time I hunt there. I normally hunt late November or the first of December in Georgia when there’s plenty of snow where I live in New York. At that time, the rut is beginning to wind down in Georgia. There’s a lot to be said for having a great camp to stay in, hunting with people you’ve known for years and feeling confident that you can take a nice buck every year you hunt there.

To learn more about hunting deer with John E. Phillips’ Amazon Kindle eBooks, print books and Audible books and Nook books, click here at You can type in the name of the book and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. For a free download on how to make jerky from venison to provide a protein-rich snack, choose “How to Prepare Venison Jerky: The Ultimate Snack Food” at

Tomorrow: Understanding Why Many Deer Hunters Choose Kansas for Bowhunting

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