We read a lot of articles about how rifle hunters can take advantage of hunting the whitetail rut and post rut that requires alternative tactics. Really what this means is, if you’re a rifle hunter, here’s how you can get out of your stand, stretch your legs a bit, and go looking for the bucks rather than wait on them to show up. As bowhunters, we need to come up with our own strategy to become more mobile when deer are unpredictable.
What we lack in range we can make up for in stealth. A bowhunter can’t afford to bump a buck out of its bed and still expect to get a shot. Using certain tools, the landscape and weather to our advantage, the archer can take to the woods and become more of a mobile bowhunter for whitetail deer. We’re not talking about hauling around a ground blind, but rather using the natural environment for concealment. As a forewarning, we’re already at a disadvantage every time we enter a deer’s habitat, and this isn’t going to be any easier.
Think Recurve or Longbow
Having a recurve or longbow is not essential to becoming a bowhunter on the move. You can still do it with a compound. The only reason we mention the recurve and longbow is that they’re the easiest to draw quickly and shoot. A compound may cause some unwanted movement so you may think about lightening the poundage if that’s your only option.
Watch the Weather
Our biggest obstacle as hunters is the extraordinary senses that deer have. They see, smell and hear as well as any animal on Earth and don’t waste time using their incredible athletic ability to evade danger. On windy days, we hunt into the breeze. On snowy days, we stealthily track game. And on rainy or wet days, we stalk the woods making nary a sound. Knowing the landscape and watching the weather will help against the odds in an already unfair matchup.
Take Advantage of Your Surroundings
Match your camo pattern with the landscape you’re hunting in. Think like a ninja in that making yourself essentially non-existent is going to get you close to more deer by avoiding detection. Use vantage points to spot the surrounding fields and valleys. Thick cover is the easiest place to conceal yourself but the toughest spot to get a shot. Find the fine line when hunting the woods for ultimate concealment and clear shots.
Wear camouflage that blends to your natural surroundings to become the best mobile bowhunter for whitetail deer.
Use a Decoy
We like to carry decoys in our pack as an added shield for, say, times we get caught in the open or if there’s a good buck running does out in a large field. Montana Decoy is our go-to company as their deer decoys fold down to the size of saucer plates and pop open very quickly with accessible stakes that’ll swiftly plant the decoy in the ground to free up your hands. Not to mention they look incredibly real.
Using a deer decoy like The Freshman from Montana Decoy, will help conceal you in the open and draw in dominant bucks.
Keep Your Head on a Swivel
If you grew up playing football, then you’ve probably heard this term. In deer hunting from the ground, especially with a bow, you want to move slowly and look quickly. Deer blend incredibly well into the landscape so it may just be the flick of a tail or slight twitch of the ear that gives away their location. Using binoculars with a wide field of view is a huge advantage.
Hunting whitetail deer from the ground with a bow really is one of the most exhilarating ways to go after these wily critters. Even coming face to face with a doe will get your heart pumping and blood flowing. Incorporate quick shooting into your practice regimen. It will make you a better archer and more proficient all-around hunter.