Are you spooking the deer on your way to your stand?
The answer to this is of course you are. And if they are not, they are aware of your presence. All the pre scouting and work to get your stand just perfect, might well be all for nothing. Have you ever been on your way to your stand and see tails fleeing or hear deer snorting? Sure you have, we all have. Now you get in your stand and your confidence and excitement level is not the same as when you started out. After sitting awhile with out seeing a deer you start to doubt your chances and abandon your stand. If this sounds familiar your not alone. This is something all deer hunters face and no sure fire solution. I have taken many hunters to a stand over the years as well as gone to a few stands myself. I have learned some things about how to increase your odds of the deer not knowing your in your stand. There are many products on the market that help hunters get deer to come within sight, scents, calls, camo you name it it is all for the same goal. The problem is if the deer already know you are there your in for a long day. Let me tell you about this one occurance I observed, This one stand I was in is at least a half a mile from any road that is solid bush and no clearings, and you could hear the traffic go buy . I had been in the stand about a half hour when this 11 point buck appeared. He was slowly walking and feeding without a care in the world. He could hear the traffic as well and paid no attention to it. Then for some reason a vehicle that I could hear heading down the road, started slowing down and eventually stopped. Now remember this is a half mile away from me with solid timber the whole way. As the vehicle slowed to a stop, the buck lifted his head and totally froze. There was a big broadleaf plant in his mouth and he even stopped chewing. The vehicle eventually started off again and the farther it went the more relaxed the buck got . The buck eventually fed his way out of sight. Now you may think that this is nothing new or no big deal but all this took place with the buck only 20 yards from me, he never had a clue I was there. He showed more attention to a sound a half mile away from him, without any concern that I was above him. Now just imagine that vehicle which stopped out at the road was me, and I was on my way to the stand that I was already sitting in. Would that buck be in the area by the time I got to the stand? Would I be able to lure him back out with calls? Of course not , he would already be wise to what was going on. Whitetails ( espeacially bucks) are creatures of habit and routine. The plan years ago to get to a stand was to use the four wheeler the majority of the way then walk the rest. Makes sence right? wrong. In 1995 a older gentleman from New York was hunting with me. Getting off the four wheeler and starting our walk in the dark was starting to get to much for the hunter. One morning he asked me to take him right to the stand with the four wheeler , I stated that this would spook the deer and to walk in quiet would be best. He then stated that we were probably spooking them more by trying to walk in quiet, he said take me right to the stand but do not turn off the four wheeler or shine a light up to the stand to help him see to get in, once he was in the stand and set up I was then and only then to get out of there. The old fellow killed a good buck at first light that morning, he told me that evening that as soon as I left him he was watching the lights of the four wheeler weave its way back through the bush when two bucks started to spar about 100 yards from him. Now those bucks were probably sparring while we were on are way in, and seen and heard the four wheeler coming. They simply stopped and watched the four wheeler come and then go and resumed there match. As daylight approached they had no idea the hunter was in the stand. The 11 pointer I watched from the stand that listened to the traffic, I had someone bring me to the stand with the four wheeler that day, once i was in the stand the four wheeler left, eventuallly it got back to the road and i could hear it being loaded in the truck. I heard all of that and so did the deer. If you can get the deer in your area to get accustomed to hearing a four wheeler coming in and going out with out ever being shut off I would bet you see more deer. To the deer when they hear you coming they think trouble is coming, when the four wheeler leaves they think trouble gone. Do not shut the motor off tho , let the deer concentrate on the bike. My trail camera pics also prove this method works, I have had pics of deer looking in the direction that I always approach when I come to exchange the card for the camera and then I get pics of deer right after I have gone. Try it this fall for yourself early in the year start riding into your stand, sit a few minutes with the motor running then leave. The deer will get accustomed to this activity and figure they have you patterened. Have a friend bring you in to your stand when season starts, maybe you can return the favour to your friend. I hope this helps someone get the trophy buck of there dreams.........................Shane Gulbrandsen http://www.gulbrandsenoutfitters.com