Wildlife Biologist Provides Elk and Deer Hunting Tips

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Determining deer and elk activity patterns in your hunt area can be the key to success, says an Arizona Game and Fish Department biologist who specializes in big game. Here are some tips from Brian Wakeling.

Look for fresh sign.
Hunters should always look for patterns in elk and deer behavior. That behavior can change if someone camps in their grocery store (feeding area) or disturbs them in their bedroom (bedding area) too often. Watch for evidence that this behavior has changed and adjust your hunt strategies accordingly.

Be patient.
Hunters often spend a lot of time scouting and get discouraged after a couple of days. If you did your homework, then stay put and stick with your plan. You developed that plan using rational thought. Elk and deer can be crafty and may remain in the area even if you don't see them all the time.

Be persistent.
It is tempting to spend midday hours in camp, and midday tends to be the time when fewer elk and deer are taken. But elk and deer may modify their behavior to avoid periods when there is a lot of hunter activity. Although few elk and deer are taken during midday, even fewer are taken in camp. Spend as much time as possible in the woods.

Get away from roads.
Find less-disturbed areas. Many hunters may not get more than a quarter-mile from roads. The ones that do may find more animals. Research studies have shown that wildlife densities increase the farther one gets from a traveled road.

Get cleaned up.
Archers spend a lot of money each year on various masking scents. Others avoid bathing for fear that soap smells may drive elk and deer away. If you can smell someone across the campfire on day three, you can bet that elk and deer can smell them too.