I just stumbled across this clip of a Illinois bowhunt from Realtree Outdoors with Michael Waddell. As I watched, I noticed Michael utilize a wide range of different tactics, while also demonstrating several very important but simple steps you must take to bag a whitetail with a bow. I was really amazed by how much they fit into the two minute clip, so I thought it would be worth reviewing this video and keying in on the important things that you can learn from Michael and the Realtree Team. Take a look…
First thing you notice is that they set up a standing buck decoy. This can be a great tactic to use to draw a territorial rutting buck into shooting distance. One thing to consider when setting up a decoy is the distance you place it from your stand, and the direction you point it. You should always set up your decoy at about 15 yards from your stand to draw a buck into a manageable shooting distance, even if it is circling or standing off aways from the decoy. If you are using a buck decoy, face it in the direction you want the deer to come in from, as bucks will approach each other face to face. But if you are using a doe decoy, angle the decoys rear end in the direction you hope the buck will coming from. A bucks first point of business when checking out a doe is to give her a good sniff from behind and this will result in a good clean broadside or quartering away shot as the buck checks out your decoy.
Next Michael uses a typical buck grunt, then a snort wheeze, followed by a short rattling sequence. All of these calling techniques can be useful to draw in a buck. Although they can be used succesfully independently, using them in a sequence makes this scenario seem even more realistic to a curious buck, as he hears all the tell tale sounds of another buck invading his territory.
As the buck comes into shooting range, notice that when Michael draws back on his bow he doesn’t need to arch his bow up or make any unneccesary movements. Many times hunters put too much emphasis on having a heavy draw weight on their bows, and this can result in making awakward and attention grabbing movements when pulling back, as well as hurting your chances of an accurate shot. It is much better to set your draw at a point where you can comfortably and smoothly pull back your bow and hold it. The key to a killing shot with a bow is much more about placement than power.
Last you’ll notice that when the buck starts to move away, Michael uses a short self-made mouth bleat to stop the buck in his tracks. This is a great tactic to stop a deer and provides you with a better shot opportunity, without scaring the deer. I actually used this same trick to stop the buck I shot last fall at 20 yards from my stand.
Although there is obviously a tremendous amount more to understand when hunting the elusive whitetail deer, this short clip does a great job of highlighting a number of important key concepts and tricks to make you a more succesful deer hunter. Any other key learnings or tips that you pulled from this clip? Let us know.