“If you build it, they will come.” As true as this is in the movie “Field of Dreams”, it also applies to our pursuit of deer hunting. Certainly much of the challenge of chasing whitetails is in finding big bucks and chasing them down, but, there is also significant advantage in finding ways to bring bucks to you. In some cases these can be the best ways to stealthily lay ambush to a weary old whitetail. And while most of these strategies require hard work and lots of preparation – they undoubtedly can payoff big come hunting season. So with that in mind, here are 4 ways to start bringing the deer to you!
1. Limit The Options: While not easy, getting within sight of a big buck during hunting season is slightly more attainable a goal than having one actually come within bow range. Getting those bucks to actually come to you isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to come down to luck. You can achieve this kind of outcome by limiting the options a buck has when traveling through your general area, and by forcing these options to funnel deer within range of your stand. For example, if you’re hunting a field edge – create brush piles along most of the woodline with a few strategic openings near your stand. Or try downing a tree across a popular out of range deer trail and clearing a new detour that comes towards your location. Most deer will take the option of least resistance, and if that option just so happens to be within 40 yards of you – it’s game on.
2. Set The Table: This one may be obvious, but deer love food. Their lives really revolve around eating and if you can provide a nutritious and attractive food source in the form of a food plot, you’ll have deer coming to you. Now that being said, there are many details that go into creating and hunting a food plot successfully, but that all has been covered in other articles or will be down the road. For now keep this in mind, if you haven’t tried a food plot yet, give it a serious second thought. Even a super small, woodland food plot created by hand can help bring a deer into range. Food plots can help your deer reach their full potential AND increase your chances of harvesting one – I don’t see a lot of downside there.
3. Quench Their Thirst: In addition to eating, deer obviously need water and this is a great need to capatilize on when you want deer coming to you. Especially in areas of limited water or on extra hot days, hunting over a water source can be dynamite. Creating a man made watering hole, or even burying a kiddy pool and filling it occasionally with water can be easily done and is often enough to bring the bucks right to you on those tough hunting hot days.
4. Clear The Path: Not only can you bring deer to you by blocking their alternate routes, but you can also do this by opening up a pathway straight to you. As mentioned before, deer are naturally somewhat lazy – meaning they will take path of least resistance when possible (and safe). There are a number of ways you can create “paths of least resistance” that bring deer right to you. An example of this comes straight from my own experience a couple seasons ago. I was hunting an old pipeline overgrown with cat-tails that connected an open field to a deep swamp. Up to this point deer crossed this pipeline willy nilly or picked their way through the adjoining woods as they headed into the swamp. But I decided to clear a narrow path way through the cattails with a sickle, and within a couple months that small path through the cattails became a deer highway and a heavy rub line that led every deer within 20 yards of my stand.
Have any other good ways of bringing deer to you or do you have additional thoughts on these 4 ideas? Share what you think in the comments section!