4 Tips for Hunting Smarter — Not Harder — This Whitetail Season

Some people make New Year’s Resolutions. Not me. I make my mine now — early summer — and they almost always have to do with the upcoming whitetail season.

4 Tips for Hunting Smarter — Not Harder — This Whitetail Season

During November 2018 in South Dakota, the author’s buddy Scott bowhunted the edges and was rewarded when this tall-tined 4x4 exited a river-bottom flat and began cruising the tree/prairie border.

Each of the following mid-year resolutions is a foundational element of my primary deer hunting goal for 2019, which is “hunt smarter, not harder.”

  1. Bowhunt the edges. Unlike previous years, when I pursued whitetails from two dozen treestands and blinds distributed across 240 contiguous acres of private Wisconsin property, I’ll bowhunt only the edges. In the past, I avoided walking through a few 5- to 20-acre blocks of thick sanctuary cover, but this wasn’t enough because deer could still smell or hear me. Instead, this fall I’ll dedicate 180 acres in the center and back of the property to sanctuary. 
  2. Save prime stands for primetime. I have a couple spots that can be deadly during early November. Instead of going in there a few times in September and October “just to check it out,” I resolve to avoid those spots until Halloween. And then I’ll slip in only when conditions are right.
  3. Go public. To avoid overhunting my private ground, I’ll spend more time, especially mornings, on nearby public properties. That way, I’ll satisfy my need to be in the forest without burning my best private land setups. The local deer might think I’ve taken a season off, but I’m simply hunting smarter, not harder.
  4. Don’t eat tag soup. I spent the last week of the 2018 archery season trying to kill any deer to fill my freezer, and while I had a couple close calls between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I didn’t punch my tag. I resolve to not get bit by the trophy bug again in 2019. I love to pursue mature bucks, but if I don’t get a close-range shot at a big buck by November 15, I’ll add antlerless deer to the hit list, too.
To cut a tag during whitetail season 2019, hunt smarter . . . not harder.
To cut a tag during whitetail season 2019, hunt smarter . . . not harder.
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