Bow-Friendly Ambushes for Whitetails

It’s time to tackle a few chores for the fall season. Though you’ll leave your archery gear at home to complete these whitetail duties, it’s vital to keep the focus of the bow front and center.

Bow-Friendly Ambushes for Whitetails

If you make your food plots and openings too large, then whitetails will easily avoid your ambush while bowhunting.

It’s that time of year. You know the time.

You’re busy purchasing a new bow, adding updated accessories and tweaking your shooting. Every night you shoot a few arrows and on weekends you attend 3-D shoots whenever possible. Everything hunting revolves around your bow as it should, but don’t forget to take that same attention to the field with you.

Every additional whitetail chore requires a bow focus to ensure that when the season arrives all your preparation continues to emphasize being the best bowhunter possible. 

Tools of the Preseason Trade

You already know the tools of the trade when it comes to summer chores. Tractors, ATVs, farm implements, saws and any other tool that helps make a sweaty job simpler. Add another into the jumble of equipment in your truck. Bring your rangefinder everywhere.

What does your rangefinder have to do with summer chores? It’s your confirmation that every action you take before the season falls within your shooting abilities. You need to carry your rangefinder along while undertaking all-new shooting opportunities, including your farming endeavors. It’s your first action before breaking ground, sowing seed or sawing limbs. It doesn’t pay to begin testing your antiperspirant without first confirming distances and whether the work you’re about to undertake will even result in a good shooting prospect.

Another important tool to keep at your side is your smartphone. You’re already addicted to this glowing friend and the hunting app you have installed can help you not only view a property from the heavens above, but apps such as HuntStand include area calculators, map markers, property boundaries and countless other useful applications while preparing new hunting sites.

Combined, these two tools, along with those in the bed of your truck, give you the ability to look at any nook of a property and make an educated decision. Is it a killing spot or an escape tunnel in disguise for whitetails?


Food Plot Design

As the food plot and land management trend continues to inspire many of you to till, plant, mow and clear, keep archery shot success in mind. You want to ensure that any alterations and additions you contemplate give you a killing shot.

Food plots and land clearing projects are prime examples. Oftentimes they are undertaken with a bit too much gusto. A plethora of food for your herd is a cornerstone objective for any land manager, but you want to plan with shooting in mind. Large fields provide whitetails with a crop that may continue to supply nutrition through winter and into spring depending on your seed mixture.

Unfortunately, that same large field could create shooting chaos. Whitetails may enter from far corners. They may feed at distances too far to shoot and once they get a hint of your ambush location, they’ll use the size of the field every day to watch your suspected location from a safe space. You don’t want to discover these types of shortcomings after the fact and having already spent dollars breaking ground.

As the food plot and land management trend continues to inspire many of you to till, plant, mow and clear, keep archery shot success in mind. Food plots and nearby bedding cover in a small size are great for bowhunting.
As the food plot and land management trend continues to inspire many of you to till, plant, mow and clear, keep archery shot success in mind. Food plots and nearby bedding cover in a small size are great for bowhunting.

A better alternative many land consultants suggest is to break your property into smaller plots and scatter them throughout. Two or three smaller plots can be designed for maximum shooting success. Use your rangefinder and hunting app to outline the food plot for the potential to shoot across it, and to interconnect with terrain facilitating whitetail travel. 

Several smaller plots also give you options to hunt different locations based on wind variables, seasonal crop palatability and a buck’s core territory preference. It also disperses doe groups to different locations on a property, so they tend not to all congregate in one location. 


Permanent Stand Setup

More of you than ever before have abandoned the idea of sitting in the elements. Permanent stands are your choice for hunting whitetails. After harvesting my best whitetail yet from the comfort of a permanent blind I can’t argue the benefits of studio-style hunting.

From shopping to placement, you need to be aware of teaming your bow with this expensive luxury. First, try your bow out in the confined space before handing over a credit card. Most quality models have been designed for the height requirements needed to ensure bow limbs don’t ding ceilings. Plus, window configurations and ease in opening them are also being continually tweaked. That noted, when you elevate some permanent blinds steep shot angles may suddenly create a dilemma due to windows not being vertical and long in nature.

Like designing a food plot, be sure your placement of the permanent stand is exactly where you want it. Use your rangefinder and hunting app to help you place the monstrosity in the perfect place. These heavy-duty blinds need to be staked after a location is chosen and moving them again requires fossil fuel.

As a side note, if the expense of a permanent blind forces you to downgrade to a portable or pop-up hunting blind, you need to follow the same rules. You’ll be able to move it easily if the deer do decide to sidestep it, but your initial placement should include a thorough vetting of shooting distances. Moving a portable blind during season opens suspicion for area deer. Even if you brush it in with purpose it always seems as if whitetails discover a new addition to the neighborhood. Strategize the shot and get it out early.


Treestand Tidying

Finally, chart a similar plan when contemplating treestand locations. Range all shooting lanes before hanging a stand. Once you have the stand hung climb into it with all safety precautions and note any limbs that may impede your bow movement in the stand, and in your shooting lanes. Remove them, but don’t get too carried away with limbs around your stand. Those can also serve as concealment.

Your preseason bow setup and shooting are an integral part of your whitetail success. Take that mindset into the field as you knock out preparations. Your bow will love you for it.


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