IMB Outfitters on FacebookIMB Outfitters on TwitterIMB Outfitters on YouTube
Toll Free: (866) 855-7063  
Phone: (660) 385-1800 

Trophy Deer Hunts in
ILLINOIS

Trophy Deer Hunts in
IOWA

Trophy Deer Hunts in
MISSOURI

Trophy Deer Hunts in
KANSAS

COMBOS

    

BOOK ONLINE

Ready to Go? Click Here and Book Your Hunt Now

Book Now

Or Call us Toll Free at
866-855-7063




 
 


When is One Overhunting a Treestand Location?
 

When is the Hunter Overhunting a Treestand Location?
by Darrin Bradley

After doing some midday scouting, I found myself standing in a swamp area, at the foot of an oakridge. A secluded cloverfield laid at the top of the oakridge. I discovered several sets of mature buck tracks on a trail leading through the swamp, up the oakridge, and into the clover. Believing the bucks were traveling the trail to the tender crop, I carefully positioned a stand location nearby. I was perched high atop a white oak in anticipation of an evening ambush by midafternoon. At 3:45 PM several does traveled down the worn path to the clover. At 4:15 PM the trail was again alive. Three bucks, nonchalantly, began making their way closer and closer to my position in route to the foodsource. The first buck was an animal which had already shed his antlers in the cold month of January. The second buck was pushing Pope and Young status. The buck at the rear of the antlered caravan was a monstrous twelve point, which would have easily met the minimum requirements for the Boone and Crockett Club. My heart began to pound furiously. I thought to myself, “Finally, my chance at a genuine Boone and Crockett buck.” My presence in the treetops remained undetected for a short time. The first buck “hit the brakes” just within bowrange. The two animals following close behind stopped as well. All three bucks put their noses in the air, and rotated their ears in all directions in an attempt to detect the slightest hint of danger. The trio abruptly turned and ran back in the direction from which they came. My grand slam ambush had been spoiled. I disappointingly placed my head between my knees and asked myself that familiar question, “What do I do now?” I chose to live in denial and return to the same stand setup the following morning. On the morning hunt, I viewed a few does. I returned to the same setup that evening. I saw nothing. I returned the next morning and saw no deer. My continued failure was a result of hunting the location too often, especially after being detected. This strategy of “consecutive hunting” from a single stand location may be sabotaging your attempts at a mature whitetail buck harvest, as well.

Fortunately, I have kept a hunting journal since 1994, which contains explicit details of over 400 whitetail hunts. I reviewed the occasions during which I have hunted consecutively from a stand location. I obtained the following data surrounding consecutive location hunts:

x indicates a successful hunt (Viewing deer from a stand location.)
no indicates an unsuccessful hunt (Not viewing deer from a stand location.)

Stand Location Hunt 1 Hunt 2 Hunt 3 Hunt 4 Hunt 5

1. Top of the Rock x x x no
2. Lightening Strikes x x no
3. The Corner x no
4. Swamp Fork x x no
5. The Highway x x no
6. Deer Pond x x no
7. Lollipop x no
8. Grand Canyon x no
9. The Shelf x x x no
10. Scrape Zone x x x no
11. Southeast Corner x x no
12. The Logroad x x no
13. The Bald Spot x x no
14. Judges Bench x x no
15. The Funnel x x no
16. Booner Ridgetop x no
17. Alfalfa x no
18. Alfalfa x no
19. Highchair x no
20. Airstrip Ridge x x no
21. The Web x x no
22. The Lowspot x x no
23. Hot Seat x x no
24. Bulldozed Hadley Point x x no
25. Big Hadley Point x x no
26. Back Thicket x no
27. Dukes Funnel x no
28. Wheat Funnel x x no
29. Waterway Funnel x x no
30. Waterway Ridgetop x x no
31. Bayou x x x no
32. Flatop x x x x no
33. Waterway Ridgetop x no
34. Arch Funnel x x no
35. Lost Run x no
36. Brickhouse x x no
37. Widowmaker x x no
38. Launch Pad x x no
39. Launch Pad x x no

I soon discovered I had been guilty of implementing the “consecutive hunt” strategy thirty-nine times, which had encompassed 109 hunts, over the past 5 years.

On the first hunt, I found I was successful 100% of the time when hunting consecutively from a stand location. On the second consecutive hunt in a stand location, I was successful 67% of the time. The second consecutive hunt reduced my odds for success by 33%. On the third consecutive hunt in a stand location, my success rate was 18%. The third consecutive hunt from a stand location, reduced my chances for success by 82%. On the fourth consecutive hunt from the same location my success rate was 20%. The fourth consecutive hunt reduced my success by 80%. I have only hunted 5 consecutive times from a location on one occasion. I was not successful on the fifth consecutive hunt. The data surrounding the aforementioned hunts are as follows:

Hunt Successful Hunts Unsuccessful Hunts Success Percentage Decrease
#1 39 0 100% -0%
#2 27 12 67% - 33%
#3 5 22 18% - 82%
#4 1 4 20% - 80%
#5 0 1 0% -100%

Your success is reduced by hunting a stand location repeatedly without giving it a rest. It would appear from my studies, on the third consecutive hunt one’s odds for success are grossly decreased, an 82% decrease. As a rule, one should never hunt three consecutive times from the same stand location. A stand location needs a two to five day rest prior to your return for another hunt. This will prevent whitetails from patterning your movement in the timber. The only exception to overhunting a stand location may occur during the peak of the rut. One may be afforded the opportunity to return to favorite stand locations in hopes of intercepting mature bucks which may have been a great distance away the day before. You may not be limited to hunting bucks native to home territories, during the rut. Bucks may travel many miles in pursuit of hot does. Each time you hunt a stand location, you leave scent in route to the area as well as at the stand location from which you hunt. Whitetails may also detect the hunter visually, and audibly, while traveling to and from a given area. Every entrance into the timber causes disturbance to the deer population in some manner. Don Roper, President of the Archery Big Bucks Club of Missouri, Vice President of Missouri Bowhunters, and Official Pope and Young/Boone and Crockett Measurer, stated, “I usually put a good solid evening and morning hunt in a location and never go back for a third hunt. I make sure not leave my scent three times in a row. I have killed five bucks which qualify for the Pope and Young Club. Three of the five animals were harvested on the first hunt in a stand location. Their is a definite correlation between the number of times one hunts a stand location and the amount of scent one leaves in an area.”


Some wildlife biologists have determined a whitetail deer can smell 10,000 times better than a human being. The K9 Behavior Unit of the United States Marine Corp. stationed at Camp Lejune, Jacksonville, North Carolina, reports a bloodhound can smell up to 5,000 times better than a human being. Several years ago, Mexican border authorities used dogs trained for scent discrimination to detect fifteen pounds of marjuana hidden under two tons of onions. K9 handlers have also used dogs to track individuals lost in the wilderness, or prison escapees. On some occasssions these dogs are subject to begin tracking a scent line that is often many days old. Dogs are also being used to detect dead bodies hundreds of feet under water. Knowing the capabilities of a dogs nose it would be fair to assume that you would greatly enhance the whitetails ability to detect your prescence by leaving too much scent in one area. This is exactly what occurs in locations which are hunted repeatedly.

In an attempt to avoid hunting the same location too often I utilize a hunting strategy called “Musical Chairs”. I position six to ten portable stands in different locations which I believe will produce shot opportunities at desired animals. After hunting from one location, I hunt from one of the remaining locations on the following trip to the timber. I work the stands in a rotation, much like a pitching staff of a major league baseball team. This strategy keeps hotspots from being overhunted. “Musical Chairs” offers the hunter a change of scenery, and allows one to chose a stand for hunting with a desirable wind direction. Gary Lucas, owner of a local archery shop in Moberly, Missouri has harvested a half a dozen Pope and Young bucks throughout his hunting career. Lucas stated, “I never hunt more than once from a stand location. I pack up and move on. I guarantee whitetails detect your location when you hunt from the same stand time and time again. The first hunt from a location is always your greatest opportunity for filling a tag.”

After becoming aware of the damages incurred by overhunting a stand location, I altered my strategies. On a cool evening in October I viewed a nice buck walking the back corner of a cut corn field just out of bowrange. Agonizingly enough I purposely avoided hunting there in an effort to cleanse the corner of my scent. I returned several days later. At first light the mature whitetail buck appeared from the timber into the field. I waited for an ethical shot, and recovered my trophy moments later. I am now convinced that my ambush would have been spoiled if I would have overhunted the area. As a general rule if you are wondering if deer know you’re hunting them from a specific location.......they probably do.

Darrin Bradley

Back to the Hunting Articles