Mossy Oak ProStaff
Whitetail Regional Manager (IA, MN and WI)
Q: How important is pre-season scouting?
A: I feel that if you plan to harvest a mature, trophy quality animal that pre-season scouting is as important as or more important than the hunt itself. You should spend as much time scouting as you do hunting or more. Just keep in mind that minimal to no disturbance is always best. If that trophy is lurking on your stomping grounds, it would be a shame to push him off your property. Glass from vantage points and don’t over check your cameras. And as always use scent control as much as possible.
Q: How do you go about scouting in the early season before the bucks are making scrapes?
A: Focus on food sources. If you can glass them from a large hill or a nearby road, do this instead of using cameras. This will give you less disturbance and less sent in your woods. This is not always an option, especially in heavily wooded or secluded areas. This is when I use trail cameras placed on heavily used trails or field edges.
Q: Do you prefer hunting in the woods or along agricultural fields?
A: I focus on agricultural fields early season. This is mainly to keep my disturbance level down. Then late October I will start moving into the woods more. Usually by November, I am hunting only big timber. Late season, I’m back to the field edges again.
Q: How high should hunters hang their treestand?
A: I hunt deer not trees. I try to get my stand hung 15-25 feet up with good back drop. A lot of times that isn’t an option. I have had encounters with several trophy class bucks and managed to harvest a few form elevations as low as 7 feet from a treestand. If there are no trees, I place a blind. Most cases you don’t have many opportunities at the deer you have been dreaming of, so when the opportunity arises you must capitalize and adapt to the situation.
Q: Can you have success hunting from the ground?
A: Yes. I prefer to be in an elevated position whenever possible due to the vantage point. To be an effective hunter you must be able to adapt to the situation. If there are no trees were you need to be, hunting from the ground will be your best bet. If you’re not there when he is, I can promise you won’t get the shot.
Q: Are doe or buck decoys effective?
A: Both can be effective. I prefer a buck decoy early (pre rut) then I will switch to doe later on in the rut when you think they are in lock down. Just keep in mind, sometimes decoys are your ace in the hole and others times they will curse you.
Q: Is scent control important when hunting from a treestand?
A: Yes. Scent control is very important hunting from any position, possibly the most important factor in tipping the odds in your favor.
Q: What calls do you carry?
A: Rattling horns - the real thing, Primos buck roar, and Primos can call. I keep my calling to a minimum other than a little rattling pre rut. It’s hard to beat one coming to the horns.