Most likely, you’re familiar with the term ‘ambush hunting,’ since most whitetail deer in the country are harvested using this technique. Here are a few tips and reminders that might give you a leg up this season.
As you may know, the basic premise of ambush hunting is to let the quarry come to you. Patience and planning are your friend here! Dress for warmth and be sure your location is comfortable. You can’t afford to shift or fidget – deer will detect and react to a motion as small as an eye blink.
The hunter’s big ambush advantage is that animals are creatures of habit and tend to move in predictable patterns. This allows the hunter to settle into a position easy shooting distance from a location he believes the deer will pass or visit. Be sure to plan your hunt for the afternoon, as morning hunts are less productive.
Choosing a Site
Common wisdom says to avoid bedding sites, as deer tend to be difficult to see and harvest when at rest. Also, if you miss your shot, a deer who has been ousted from his bedding area won’t be coming back to that location any time soon.
Feeding sites are usually your best bet. They tend to be predictable, easy to find, and more open giving you a clearer shot. Find as remote or isolated a feeding spot as possible, since deer will ghost with human activity. If feeding areas are too widespread or too difficult to find, well-used travel routes can be a good choice to set your ambush.
Setting Up Your Location
The method you use to set up your ambush location depends to a great extent on the surrounding area. Hunters may choose to use a tree stand, construct a blind with green branches, or simply hide. Whichever you choose, the important thing is that the animal can’t smell, see, or hear you. It’s crucial to stay downwind of your quarry. You may need to access your location by walking that extra mile if the wind is against you in order to avoid spooking your quarry.
If you have a productive site, you may want to consider setting up multiple ambush locations ahead of time so you can quickly change if the wind changes. Also, mature deer will switch up the trails they use day to day. It pays to alter your pattern and location as well to keep the deer guessing.