Hunting > Whitetails

Sit All Day

If you can tough it out all day in one of the stand locations listed here you'll have a good chance of seeing a rut-crazed buck.


November is time to go back to basics and try the best big-buck tactic ever: Find a good spot and hunt there all day; yeah, that's from dawn until dusk. Can you hack it? If you can tough it out all day in one of the stand locations listed here you'll have a good chance of seeing a rut-crazed buck, maybe even one with a whopper rack.

1. Hub Ridge
Check your aerials for an elevated hardwood ridge within 300 yards of a field of soybeans, corn, clover or alfalfa. By elevated, I mean the ridge might rise only 100 feet above the field, or it might slope up much higher. Either way, bucks like the height because they can work up high and watch for does moving in the swales and brush below. The elevation is good for you because the wind is more stable up there than in the nearby low spots.

A ridge is a staging area for does going to and coming off the feed, and hence it is a hub of buck traffic. Find a hot hub ridge and you'll know it-the joint will be a barnyard of deer sign and scent.

Hang a treestand or scrape together a blind at one end of a ridge where your access is best, and where the predominant wind (west to north-west in November in most areas) will be in your favor. Since you will sneak in before daybreak, plan a route that fully circumvents the field and all connecting corridors to the ridge. Don't spook deer while moving in and you'll be sitting pretty for the day.

2. Creek Crossing
A creek or larger stream is a natural travel corridor for bucks on the prowl. A giant 10-pointer might roam for miles up and down a creek, checking the various doe groups that bed along the waterway. In early to mid-November a buck might come by the spot you're watching at 9 a.m., noon or later. So sit and watch all day.

When hunting with a firearm, I set up out of the wind and hidden on a hillside with a commanding view of a creek bottom, where I might see 200 yards in each direction. But my focal point is a bend or a shallow crossing within good shooting range. An undisturbed buck checking for does won't plunk into the water and swim across, but he's apt to slow down and to cross at a shallow gravel or sand bar. Scout for natural crossing points. They'll be easy to find as the soft stream banks make reading sign simple.

If you're bowhunting, move in tighter to a crossing and hang a treestand. The wind can be squirrelly down in the bottom. Make sure your scent blows out into the timber on your side of the creek, not up or down it. A cruiser buck might come from either direction, so keep your head on a swivel.

3. Cover Pocket
One November morning I hunted a block of flat timber with no ridge or creek in sight. I did the third-best thing and hunted the first point of heavy cover near an alfalfa field where lots of does fed. It was a tricky set. The crop was 75 yards to the north, the deer bedded to the southeast and the wind was out of the west. In pitch-black dark, I snuck in and slipped into a stand I'd set on the east side of the heavy brush.

Dawn broke and does came off the feed, funneling straight to the cover in front of me. Deer use the nearest available structure like bass do, and this was a classic example of it. I figured a buck or two would come trolling behind the gals, but I was surprised to see five shooters. The does reached the cover and stopped. The bucks rolled in, grunting, blowing and snort-wheezing. Finally, I was able to draw my bow and kill the second-biggest 10-pointer.

I'm happy I shot him early, but I would have gladly hunted there for the duration. Hunting so tight to the feed field, I might have had some down time at midday. But then again maybe not-you never know when a randy buck will chase a doe past your stand. Late in the afternoon the does would have moved back toward the feed, the bucks would have been lapping at their heels and I would have been sitting pretty again.

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