Plan Now For Next Season's Whitetail Trophy

Plan Now For Next Season's Whitetail Trophy

With a little planning and hard work, you can create your own luck on whitetails.





For me, preparing for my past archery season began January 1, literally. I was determined to improve my hunting odds in the New Year. I scouted hard, found new hunting areas, picked new stand locations, and cleared shooting lanes. By February I had a dozen new stand sites. And in addition to these new hot spots on four farms, I added a couple of mineral licks and made plans for some food plots.


By March I'd begun soil preparations for some spring planting. I'd found some open land on each of the farms. Many landowners have abandoned fields they're glad to see kept clear of unwanted brush. And on working farms it's often possible to get permission to plant small strips or corners that are not being used by the farmer. (Be sure to let the farmer know your intentions.) Food plots like these aren't just for the deer either; they benefit other wildlife, too. I consider March to be the second best time of the year to plant perennials such as clover and alfalfa (the best time is early fall), but it's a great time to plow or disk in preparation for late spring planting. I wanted to sow a variety of plants that would supply beneficial forage throughout the year. After consulting the professionals at Southern States farm supply, I decided to plant clover and some sericea lespedeza in March, and then a mixture of cowpeas, soybeans, sorghum, and Japanese millet in early May.

By midsummer my hours of research and work already had begun to pay dividends as I had the opportunity to observe many does, fawns, and velvet-racked bucks foraging on the protein-rich food plots. Next it was time to screw in some EZY Climb treesteps and hang my favorite treestands. With that done, I then stayed out of the woods until it was time to hunt.

ON OPENING DAY, I headed home from work early. In preparation for my first hunt, I showered with unscented soap, dressed in lightweight camo, put on my rubber boots, and sprayed down with scent eliminator spray. The stand I planned to hunt had been in place for over 3 weeks now, and the area had not been disturbed. I wanted to do everything right today. Following an old logging road I quickly approached the stand from downwind and climbed up to 25 feet. A heavily worn trail passed below my stand, and I could faintly see the edge of a food plot 60 yards away. As I relaxed in the 80-degree temperature, I began to feel myself slowly transforming into the hunter waiting for this prey.

At 6 p.m. I heard the sound of running deer in a pine thicket some 80 yards to my left. Although I figured a doe and fawn were heading for the food plot, I slowly removed my Mathews from the bow holder and clipped on my release aid onto the string. Indeed, my first deer sighting of the season proved to be a spotted fawn. With the bow lying on my lap, I remained relaxed, as I was sure the next deer to approach would be the fawn's mother.

But I couldn't have been more surprised. A long main beam sporting five tall, dark tines caught my eye first. My heart instantly kicked into high speed as a wave of adrenaline rushed through my body. I stared intensely, not fully believing what I was seeing. As I sat motionless, the monster buck moved forward and I got a better look at his huge 9-point rack. Now only 30 yards away and quartering to me, this seasoned veteran of the woods would surely detect any movement I made. Minutes seemed like hours as the buck nibbled on leaves and watched the fawn prance toward my food plot. Constantly alert, the buck finally moved into my shooting lane, and in the flash of a Rocket-tipped Beman shaft, all of my hard work was rewarded.

Not being able to see the hard-hit buck through all the dense foliage, I elected to wait on stand for 45 minutes. I then returned to the truck where I met up with my coworker and hunting companion, Tony Wyrick. After a few minutes of excited storytelling, we retrieved a Coleman gas lantern from my 4x4 and quickly located the big buck, which later netted 136 P&Y inches. He'd fallen only 40 yards from where I'd made the shot and was proof positive that you really can plot a trophy whitetail.

Recommended for You

Field Tools

5 Must-Have Pieces of Gear for Any Elk Hunt

Zach Bowhay - September 23, 2016

For those of us heading into the elk woods with the hopes of a close encounter with a rutting...

Recipes

Mexican-Spiced Venison Carnitas Recipe

Robert Sweeney

From the street carts of Mexico City to your hands – you're going to love every bite of...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 12: Deer Slam!

Bowhunter Magazine Editor Curt Wells lives his life-long dream of taking all five species of North American deer.

Elk Bulls Abound in Colorado

Bowhunter team member Rudy Bachraty gets his chance to take an elk with Cross Mountain Outfitters of Colorado.

Dead On: Picking a Spot

On this edition of "Dead On," Hall-of-Fame bowhunter Randy Ulmer shares advice on picking a spot.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Turkeys

Spring Gobbler Reset: How to Bowhunt Turkeys in May

Tony J. Peterson

With May comes an opportunity to re-think turkey bowhunting strategies.

Other Game

Tips for Bowhunting Predators

Joe Bell

Chasing predators is great for calming big-game nerves.

How-To

Tree Saddle Demo Climb With Aider Use

Mike Carney - June 07, 2019

Go farther, hunt deeper, and trek lighter while enjoying all-day comfort.

See More Stories

More How-To

How-To

Summer Scouting from Scratch

Tony J. Peterson

New year, new look at your whitetail ground

How-To

Small Fixes for Your Traditional Archery Setup

Fred Eichler - September 26, 2018

Try these small tweaks to improve your recurve or longbow shooting performance!

How-To

Late-Summer Scouting Mistakes to Avoid

Tony J. Peterson

Don't ruin your chances of tagging a big buck this fall.

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×