Finesse Deer Hunting - Do you Have The Patience & Skills?
Merriam and Webster define finesse as “skillful handling of a situation: adroit maneuvering”. If you are like me, you are scratching your head wondering what adroit means. Adroit is defined as “Having or showing skill, cleverness, or resourcefulness in handling situations”. We have all heard of finesse fishing, but the word finesse is rarely used in deer hunting circles. Finesse fishing usually means downsizing, slowing down or easing into your approach. Using finesse whitetail tactics on mature whitetail bucks will greatly improve your odds of harvesting one.
It is often said that once a whitetail buck reaches age 4.5 year old or older, they are almost like another species and extremely difficult to harvest. They do not act, think, and react like younger immature whitetails. A mature whitetail buck has lived long enough to know that anything related to humans is a threat and simply will not tolerate the actions of most hunters without moving or becoming completely nocturnal. What common actions are we referring to? What do we mean?
Preseason Intrusion into Core Area:
Many of us have the tendency to get extremely excited when we realize there is a big buck in the neighborhood and proceed to hang as many cameras as we can afford. While the cameras most likely will not alarm the whitetail our repeated weekly or bi-weekly hikes to check the SD cards will. There are several solutions. Use wireless cameras and if the manufacture allows attach a solar panel for maximum time between physical visits. The other option is to opt to hang cameras along field edges or logging trials allowing you to drive to them with an ATV or tractor and changing cards without stepping foot on the ground. Oddly enough mature whitetails usually tolerate farm equipment and limited ATV use. In addition, we recommend only initially hanging your cameras right before a rain as that will wash out any scent you may leave. Bottom line is to avoid leaving human scent and taking any action that will disturb the animal you are hunting. You want him to feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
Do not even think of hunting your stand if the wind is not in your favor. There are many products on the market today that make claims about eliminating or reducing human scent. They all reduce human scent to some degree but the absolute best way to make sure you do not get busted is to only hunt under the right wind conditions. If you finesse deer hunt you would rather not hunt at all then to take the chance of being detected. The best odds to harvest your mature whitetail is the first time you hunt him. Your odds decline each time you hunt the same stand so make the most of each hunt. Quality over quantity.
Stand Entry – Exit:
Often overlooked but probably the most important area to apply finesse. When selecting stand sites entry, exit should be the determining factor as to where to place the stand. A stand in the best spot will do you no good unless you can enter or exit without leaving a trace. Ideally your stand placement will be in a location where you can be dropped off and picked up at the base of a tree with a tractor or ATV. No human scent trail to or from the stand. Other possibilities include along a small stream allowing you to enter and exit using the stream. In other instances, because of the topography, it may be possible to enter exit without detection.
Passing the Doe Test
Now that you have decided to use finesse tactics to harvest a mature whitetail it is imperative to be able to pass the doe test if you hope to succeed. When selecting stand sites, deciding on stand entry- exit keep doe movement in the back of your mind. The perfect set up will do you no good if you have a doe 100 yards downwind snorting and stomping. Avoid being detected by immature deer at all costs.
This sounds like a lot. We did not promise it would be easy. This summer and fall ease into your approach. Resist the temptation to march through the woods hanging cameras and stands. Study Google Earth maps of your hunting area.
Think about the predominate wind direction for your area and strategize. Figure out bedding areas and travel corridors. Look for pinch points, easy entry - exit stand sites and any other odd land features that may give you an edge. There are few things in life that are more rewarding then harvesting a trophy whitetail after having taken this approach. Determination although important is now not as important as using skill, resourcefulness, and cleverness. Do you have what it takes to become a finesse whitetail hunter?