The Creepy Areas of Monster Bucks
As children we have watched horror movies. We have been exposed to Halloween. We have been preached to by Pastors about demons and devils, and as human beings possess the emotion of fear. Have you ever positioned a tree stand in an area to intercept a big whitetail buck, that if the truth be known when you reached the tree stand you skirted up the ladder sticks on the side of the tree for the first 7 or 8 feet as fast as you could, simply because somewhere in the back of your mind you thought something might grab you and haul you off into the darkness? My point is that when it comes to whitetail deer stand locations there are friendly serene locations that present a happy feeling, and then there are those locations where whitetail deer hunters hang tree stand locations that simply give you the creeps. Those are the locations where you almost feel like somebody is following you or watching you enter and exit. Getting goose bumps yet? You know the type locations I speak of. These creepy areas can produce the biggest of whitetail deer.
Fact, 93% of all whitetail deer harvested by hunters are killed within ¼ of a mile of an easily accessible road. Of those 93% of deer harvested within ¼ of a mile of an easily accessible road, 91% of them are does and yearlings. Thus one can assume the really big bucks aren’t hanging out at your friendliest and most accessible tree stand sites. The big whitetail bucks are deep in the creepiest areas of your hunt locations.
In the fall of 2007 I hunted a farm in Zone 5 of Iowa. Iowa deer hunting can be second to none. The farm I accessed was a huge tract of continuous acreage that had mature timber, logged timber, 3 creeks, tall crp grass, some old condemned barns, and was located in the “boondocks”. 5 days prior to the Iowa deer hunting season opening day I snuck into the farm and quietly crept around looking for the location in which I would hope to kill an Iowa whitetail deer. Several spots were appealing. The first location I checked out was just a draw leading to a bigger piece of timber. The draw was full of big whitetail deer rubs and looked great but I just wasn’t drawn to it. The second location was up near an old condemned barn overlooking a crp field and partial woodlot. Although that setup looked great as well, I just wasn’t pumped about it. I punted both areas which ultimately on this farm probably would have presented a shot at a trophy buck on Iowa deer hunting’s opening day of the season. This was just a farm you couldn’t have gone wrong with almost any location for hunting whitetail deer. I climbed back into my truck and headed around to the back of the farm and entered through an old rusty gate off a very desolate gravel road. I snuck down into the timber and quickly discovered a creek holding a couple feet of muddy water that stretched throughout the farm. I crossed the creek and headed up the bank onto the other side to discover a dense thicket of small saplings. I weaved my way through the saplings and found myself standing in a small ½ acre weed field. The Northern border of this field of weeds was 10 acres of evergreen trees. On the Western border of the small ½ acre weed field was a march full of standing cat tails. I stood and examined the location just knowing this was the location to take down a monster whitetail buck. The location not only had a sapling bed area, but also a marsh, and 10 acres of evergreens trees with tons of whitetail deer beds underneath them.
I literally stood in the ¼ acre field of weeds and began to get that spooky feeling. From the creaking of the rusty gate to the muddy old creek to an area that within weapon range had 4 different types of distinct terrain breaks I knew I was standing in heaven. A terrain break occurs when one type of terrain abruptly changes to another. For example standing in the 1/2 acre field just 30 yards away an evergreen orchard stood. An abrupt terrain break. From the evergreen orchard lying 30 yards away was a marsh of cat tails. Another abrupt terrain break. From the marsh to the creek bank 30 yards away was a thicket of hard wood saplings, yet another abrupt terrain break. I swear to you before I positioned my tree stand for my Iowa whitetail deer hunt I knew the gig was already up. Dead deer walking. At first light on opening day it took all of 10 minutes to score on a monster Iowa whitetail buck.
I’ll have to say though, the child in me was wondering as I accessed the location in the darkness on opening morning if something would arise from the marsh like the creature from the black lagoon, or if a mountain lion would pounce out from the evergreen orchard, not to mention what would await me at the creek crossing. Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! Seriously though there are certain whitetail deer tree stand locations that flat out give you the creeps.
Normally these whitetail deer ambush destinations are far from any human activity and offer terrain that is so strange it is almost scary due to the locations lack of human management to the area due to a lack of accessibility.
What Components are Involved in the Creation of “Spook Whitetail Deer Tree Stand Locations”?
A variety of things can cause a certain location to give you chills and goose bumps which ultimately lead you to believe a monster buck is utilizing the area.
1. Accessibility to the area is near impossible. There are areas due to the way roads lie and tributaries flow that lay up land tracts that only an insane person would attempt to access for whitetail deer hunting. These areas require long walks or intense terrain negotiation by the whitetail deer hunter. Most people just won’t even hunt them, that’s if they can get permission to do it. For the few that will hunt these places most are too lazy to walk in with the invention of ATV’s thus even upon entry often times they are spooking big whitetail deer unless they are doing things the old fashioned way……………walking into the location. If your not gonna sneak in the area and elect to utilize a 4 Wheeler then its not gonna be a sanctuary for long. I promise big deer do associate humans with motor noise. Especially in remote areas that whitetail deer aren’t used to being interrupted by humans.
2. No hunting pressure from years past. Once in a great while you will locate a farm and gain access to a farm that simply hasn’t been hunted. In 13 years of being a whitetail deer outfitter after countless times of examining the County Plat Books of 5 States and numerous counties I can count on my fingers the few number of times I’ve located a farm that REALLY has never been exposed to hunting or hasn’t been exposed to hunting for a long period of time. However these “needle in haystack” farms do exist, and believe me they hold very big deer because nobody has been hunting nor disturbing them.
3. Numerous “Transition Zones” Exist A minority of farms for whitetail deer hunting contain an abundance of “Transition Zones”. A transition zone is where on type of vegetation or terrain abruptly changes into another. For example in a single woodlot you may see half the trees have been intensely logged creating fallen treetops and dense bed areas and then BAM almost in a straight line the timber is mature and never been logged. Another example of transition zone might be wherein a grove of white oaks abruptly changes to a solid orchard of thick evergreens. An abundance of distinct transition zones on a single whitetail deer hunting property also creates locations where after hanging your tree stand you get that “shiver running up your spine.” True transition zones have distinct edges to the terrain boundary.
During the summer of 2008 I located an 800 acre farm that the landowner had simply not allowed anyone to hunt. The farm was a maze of transition zones, and had terrible roadway access. The farm contained terrain that varied from swamps, to hardwoods, to thickets, to lakes, to head high weeds, etc, etc. I snuck into the area, which might I add was quite a long walk. (Most hunters wouldn’t have began to walk into the area.) The deer paths were heavy and plentiful. I setup in an area about 100 yards off a cornfield of the neighbor where 5 trails intersected in a transition zone which went from hardwoods to thickets. Just hours later I sent a Rage Broadhead through the vitals of a whitetail buck that was nothing short of amazing. Sometimes getting the “creeps” near a tree stand location is just a good whitetail deer hunters 6th sense that he’s in a great area where he literally feels a big deer is hiding out.