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How Much Hunting Pressure Will A Big Whitetail Buck Allow Before Going Nocturnal?
 

How Much Hunting Pressure Will a Big Whitetail Buck Allow Before Going Nocturnal?

As a whitetail deer outfitter of 13 years in 5 states I am constantly presented with tree stand choices for my deer hunters both morning and evening. Many factors are considered when choosing what tree stands my deer hunters will utilize, especially hunt pressure. I have to take a hard look at the wind direction, and place hunters on monster whitetail deer we have patterned using the wind to my advantage. However, one factor that always has to be considered, when hunting whitetail deer is how much hunting pressure will a big whitetail buck allow before he gets spooked, and moves to another area. Obviously as whitetail deer hunters we don’t want to spook trophy whitetail bucks off due to too much hunt pressure in any given area. Any whitetail hunter needs to be aware of when he or she is overhunting a whitetail deer area with too much hunt pressure, or not hunting the area enough. Either can be counter productive. In specific my intention with this article is to try and give some instruction regarding how much and how often you should hunt one area in search of a big whitetail buck you have been watching. Let’s talk about hunt pressure.

I’ve heard the old adage of those that believe that whitetail deer run a three day pattern wherein big whitetail bucks are only on certain areas every 3 days because they run a big pattern or area like clockwork. I don’t believe this at all. I haven’t seen any evidence of this either. Without boasting I want to tell you that as a whitetail deer outfitter for 13 years on a full time basis I have been forced, but willingly, to be aware of just how much hunt pressure a big whitetail deer will put up with and how much he won’t. It’s my job to know about hunt pressure. As whitetail deer hunters it is all our jobs to know about hunt pressure. It’s such an important factor of hunting that almost everyone that calls me to book a hunt ask, “How many hunters will be in camp when I’m there.” The reason they ask the question is to determine if in their own mind if too much hunting pressure is being applied by the whitetail deer outfitter. Problem is, often times the hunter him self doesn’t know the correct answer to the question, how much hunt pressure is too much on a piece of ground to spook big whitetail bucks off?

Seasonal Hunting Pressure of Whitetail Deer

If all details were given, the whitetail hunter must be aware that hunting pressure is different in regard to what time of the year you are whitetail deer hunting. During the rut a whitetail buck has been scientifically proven to travel up to 9 miles a day in search of does in estrous. Literally during the rut you will see trophy whitetail deer that you haven’t seen all year. One theory is that these trophy whitetail deer were on your property all along and that they were nocturnal until the rut began. Another theory is that these trophy whitetail deer have traveled from other areas and are now on your hunting farm in search of does in heat. Both are true. During the rut you will see whitetail bucks that were never on your property before because they are traveling a great deal during the rut. Also you will see big whitetail bucks that were there on your property the whole time but were nocturnal until the rut began. Because so much chasing and traveling is going on by whitetail deer during the rut, factored in with the simple truth that during this time whitetail deer aren’t as cautious negotiating movement hunting pressure isn’t as important as other time periods. I’m not saying that hunt pressure isn’t important during the rut. I’m simply saying that during the rut you can get away with a little more hunt pressure of whitetail deer.

Early season whitetail deer hunting or prior to the rut is a time when specific whitetail deer inhabit a core area and normally remain in a given area until disturbed too many times. This time period is of grave concern to hunt pressure. In fact this is the time period when you can most easily spook off big whitetail deer to due to much hunt pressure.

Late season whitetail deer hunting is also a time when specific whitetail deer inhabit a core area and normally remain in a given area until disturbed too many times. Hunt pressure is important during this time as well. The good thing about late season hunting is that if often times in the Midwest agricultural crops are all gone. Thus if you have a food plot placed on your farm for late season whitetail deer sometimes you can’t beat the whitetail deer off it with a stick and they will put up with a lot of pressure.

Therefore let’s discuss different seasonal strategies I impose during such each of these time periods that are very effective.

During the early season hunting we actually pattern trophy whitetail deer on food plots and grain fields. We determine wherein these whitetail deer are entering and exiting the food source. We do so with spotting scopes at great distances as to not pressure them. After many nights of observing the whitetail deer enter and exit we set up tree stands at those locations for early season whitetail deer hunting. We never set the tree stand right over the trail. The smart whitetail deer hunter will set the stand off the entry or exit of the food source about 25 yards. Don’t sit right on top of the whitetail deer path or your gonna get busted. I don’t care how good a hunter you may be. Normally during the early season deer hunting period we will never walk across a food source in the morning to access a tree stand. If you do that then you are simply spooking all the whitetail deer feeding prior to light in the field. Does are very wary during early season as they are concentrating on protecting their fawns and always on the lookout for predators whereas after a fawn matures through the season the mother leaves predator detection up to its off spring on a more frequent basis. Thus early season whitetail deer are the most spookyu of all. Normally during the early season on morning hunts we will stay off the fields and concentrate on bed area edges and hunt white oak acorns. Truth is that early season morning hunts are a challenge. By far the strongest whitetail deer hunt of the early season is in the evening, over or just inside the edge of the entrances and exits of food sources where you have patterned trophy whitetail deer.

Now that we know where to hunt early season we need to answer the question of how much pressure is too much pressure. During the morning early season deer hunts I almost never, as a golden rule will hunt the same tree stand but once a week. Normally not even that often. Morning is a delicate time. The hunter has to use lights to get into the timber, and negotiate terrain in the dark making more noise and creating more activity than during evening hours. Thus hunting a tree stand early season for whitetail deer in the morning can be over pressured pretty quickly. In regard to hunting whitetail deer in the evening during the early season it can get complicated. If you know a big whitetail buck is using the same general location to enter the food source each evening I will hunt it two nights in a row tops. If I don’t see him then I’ll back out a week. I never hunt the same evening tree stand three nights in a row personally. With my outfitted paying clients and hunters I never hunt the same tree stand more than one night before giving it a rest for many days. Even if your not spooking deer remember that your body is producing invisible vapors of human odor that are being deposit in your tree stand area. If too much human odor is deposited in that tree stand by hunting it too often, the whitetail deer will associate danger with your tree stand. As I write this article I am dying to go crawl into a tree stand I hunted last night, but have chosen not to, in an effort to give it a rest. And I’m talking about a tree stand I’ve only hunted one time this year. Maybe tomorrow I’ll crawl into it and give it a whirl.

Precautions one should take to minimize hunt pressure and deer detection include Medalist Scent Clothing, which is second to no other in the hunt industry. Just go throw you carbon clothing away. Also while you can’t mask your human scent you can minimize it with the wonderful products from Hunter Specialties. I religiously use their hunter green soap while showering. Mouthwash from Hunter Specialties. Also my favorite product of all is their Human Scent Elimination Spray found in the yellow and white bottle. I have actually done studies with the elimination spray from Hunter Specialties. I have sprayed down dirty ashtrays and even a piece of carpet we purposely poured gasoline on. Minutes later no scent exists after applying Human Scent Elimination Spray from Hunter Specialties. By the way I also tried the same experiment with other elimination spray companies which didn’t have the same result. As a general rule I don’t dress into my hunt clothes until I arrive at the farm. Then I have a series of rituals. I will take off all my clothes and wipe my body down with Hunter Specialties Body Wipes. Then I will put on my Medalist Scent Elimination Clothing. I will then walk to the tree stand I will hunt. Upon getting into the tree stand I will again spray down with Hunter Specialties Scent Elimination Spray. I simply wouldn’t go whitetail deer hunting without Medalist or Hunter Specialties products. Swear it. This is especially vital during early season hunting as it is hot and human odor is at its all time high of production.

Hunt pressure during the rut while vital is time when you can get away with some tricks. I have killed 14 Pope and Young Bucks, although I haven’t entered them in the Club Book. Many of these were killed without regard to hunt pressure. Swear it. Why? During the rut in the Midwest on a good whitetail property I will look at the farm’s aerial photograph and find the best funnels on the property for whitetail deer hunting. Believe it or not I will sit a good funnel all day for 2 or 3 days in a row. Why? Because I know in the Midwest that sooner or later some “love starved” monster whitetail buck is going to chase a doe past me through the funnel. It never fails. I literally know of funnels we have that really ought to have a hunter in them everyday during the rut. Because hunters over estimate the deer’s ability to detect overhunting during the rut. Deer are focused on one thing during the peak of the rut. Breeding. Seriously, I have watched big bucks on the side of the road in my headlights while driving home from a day’s hunt that were chasing does on the road’s shoulder that had no idea they were even in the headlights of a vehicle. During the rut these whitetail bucks are in a trance. Hunt your topographical advantages during the rut for whitetail deer, take precautions with Medalist and Hunter Specialties Products, and you can get away with things that during early season or late season were simply too much hunt pressure. With all that said I wouldn’t hunt a bed area or core area during the rut and over pressure or over hunt it. Leave these areas alone during the rut if you can stand it.

Late season hunt pressure and tactics are almost as complex as early season but not quite. During late season the deer all herd up together and sleep close to each other to stay warm and share body heat. Spook one whitetail deer and you’ll liable to spook fifty. Thus never get too close with your late season tree stand setup for whitetail deer. Especially in the evening. Other whitetail hunters always make fun of me because I take so much gear in the woods. I don’t dress at the truck with outer garments. I take my cold weather gear and roll it into a ball like a sleeping bag. I ratchet strap it tightly and tie it on my pack. This keeps me from sweating while in route to the tree stand setup. When I arrive I then put on my outer layer of warm Medalist clothing and begin my whitetail hunt. However I still go through my human scent elimination rituals of applying my Hunter Specialty products. Don’t think for a minute I’m trying to “plug” either Medalist or Hunter Specialties with this article. I’m sick of reading articles by famous outdoor writers that “plug” product all the way through them. For example, today’s outdoor writer might state, “As I climbed out of my Ford truck, and put on my badland backpack, I picked up my Mathews bow and began walking to my Ole Man Treestand.” By the end of the article your wondering what you’ve read. Both Medalist and Hunter Specialties are products I would not hunt without and believe in 100%. You need them or your odds of success will decline significantly.

During late season whitetail deer hunting I try to position myself as close to bed areas as possible in the morning. I look for the densest bed areas I can possibly find as deer have been hunted all year and are in the deepest darkest corners of your property. In the evening’s get out on the food plots and food sources. Deer are starving this time of year and have to come to the food source or face starvation. Bed areas of whitetail deer that catch the morning sunlight are the best. Remember they are cold and know where and just how to take advantage of sunlight each morning.

Thus in conclusion early season hunting is by far the most important time to consider hunt pressure and overhunting an area. The rut is the time you can get away with some pressure. Late season lies somewhere in between the two.

Now that we have presented data on hunt pressure of whitetail deer lets look at both Medalist and Hunter Specialties Products I simply wouldn’t be without. Remember with high quality products such as these hunt pressure is minimized as less odor is left and your odds of detection are decreased.

Medalist located at www.medalist.com

Base Layer
For over 100 years, Medalist has been developing performance base layers with one person in mind – YOU. Whether it’s on the job, working outdoors, on the slopes, in the most remote wilderness, or even in outer space, you can count on Medalist for the ultimate in performance apparel.

Understanding Layering

Your experience in any climate will be enhanced if you understand and use layering in your clothing selection. Conditions change and you must be prepared to change with them. Layering allows flexibility and the ability to adapt to these changes. Medalist apparel is designed to be used in a head-to-toe layering system that will provide the ultimate in comfort.

Layers create both fabric and air barriers to trap heat and insulate you from the elements. Typically, two to three layers will suffice in mild to cold conditions, but in extreme cold weather it is not uncommon utilize four layers.

The most important layer is your base layer. This layer is against the skin and will have the most impact on your comfort level. The base layer acts as an insulating layer and may have other performance attributes to enhance your comfort. Proper base layer selection prevents the need for changing outerwear pieces during various activities or wearing bulky jackets that can limit range of motion, flexibility, and comfort. Moisture control (wicking) is critical to move chill producing moisture off and away from the body. Additional performance enhancements are antimicrobial and/or thermodynamic properties. Medalist has a base layer that provides one or all of these performance properties.

Select a weight of base layer appropriate for the weather conditions and activity level you will be experiencing using the Temperature/Activity Level chart. Sitting in a tree stand all day in 20 degree weather will require a different selection of layers than hiking two miles to the stand in the same temperature conditions. Everyone’s metabolism is different and everyone reacts to exertion differently, so what might work for one person, may not work for you. You will have to experiment with layering to determine what combination of layers work best for you under different conditions.

Medalist Base Layers

Weight of Base Layer

Medalist base layers are available in three weights: lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight.

Lightweight – ideal for elevated temperatures or high activity levels.
Technology in Medalist Base Layer

Medalist offers a variety of technologies to enhance your comfort through any condition.

SilverMax Technology

Today our SilverMax technology is used by NASA astronauts and ground crew. This same cutting edge technology is also used by various law enforcement agencies around the country. Our SilverMax line of hunting apparel provides the hunter with a distinct advantage.
• Undetected scent-free protection – Unlike other technologies, SilverMax does not mask, hide, reduce or limit the growth of odor casing bacteria. IT DOESN’T ALLOW IT TO START!
• Thermodynamic body temperature regulation - SilverMax is effective in BOTH COOL AND WARM CONDITIONS. It reacts to your body conducting heat away from your skin when hot, and reflecting it back when fighting the cold, thus ensuring lasting adaptive comfort in mild to extreme conditions.
• Moisture transfer - SilverMax accelerates the movement of moisture through evaporation. As a result, SilverMax apparel allows for increased comfort in both warm and cool weather by minimizing moisture contact with the body.
• No activation, easy care –SilverMax garments do not need any activation or special storage requirements.
• Permanent - SilverMax is permanent. With proper care, Silvermax’s performance does not diminish over time. SilverMax has been tested for more then 250 washes with virtually no reduction in performance.
• Anti-Static – SilverMax provides quiet, noise-free movement.
SilverMax technology can be found in these Medalist Base layer styles
Scent Inhibitor™ Technology

Medalist’s exclusive Scent Inhibitor Technology is engineered to effectively neutralize and inhibit the growth of destructive and odor causing bacteria on the fiber, making you virtually undetectable to game. Scent Inhibitor anti-microbial is built-in during the fabric making process.
• Virtual scent-free protection
• No activation, easy care
• Stay-dry Skinetics MTS rapidly wicks away moisture
Medalist Outerwear
For over 100 years, Medalist has been developing performance apparel with one person in mind – YOU. Whether it’s on the job, working outdoors, on the slopes, in the most remote wilderness, or even in outer space, you can count on Medalist for the ultimate in performance apparel.
Understanding Layering and Outerwear

SilverMax is a scent elimination system. SilverMax begins to work when you begin to perspire. SilverMax base layer rapidly wicks the moisture away from your body to the other layers. As this moisture passes to the lining of the SilverMax outerwear, the outerwear compliments the scent elimination properties of the base layer.

In addition to the scent-elimination properties, the most distinct advantage Medalist SilverMax Outerwear has over the competition is the thermodynamic body temperature regulation that our 99.9% pure silver offers. We have put SilverMax technology in our outerwear to the test and it is proven to increase the insulative and warmth characteristics in our garments. Ounce for ounce, SilverMax is warmer, and will keep you more comfortable in all conditions.
Medalist Outerwear

Weight of Outerwear

Medalist outerwear is available in three weights: lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight.

Lightweight – ideal for elevated temperatures or high activity levels.
Technology in Medalist Outerwear

SilverMax Technology

Today our SilverMax technology is used by NASA astronauts and ground crew. This same cutting edge technology is also used by various law enforcement agencies around the country. Our SilverMax line of hunting apparel provides the hunter with a distinct advantage.
• Undetected scent-free protection – Unlike other technologies, SilverMax does not mask, hide, reduce or limit the growth of odor casing bacteria. IT DOESN’T ALLOW IT TO START!
• Thermodynamic body temperature regulation - SilverMax is effective in BOTH COOL AND WARM CONDITIONS. It reacts to your body conducting heat away from your skin when hot, and reflecting it back when fighting the cold, thus ensuring lasting adaptive comfort in mild to extreme conditions.
• Moisture transfer - SilverMax accelerates the movement of moisture through evaporation. As a result, SilverMax apparel allows for increased comfort in both warm and cool weather by minimizing moisture contact with the body.
• No activation, easy care –SilverMax garments do not need any activation or special storage requirements.
• Permanent - SilverMax is permanent. With proper care, SilverMax’s® performance does not diminish over time. SilverMax has been tested for more then 250 washes with virtually no reduction in performance.
• Anti-Static – SilverMax provides quiet, noise-free movement.
Hunter Specialty Products located at http://www.hunterspec.com/
Scent A Way Antibacterial Soap
Available in both liquid and bar soap form, the original Scent-A-Way™ "green soap" contains natural vegetable proteins that attack body odors. It includes Honeyquat for increased hydration and aloe vera for soft skin and hair. Scent-A-Way Soap can be used as a body soap or shampoo and is also an excellent all-around hand soap. Odorless and environmentally friendly. Great for trappers, anglers and campers.


Scent A Way Wash Towels
With enzymes that eliminate odor, Scent-A-Way™ Wash Towels cleanse and deodorize when soap and water are not available. Soothes skin with aloe vera and Vitamin E. Environmentally friendly. Twelve 10" x 12" towelettes come in resealable bag.
Scent Away Field Wipes
With enzymes that eliminate odor, these small wipes are perfect for taking into the field. They cleanse and deodorize when soap and water are not available. Soothes skin with aloe vera and Vitamin E. Environmentally friendly. Twenty 8" x 5" wipes are packaged in a peel-and-seal soft pack.
Scent Away Laundry Detergent
This odor-free liquid detergent is ultra concentrated with Clean Rinse and Stain Guard to prevent the re-depositing of dirt/soil. It cleans in all temperatures. Scent-A-Way contains no U-V brighteners and its Camo Guard enzyme provides color and pattern protection. Uses just 1/2 oz. for front loading and 1 oz. for top loading. Available in 24 oz. and 44 oz. bottles.
Scent Away Spray
The powerful, fast-acting Scent-A-Way Advanced Formula works by neutralizing, oxidizing, bonding, and molecularly changing a wide range of odors on clothing and equipment.
Scent-A-Way Advanced Formula is all natural, safe, and environmentally friendly. It won’t stain or fade clothing or materials and is not harmful to your skin.




Darrin Bradley

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