Q: How important is pre-season scouting?
A: VERY! Deer travel patterns can and will change from year to year. I would say in agricultural areas the number one contributor to this is crop rotation. But you also have to keep in mind that new predators can move into the area or their numbers can increase. Strong storms can blow down trees large enough to block deer runs or wipe out sections of the forest. Floods can push deer out of an area causing them to find a new home range. Droughts can force them to gravitate closer to a reliable water source. Also, mast trees don’t always produce food for the deer every year. Remember that they don’t have the creature comforts like we do; for them it’s all about survival.
Q: How do you go about scouting in the early season before the bucks are making scrapes?
A: I keep an eye out for rubs on trees and do a fair amount of glassing fields. But the best way for me is by using a good quality trail camera. It helps keep down the amount of human scent you may leave behind doing multiple scouting trips in your woods. If you’re not careful, you can educate the deer of your presence before the season even starts.
Q: Do you prefer hunting in the woods or along agricultural fields?
A: I do a little of both. In both early and late season, I do more agricultural field hunting. These are the times of the season when a mature buck will have the least amount of hunting pressure on him and is more likely to step out into an open field during daylight hours. But during mid-season I tend to stay back in the woods near field staging areas, multiple trail crossings, producing mast trees and water holes.
Q: How high should hunters hang their treestand?
A: For me it is a minimum of 18-20 feet. I work very hard at controlling and containing my scent with Primos scent control products, Scent Blocker clothing and Medalist undergarments and making sure my stuff is stored in a scent-safe container. But no one is perfect and no product is 100-percent scent proof. So the extra height helps carry away any scent that may linger.
Q: Can you have success hunting from the ground?
A: Of course you can, but on the ground you have to be very conscious of your scent and the wind direction. It’s also very important to use a high quality camouflage like the new Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity to conceal your movements. When hunting with a firearm the wind is not as critical because of your ability to set up farther away due to the extended shooting range of the weapon. But when bow hunting, it’s a whole other story; the wind can make you or break you. No matter how good you think you control your scent, you still need to set up downwind from where you expect to see deer whenever and as often as possible.
Q: Are doe or buck decoys effective?
A: They can be very useful tools to have in your arsenal. Decoys are far more effective though during specific times of the season. I have the best success using decoys during the pre-rut and rut. When combined with scents and calls you can have a deadly combination.
Q: Is scent control important when hunting from a treestand?
A: Yes! I take scent control seriously no matter if I’m on the ground or in a tree. Now you may be able to get away with a little more scent when in an elevated position like a treestand. But remember, you still have to walk to and from that stand. If you’re leaving scent behind doing so you are just educating the deer on your stand location.
Q: What calls do you carry?
A: Primos brand calls are the only ones in my pack. I carry The Buck Roar, Little Big Roar, Hands-Free Buck & Doe, The Great Big Can, The Original Can Estrus Bleats, and Big Bucks Rattle Bag. Primos has a new call out this year called The Up Roar and I can’t wait to give it a try in the woods.
The Mossy Oak ProStaff is a group of top outdoors men and women from across the country that act as spokespersons for the Brand. Members of the Elite ProStaff are people the hunting community will recognize from their hunting expertise and accomplishments, videos, TV and magazine articles. Our Regional ProStaff is a group of accomplished hunters who promote Mossy Oak in various regions across the U.S. They also manage a more localized Field Staff in their regions. From event support to retail store grand openings to radio and TV appearances, our ProStaff adds value to the Mossy Oak Brand nationally, regionally and locally.
For more go to: Mossy Oak