Whether you’re a veteran buck hunter or a newbie heading to the woods/forest for the first time, the tips below can help you see more success this season. ( Some of the hunting tips are more applicable to the northern hemisphere hunter)
Human odor spooks deer. Shower with a scent-free soap before every hunting trip, and try not to contaminate your hunting clothes on the way to the field. Keep them sealed in a plastic container or bag with leaves, dirt and other ground debris from around your camp or stand until you arrive at your hunting location. Doing so will allow your hunting clothing to take on naturally occurring scents that permeate your hunting location.
Most hunters think that Doe or Hind estrous (urine) is the be-all and end-all of big buck/Stag attraction. Though estrous is a wonderful tool, it’s simply that. Wise hunters know that during the early-season it’s important to take advantage of a buck’s territorial instincts. The scent of an estrous doe/hind during early October for the northern hemisphere or March for the southern hemisphere simply doesn’t make sense to a buck/stag, but buck scent is always worth checking out.
During the peak-rut/roar, try a drag rag soaked in doe/hind estrous (urine). Often a buck/stag will follow the trail right to your location or stand.
Many hunters spray down with odor eliminator just after suiting up, and prior to the trek into the hunt site or stand, but experienced hunters will bring an odor eliminator with them to the hunting location or tree stand. After the walk to the hunting location or stand, apply an odor eliminator to your body, paying special attention to your hat and hair.
When muzzleloader/ rifle hunting in wet weather, place a piece of electrical tape over the end of the barrel, this will keep out moisture and stop debris getting in. You simply shoot through the tape when it’s time to knock over that buck/stag.
One of the deadliest scent set-ups defies the accepted rule of playing the wind. Locate a long strip of timber or cover with the wind blowing along the length of it (blowing from one end to the other). At the windy end, pour some deer scent at several areas, then set up high in a tree stand or find a high vantage point with the edge of the timber clear in your sights. If you’re set up high enough, your human odor should flow above the deer.
Practice setting up and taking down your tree stand before the season, and do so low on the tree. For the southern hemisphere hunters sort out your vantage spots, high traffic spots, look for sign. Make sure your camp is not up wind and sheltered so that the deer catch wind. Getting into and out of your spot as quietly as possible is key to getting a look at a good buck/stag.
You don’t have to own your own plane, or even by an airline ticket, to check out aerial photos of your hunting area, and there are no better scouting aids than aerial photos. Just search Google Maps for your hunting area(satellite view is great). As for New Zealand we have a great free map tool: Topomap.co.nz This is great to plan your trip, find camp spots, tracks, huts and a great tool to plan how to hunt areas.
Avoid trimming shooting lanes and otherwise disturbing your hunting area during the season. The time to clear shooting lanes is during summer. Wise old bucks can become conditioned to the smell of freshly cut timber, and begin to associate it with human predation.
If some concealment is good, then maximum concealment is better. Tree stand blinds help to fool the wary eye of a deer. As this is not very popular in the southern hemisphere find a sheltered/down wind vantage spot, stay out of the open and provide the added benefit of shelter from harsh winds.