7 Kinds of Deer Hunting Access
Deer hunting is a lot of things. It’s about tradition. It’s about heritage. It’s about being in touch with one of creation’s finest animals — the white-tailed deer. But it’s also about one other thing — access.
Whether you hunt public land, private land by permission, or land you lease or own, deer hunting is about having the right access. Have that one piece of the puzzle and you’re likely going home with a freezer full of venison. Neglect securing necessary access and you might just eat tag soup. If you’re in the business of killing deer, pay heed to the following seven tidbits of advice.
1. Land Access
This one might seem obvious and a bit elementary. However, there are a lot of deer hunters out there who will hunt on subpar land simply because they don’t know any better. That’s why it’s very important to be able to recognize quality land when you see it and the necessity of securing access to it. As for what a quality piece of land looks like, check out No. 2 through 7 below.
2. Access to Food Sources
Deer must have food in order to survive. Deer won’t spend much time on a piece of land if there aren’t good food sources readily available to them. They follow the food. That’s just how it is. If hunting on private land, making sure deer have access to food year-round is part of a good game plan for success. Soft and hard mast (persimmon, apples, red oak, white oak, etc.), agriculture (soybeans, corn, wheat, etc.), grasses, forbs and many other sources of nutrition should be made available if it isn’t already. If you can't provide that, hunt elsewhere.
3. Access to Bedding Areas
Thick bedding cover is the next piece of the puzzle. Deer won’t live on a property without it, either. In other words, if you can see more than 75 to 100 yards through the woods, there isn’t enough cover. It’s time to selectively harvest some trees or convince the landowner to do so. Aside from standing timber, having thick, nasty pockets of extremely dense, low-lying cover (CRP, thickets, etc.) helps, too. And in the meantime, hunt a different location.
4. Access to Water Sources
Water is the third leg of a good deer hunting hotspot. Like you and I, deer have to hydrate. That makes this a must-have for deer hunters. The closer to the middle of the property the water is the better. This helps to keep deer further away from property lines and other hunters.
5. Access to Sanctuaries
Every property — good property that is — should have a designated sanctuary where no person should ever go before or during the season. This is very important for holding deer — especially big bucks — on a property. Deer must feel safe on that property to spend much time — especially in daylight — there.
6. Good Entry Access
I’ve harped on entry and exit routes a lot throughout the years. You can’t kill a deer if you spook it while walking to the stand or ground blind. Stay away from food sources and bedding areas when walking to your hunting location of a morning and away from bedding areas when walking in of an afternoon. Make sure the wind isn’t blowing your scent toward where deer are at that time.
7. Good Exit Access
Likewise, you can’t kill deer that you blow out when leaving the stand, either. Why? Because the pressure you apply can and will impact future hunts. Stay away from bedding areas when leaving your hunting location of a morning and away from bedding and feeding areas when leaving of an afternoon. Make sure your routes help shield you from whitetails’ prying eyes. Creeks, ditches, drainages and other similar terrain types can help accomplish this.