Looking to tag out on a big buck this year? Consider a passive strategy and play the long game to score your deer. Too many hunters go blazing into the woods with rattles and scents before creating a very well formulated plan. Start your hunt well before opening day and have a plan of attack that allows you to continue hunting a specific buck throughout the season. Patience and strategy will open up opportunities for some real monsters.
Get out well ahead of the season and start scouting. At Hadley Creek, guides have the advantage of being on these farms constantly. Even if you can’t be there every day, put in as much time as possible.
Keep good glass and pick through bedding areas. Take advantage of the pre-season and look in some weird and off the beaten path spots. Consider the hunting pressure as well as the deer. The dense woods and timberlines are great but also heavily hunted. Look for small patches of timber and areas where a big buck can have the advantage of sight while remaining concealed. There are some very sneaky places where the big guys hold up.
Set trail cameras as well but remain passive and avoid stomping through bedding areas and scout on foot rather than running around with a loud ATV. At Hadley Creek, trail cams are a big part of the pre-season scouting.
After you have located a few good bucks and know their territory, plan your food plots if the option is viable and legal. Plant near summer food sources to keep bucks in the area when fall arrives. They will tend to stay close anyways but your plots can help pattern fall movements between beds and food.
Plan the Wind
Setup multiple tree stands to combat wind and play the scent game. This is a big key to success at Hadley Creek. Set multiple stands in strategic areas based on where the bucks are bedding. You can alternate between stands according to wind direction, beds, and food plot locations. Having multiple options on a single farm is somewhat passive but also means you are less likely push bucks out of the area.
For more information on Illinois Whitetail hunts with Hadley Creek Outfitters, please call us at 217-335-3804 or send us a message.