Big Woods Hunting Tips for Bow Hunting Deer
Big woods bucks are some of the most rewarding trophies any archery hunter can bag. Their lifestyle, matched with unforgiving wilderness, tests not only your hunting skills but your mental endurance. There are no food plots or agricultural field edges but only vast expanses of timber undulating from ridgetop to valley for bow hunting deer. Seemingly, the majestic wilderness would be the last greatest monster buck bow hunting if not for the many challenges it offers.
Endless miles of homogenous land defines the big timber and the lack of concentrated food sources and inconsistent deer patterns drive the hunting. Few are successful at harvesting one of these big woods bucks without understanding specific bow hunting deer tips for big timber whitetail hunting.
Off the Map for Finding Deep Woods Bucks
The standard approach for finding deep woods bucks is to get as far away from access points, especially when hunting public land. True, many hunters in the big timber hunt only a few hundred yards from the road. However, do not go deep only because you want to get away from hunting pressure. The first tip to successfully bow hunting deer in big timber is to know that it is all about habitat when it comes to hunting big woods whitetails.
Too many hunters walk by ideal hunting locations simply to get further into the woods, but don’t! Find habitat that holds deer, specifically in areas that are unique to the larger landscape such as travel corridors and spots that have abundant and predictable forage. Look for highly productive oak pockets guarded by thickets for evening feeding sets. Recent timber cuts also provide cover and browse opportunities that whitetails will utilize throughout the fall.
Maps and a GPS are a Must
The only way to find good deer habitat is to be able to analyze an area from a distance. Terrain features from a topographical map can pinpoint funnels deer will use to get from ridge to ridge or areas that are not worth your scouting time based on topographical features and access availability. Maps and a GPS can also be used to plan your travel to and from potential bow hunting deer locations in order to minimize disturbance in the woods. Use side hill benches and creek bottoms to make your way in and out of hunting areas to avoid detection and ambush big timber trophies.
Put Your Time in
Bow hunting deer is never easy, but it is much less difficult when you are bow hunting on smaller properties, properties that are managed for deer and urban areas. Patterning big woods bucks is not easy and you have to put your time in to be successful at hunting them.
Scouting time should be at least twice as much as hunting time. Concentrate your scouting efforts on what you have determined to be the best spots based off of your maps. Areas like travel corridors and habitat edges combined with forage availability, water access and bedding areas are all places to start scouting for archery. Game cameras can help to scout more ground and quickly determine which areas require more attention come hunting season. If you can find one or two areas with deer sign that have consistent food and water availability near bedding cover in a general 100- to 150-acre area, regardless of how close it is to the road, hunt it.
Following the Sign for Hunting Big Woods Whitetails
Bucks in the big woods can be found, at some point, all across the many miles of forest. Yet, mature bucks will stick to a fairly small inner home range. Rubs, scrapes and used deer beds are all signs that deer and particularly bucks are using an area repeatedly and not just passing through. If there is no buck sign in an area, then move on until you find quality habitat with buck sign. An option is to be mobile with lightweight archery equipment and a top-rated bow so you can follow deer sign and setup when appropriate.
Realism for Big Woods Bucks
The most important bow hunting deer tip for big timber deer is all about mental preparation. You should have realistic expectations when hunting big timber for whitetails. You are likely to see less deer overall and even less likely to fling an arrow. Preparing yourself upfront with realistic expectations you will encounter is important to keep you mentally sharp and positive while in the woods.
As a final point, not all of us have prime deer properties nestled away waiting for archery season. For those whose only choice is hunting big woods whitetails or those who just prefer the challenge, take these several tips and elevate your big woods bow hunting deer strategy.