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Reflect on each post as if it’s a live feed into the life of a “365 day a year whitetail & turkey fanatic”!

Lookin’ to the Fields for Early Whitetails

This edge has a clover plot with a grass strip then corn, deer often will walk this edge.

Early! Early! Early! I can’t wait for opening weekend. I take the first chance I can to get out and hunt whitetails.  I live for the openers; I like to use this time to hunt from a blind or a tree stand on the edge of a field, because one thing it does is allow me to pattern deer movement and it also itches that year long scratch to hunt. Don’t get me wrong I love to hunt the rut, but hunting early and in the wide open, gives just that many more opportunities and needed information to kill that trophy buck.

Like I said being in the open allows me to see and there is nothing more exciting then hunting in the wide open with my muzzleloader. I can do two things-watch deer movement (scouting) and/or, if I’m in luck make a great shot on a trophy. The reason I’m scouting within a season is I’m always looking to get ahead.  In doing so, I gain valuable knowledge that I can use in the upcoming bow season and the rut.

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Why open fields early? Whitetails are quite often still in their summer patterns and can be vulnerable. You may still find them in groups or pairs and big bucks tend to hang out with other big bucks. I might just shoot an excellent buck with my muzzleloader and/or find the buck I’ll be hunting during the bow season. It’s easier then you might think to keep yourself undetected in an open field. Sure blinds help, but even if you don’t have one you can still use small trees, shrubs and I also use fence lines. I’ll use a fence line on a hillside, up as high as I can get, but making sure to stay under the crest of the hill, so I’m not skylined. The last thing you want is to set up on the very top of the hill and have that trophy of a lifetime catch your movement. Also, with today’s muzzleloaders I don’t have to be too close, so give yourself plenty of room, and don’t set up on top of where you expect the deer to be.


A corridor like this buffer strip, bucks often travel early in the season. 

When hunting with my bow early on I like to set up on the edge of a field, even on the edges of crop fields. What I’m looking for is a long waterway, hopefully in a mowed condition, and maybe with a honey hole clover food plot, at the end near my bow stand.  Really, any corridor of travel will work any place that I think a buck will use to move from place to place. Long waterways in crop fields are great because deer feel comfortable, deer are a lot like us, and they like to walk where it’s easiest. I’m using the crops as a funnel just as I use natural funnel in the deep woods to funnel deer to my stand.  Try to pick a tree that gives you high visibility in as many directions as possible, you want to be able to ready yourself before the buck is at your stand. Keeping in mind that you still want to be hidden, as much as possible also be sure to trim shooting lanes, but not so much that you expose your position.

These are a few of the ways I take advantage of the early seasons and if I score great, if not, I know that every day I spent out in the open, I’m learning and it will pay off for me, soon very soon. Good luck this upcoming season and shoot straight.

Pictures by: Jacob Groth


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