Tips from The Hunting Public: Whitetails on the Prairie

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For the fifth cease of The Hunting Public’s Deer Tour, Greg Clements headed to South Dakota and Nebraska in pursuit of early-season whitetails along with his bow. Clements was looking alone on this journey, so each hunt needed to be fastidiously deliberate for self-filming. Clements and his spouse just lately moved to South Dakota from Iowa, however Clements had deliberate these hunts as a technique to break up his drive again to Iowa the place he would meet up with the remainder of The Hunting Public crew. 

As he set out for his lengthy week of touring and looking, Clements deliberate to cease at a chunk of personal property in South Dakota he’s hunted for a number of years to scout and hopefully shut the gap on one of many bucks he encountered there final season. Here are a number of ideas from Clements’ week-long hunt on the prairie that you should use by yourself open-country hunts.

Don’t Rely on Last Year’s Scouting and Intel

About 15 years in the past, Clements went on a household hunt close to the Black Hills in South Dakota for the primary out-of-state hunt in his life. He fell in love with the world. Because of the state’s residency legal guidelines, he’s looking with a non-resident tag this season—as he has in years previous. This means he may solely hunt the non-public land the place he had permission till October 1st. After that, he can solely hunt on public lands within the state. 

Going into this yr’s mid-September hunt, Clements’ sport plan was to hunt the identical spot he had hunted final yr. 

“Going away from that season, I thought this property was incredible,” says Clements.

He had an excellent feeling in regards to the space final September, however he didn’t see many deer or a lot signal that journey. The property merely didn’t have the identical really feel because the yr earlier than. He ultimately labored his approach deeper into the property to hunt close to a water gap and located the deer, however solely in a small space. He ended his 2021 season seeing shooter bucks each morning of his three day hunt. He simply by no means bought the fitting wind to make a transfer.

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One of the rubs Clements discovered within the new space. The Hunting Public

Based on what he noticed in 2021, he anticipated that he would have a very good alternative to kill a pleasant buck this September if the deer adopted the identical sample because the yr earlier than. As he began scouting and placing out path cameras, nonetheless, he seen nearly no deer signal within the spot and he discovered cattle grazing there. 

To Clements dismay, the cattle had modified the face of the property by consuming the undergrowth. With nearly no deer on his path cameras and his first sit below his belt, he knew he wanted to make a transfer.

“I found one spot on the property where the cattle hadn’t been,” Clements says. “I found tons of beds, rubs, and other sign and decided to set up a trail camera.”

Clements says he ought to have anticipated that the property may hunt otherwise from one yr to the subsequent. Whether it’s environmental circumstances, illness, modifications in crop manufacturing, looking stress, or on this case cattle grazing, deer can and can redistribute to new areas. Take that into consideration when you’re persistently looking the identical locations over and over. If you’re not seeing the deer or the signal that you simply did the yr prior, it’s greater than doubtless time to make a transfer and do some scouting.

Stalk Into Your Hunting Location

The cameras revealed a number of good bucks in that space, so Clements determined to hunt one remaining night earlier than departing for Nebraska. While scouting the world, he situated a tree that will be excellent to arrange in. The solely difficulty was that he discovered a number of beds close to his stand location. 

As he labored his approach into the world, he took his time and glassed each couple of steps. This allowed him to quietly strategy the world and gave him the prospect to see that there was a doe bedded down about 10 yards from his tree. He didn’t need to spook the doe, however he additionally didn’t have a lot time to waste.

“If you spook a deer in a situation like that, they could run right into a bedding area and spook other deer, like your target buck,” says Clements.

Thinking rapidly, he rolled a rock down the hill, which bought the doe’s consideration however didn’t spook her. She merely stood up and moved off slowly. That night, Clements had an encounter with a mature buck that got here proper out of the bedding space she doubtless would have run via, additional proving the significance of stalking into your looking location.

While the encounter with the mature buck didn’t present a shot alternative, Clements left South Dakota feeling assured that he had discovered much more in regards to the space. He plans to do some South Dakota public land looking later this fall along with his members of the family. But first, he headed all the way down to Nebraska for the ultimate leg of his hunt.

Clements had hunted on this basic space of Nebraska earlier than, however was breaking down new tracts of land he hadn’t seen earlier than. He had three days to seal the deal earlier than he wanted to be in Iowa. 

Clements dove in and began scouting on his first day. He was centered on discovering areas the place the burr oaks have been dropping acorns and assumed that’s the place the deer would gravitate to. Using the ‘Acorn Producing Oaks’ layer on his OnX Hunt app, he was capable of hone in on these spots and rapidly scout for deer signal. 

The first day of scouting led to a ton of signal, scat, acorns, and trails. That night, Clements noticed seven deer within the final 10 minutes of sunshine round a feed tree, however none got here inside bow vary. The subsequent morning he went again to the identical spot pondering he’d catch the deer coming again to mattress and feed below these oaks. 

“I had high hopes for that morning hunt, but ended up only seeing a doe and fawn moving through, they just didn’t come and feed under that tree like the night before,” stated Clements.

That afternoon, he determined to combine it up and hunt a unique space alongside a creek backside with actually thick bedding cowl. The excessive winds that day allowed him to get in tight to the bedding, the place he noticed a few does with fawns. By the tip of the second day of his Nebraska hunt, he had a pair shut calls with does, however no arrows have been launched.

Work Together With Other Hunters on Public Land

To kick off his third and remaining morning, Clements opted to scout reasonably than hunt. While scouting an space he needed to hunt that afternoon, he got here throughout one other bowhunter, Travis, who had traveled there from Wisconsin. Clements and Travis broke down their hunts to this point and started to debate their plans for the night hunt.

“We got to talking and realized we were hunting all of the same areas and actually planned to hunt the same exact spot that evening,” recalled Clements.

After this realization, Clements graciously modified his plans in order that Travis may have the world to himself. (The spot was located close to a milo discipline, and Clements had seen deer there earlier than.) The two exchanged numbers and Clements got down to scout a brand new space close by.

As he entered the brand new spot, he discovered a big patch of burr oaks on his OnX Hunt app near thick cowl. As he started working towards the patch of burr oaks, he was inspired by the signal he was discovering. When he bought down into the draw, he discovered a contemporary rub and plenty of tracks, together with two contemporary scrapes. 

“I remember thinking, This is the spot, this is what I was hoping to find,” Clements says.

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Clements along with his Nebraska buck. The Hunting Public

He picked a tree about 10 yards from the scrapes with two trails on both aspect of the tree. Within 20 minutes, he was arrange and able to movie. The wind was excellent. With steep ridges on each side, the wind usually swirls which makes it robust to hunt, however on this case, the draw was instantly in step with the wind route and his scent was blowing again to the place he had entered the draw.

After about two hours with no motion, he was stunned he hadn’t seen something but. Then he abruptly heard one thing within the leaves close by. A couple of minutes handed and the steps stored coming down the draw. Soon sufficient, a shooter buck got here into view. 

“By the time I saw him, he was within bow range because of how thick it was,” Clements says. “He slowly kept feeding on acorns and moving closer.”

Standing 15 yards away, the buck was broadside, however branches have been blocking any shot Clements had. As he performed it cool and stored himself from dashing a shot, the buck abruptly trotted his route and stopped at eight yards behind a bunch of cedars. As the buck started working again towards the thick cowl once more, Clements drew again and took benefit of the one opening he had. The buck stepped into the opening quartering away at 12 yards and Clements let the arrow fly. 

“I knew I hit him well, the arrow got a perfect pass through and he took off,” says Clements. “I thought I heard him crash on the other side of the ridge.”

As Clements bought down out of the tree, he went to test the arrow and referred to as Travis. Travis excitedly agreed to come back assist Clements monitor the buck. Once he arrived, the 2 adopted the blood path and confirmed Clements’s suspicion that the deer had crashed on the opposite aspect of the ridge.

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The two hunters drag the buck out of the draw. The Hunting Public

“What made that hunt meaningful for me was I was able to call Travis almost right away. After working together that morning, it was really cool to be able to call him and share that success.”

The interplay reminded Clements of looking public land round his hometown when he was rising up. Outdoorsmen serving to each other is one thing we must always all be excited to listen to about. When you’re looking public land, it’s simple to get pissed off by seeing different hunters. But as a substitute of specializing in that negativity, attempt to make your expertise a optimistic one. Talk with fellow hunters and don’t be afraid to work collectively. You by no means know if you’ll need assistance packing out a buck!

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