I have gun hunted deer most of my life, typically over bait piles and sitting inside a heated hunting shack and started bow hunting this spring out of the frustration of not seeing many mature deer last firearm season and earlier this year I ordered John Eberhart’s books and DVD’s.
After reviewing his information I learned a lot about whitetail deer behavior that I probably would have never learned before and/or would have taken me years of hunting to acquire by merely observing. I was able to gain permission to hunt an agricultural area (standing corn this year) that was bordered by a river, creek and abandoned railroad track. I researched to property via aerial photos and scouted the area on foot.
I set up trees in funnels, fingers and corners of a standing corn field and during my last scouting trip in September found a primary scrape area with approximately 10 scrapes in the area. One of the runways feeding the scrape area had a rub line along it which I followed for about 50 yards. I set most of my trees up as you prescribe – 25 feet in the air. I purchased an ambush saddle, tree steps and a full ScentLok suit this year also.
In late October I decided to hunt the primary scrape area for the first time because the farmer advised he was going to pick the corn later in the week. It was an afternoon hunt and just before dark I had a nice buck walk into one of the scrapes. I had previously passed on 13 younger bucks prior to seeing this one and decided he was what I was looking to harvest for my first deer with my bow. Thank god I was tied in at 25 feet because I was very nervous and sure I was moving around too much! Before I could get a shot he moved back into the cover from which he came. Being frustrated after the buck walked off, I heard something behind me and luckily there was a second buck that was coming in on the same trail as the first buck – but this one was a little bigger.
The buck walked to a different scrape and started working it. When he finished scraping and working the licking branches I was ready for him. As he moved off I stopped him by using the word “mat” and as you advised he did not spook but stopped dead in his tracks. I took the shot and it hit true and I watched as he ran approximately 40 yards before falling over. I gave him an hour before going to get him and was pleasantly surprised with his antler size when I found him. Also the ScentLok clothing worked great as I didn’t get winded all season.
I am a state police trooper and we have quite the competitive biggest buck contest at work with the many other officers in the area. After hearing my story and how I set up the property I was hunting, I found it quite amusing that my co-workers were so very interested in my newly acquired whitetail knowledge even to the point of me teaching them the “mat” doe bleat to get deer to stop on a dime.
I apologize for this being so long but I believe ScentLok truly works if it is applied correctly – and the greatest thing is, it’s specific for heavily pressured deer, not deer in Iowa or on some ranch. Many of the people I work with buy into the tactics and products they see on hunting shows and they don’t work in Michigan. I was one of those people until I bought into the ScentLok system of hunting, hopefully some of the people I have spoke with will do the same.
Additionally, in October 2009 with all of my newly acquired whitetail information I was able to set a stand for my wife between a bedding and feeding area. She was whitetail hunting with a bow for the first time……in fact this was her first whitetail hunt ever. I am proud to say she was able to shoot her first buck and made an excellent 25 yard shot. I was hunting with her at the time and was able to stop the buck by using the verbal doe bleat you prescribe. The buck ran approximately 60 yards before falling to the ground and dying.