Time to hit the woods

?The favourable weather throughout much of October has been a blessing for Sunset Country anglers that enjoy chasing fall walleye, crappie, bass and musky.
I have enjoyed some the best fall fishing trips that I can recall over the past month.
For the hardcore angler, there are options if you still want to get out in the boat and catch some fish.
Ice on most area waters is at least a couple of weeks away. For those that enjoy getting in the woods to hunt, we have some of the finest hunting opportunities in the world. Whitetail deer, in particular, are about to become more active than they are throughout the rest of the year—now is the time to hit the woods.
Over the next couple of weeks, the whitetail rut is going to occur. The rut is the annual breeding phase that influences bucks to move around and find as many does as they can to breed with.
All deer, especially the bucks, lose inhibitions that keep them from being seen by hunters throughout the rest of the season. The fact that they are moving around a lot more increases the chances that hunters will see them while they are in the woods.
There are three hunting strategies that I like to employ when I hit the woods this time of year.
Stand hunting in a tree stand or ground blind is a solo activity where hunters overlook an area where deer are likely to move through. Still hunting is walking through the woods slowly in hopes of crossing paths with a deer.
This tactic can be employed by two people with great effectiveness. Finally, if there is a group of hunters, success can be found doing drives on specific pieces of land.
No matter which method of hunting you prefer, pre-scouting the area that you want to hunt with a trail camera is a really fun way to find out the numbers and quality of deer that you are likely to see as well get an idea for other animals that are inhabiting the area.
This fall I have seen pictures of black bears, wolves, pine martens, foxes and a variety of birds.
Set your trail camera up on something that is likely to naturally put deer in front of it; deer trails, beaches, where deer come to drink, active scraps, which you can be sure every buck in the area will be visiting and an often over-looked spot, beaver dams, which deer love to cross.
Stand hunting is the method that I enjoy the most. I enjoy getting in the woods as the sun is coming up and sitting quietly while I wait for a deer to move by. Patience is needed to have success using this tactic, but there is a rush when deer move through or hang around you and have no idea that you are there.
Sightings of other animals are common using this tactics as well. Hunters need to be prepared to sit for long hours to have success with this method. The most challenging part is to stay warm.
Still hunting is especially effective during the next two weeks, especially when we get some fresh snow which will make walking through the woods very quiet, increasing the chances that you might sneak up on a deer.
Over the next two weeks, a technique called rattling—banging two deer antlers together to imitate two bucks fighting—can be highly effective at bringing whitetail bucks into range.
Still hunting and rattling is a great two person tactic because one hunter can actually bang the horns together and hide in some thick cover.
The other hunter, the shooter can hide in a spot that offers a better vantage point to be able to see deer sneaking in. In my experience, most bucks respond to rattling within 15 or 20 minutes.
If no deer appear, move a couple hundred yards and try again.
When groups of hunters get together, doing drives can be an effective technique and certainly no other tactic encourages as much action as performing drives. I have had good luck doing drives with groups of three to 10 hunters.
The more bodies there are, the larger the piece of land that can be hunted effectively. An often over-looked location to do drives is on the buffer zones between cut-over areas and the lakes that these buffer zones protect.
Deer love to hang around these cut-over areas because they offer a lot of food, yet they may not want to spend a lot of time actually out in the open.
A rule that we always employ when doing drives is only the hunters on stand do the shooting.
From a safety standpoint, this is the only way to go.

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