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Hunting Deer

During cold, late season conditions, and isolated patch of unharvested crops can be a gold mine. Bucks feed heavily once the rut is over. Many other foods are no longer available, and the colder it gets, the more likely deer will feed during daylight hours.

Avoid setting up near buck scrapes made in open areas such as fields or field edges. More often than not, these are visited by bucks only at night. Instead, key on well used scrapes made under an obvious licking branch in shaded areas of the woods.

Four simple ways to detect subtle winds: Tie a small downy feather to your gun or bow. Carry a squeeze bottle filled with cornstarch or baking soda to puff into the air. Check the flame of a butane lighter. Pocket a milkweed pod and drop seeds as needed.

Deer prize the acorns of white oaks above all others, and virtually all other foods. White oak trees are easy to spot. Their leaves have rounded lobes, as opposed to the pointed lobes of red and black oak leaves.

If you want to find out whether a buck is revisiting a particular scrape, cover that scrape lightly with leaves or pine needles, taking care not to contaminate it with your scent. Then check it periodically to see if the litter has been pawed away.

You can tell whether a whitetail is on to you by looking at its tail. When the tail is down and wagging casually, the deer is relaxed. When it's flared and flicking sharply from side to side, the deer suspects something is wrong. And when it's flared and held stiffly horizontal, the deer is about to bolt.

A 35m film canister filled with a couple of cotton balls makes a neat and handy scent wick. Just pop the cover off when you're ready to use it, and pop it back on when you're done. No mess.

A single buck rub tells you only that there's a buck around. But a line of rubs reveals a buck's travel route, and a large number of rubs concentrated in a 50 or 60 yard radius usually means you've located a buck's core area.

Fresh cedar or pine makes an effective and free masking scent. Break and bruise a handful of needles, then rub them over your clothes and boots.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your rifle accuracy is to improve your rifle's trigger pull. On factory guns, the pull is almost always too heavy, but in most cases, that can be remedied by a good gunsmith.