Often we find ourselves living out one experience or another and learning from some mistake we have made during that time. This is one of those “from the field experiences”.
We were out scouting a new location for deer hunting and had found a great spot along the edge of a recently cut-and-turned soybean field. Knowing that the green grass and soybeans would soon begin to sprout, we decided to set our blind up along the edge of the field adjacent to a small run of brush bordering a stream. At first, this seemed to be the ideal spot. The brush gave cover, it was down in a small recess that ran between two fields and it just looked right. We had our mind set, this was the place to be. We set our blind, cleared a little bit of brush and then headed home.
Later the following week while sitting in the blind and glassing the field, it became apparent to me that we had overlooked one major factor when setting our location to hunt. Allow me to explain it like this: if you are walking out into a field and you know you are being hunted by something else, wouldn’t you want to be aware of all things around you? Sure you would. Deer look at this situation the same way. With predators all around they want to be able to enter a location and be aware at all times of their surroundings. Glassing the field, I noticed that just one hundred yards away was a small rise in the field that formed a ridge back of sorts. Upon seeing this I immediately knew we had set up wrong.
Looking at my father William (who was on the bow today while I manned the camera), I nodded in the direction of the rise and told him “those deer will walk out on that little rise and I’m willing to bet on it.” Well sure enough at 7:25 pm out walked four doe right along the rise I had pointed out. We had failed to take the surroundings into proper consideration, however small they might have been. This one small difference in the landscape gave the deer an advantage. They could enter the field and see what might be on both sides of them at all times. Despite the fact that our location gave plenty of cover and feeding, it didn’t give them that extra edge that the small rise in the terrain gave them. Later three more came out along the same route, needless to say never close enough for a shot.
The lesson learned here is to always look for those locations where the deer can approach the feeding area while having both cover and the ability to see what is around them on all sides. In our experiences they will always choose the safest route to use. Next time you are out scouting, look for those small differences in the landscape and ask yourself “if I were a deer, how would I do this?” Take into consideration what might give you the edge if you are on the “prey” side of the scenario. Locating and identifying these key factors can mean the difference between busting a nice deer or the deer busting you.