More Methods for Taking Whitetails
“Once you select a stand site for your tree stand in February that will be the most productive, return to that place in August or September,” Dr. Bob Sheppard explains. “Use tree pruners to cut only the limbs that will interfere with your shot from the tree stand to the place where you think deer will show up. I may trim only one or two limbs back from several trees in the area. These trimmed limbs won’t appear to be pruned by the time bow season and/or gun season opens. No other hunter will be able to tell that I’ve cut a shooting lane, unless he climbs the same tree I’ve been in to the exact same height.”
After Sheppard locates the best tree stand sites and cuts his shooting lanes in thick cover, he never returns to those places until the last few weeks of deer season. “For these stand sites to be effective, the buck never must know you’re there,” Sheppard mentions. “If he smells human odor in one of these sanctuaries, he’ll leave it, and you’ll never see him again. So, I hunt these isolated stand sites only once or twice a season when the wind is just right, the hunting pressure is very high, and when I know I can get into and out of my stand site without spooking a buck. Even if I don’t take a buck in that area that year, I don’t want to leave enough human odor going-to or coming-away-from that stand site that will prevent the buck from staying there during the next season. The peak time for hunting this type of stand often is during Christmas and New Year’s when numbers of hunters are in the woods taking advantage of doe season. I’ll spend all day long in a tree stand at this time, because it’s the most productive way to hunt them.”
Even with all the knowledge Sheppard has amassed over his many years of studying the whitetail and the whitetail hunter, he still is constantly searching for more information. When any new hunting strategy comes on the deer hunting scene, Sheppard not only will try it, but he’ll test it under many hunting situations and conditions. He’s used rattling, grunting, scents, lures and just about every idea he can discover to help him take a buck.
“I never accept the validity of any deer hunting tactic I’ve read about until I’ve tested it thoroughly and am convinced that it will or won’t work for me,” Sheppard explains. “Only then will I incorporate that strategy into my overall hunt plan. I’ve learned that my thirst for knowledge about deer and deer hunting constantly improves my ability to find and bag deer. I learn several new techniques each season that in some ways hone my skills, increase my knowledge and make me more effective.”
Sheppard is also constantly modifying, developing and changing his equipment. Sheppard hunts with a tree stand that he can use to go up and down a tree and sit all day long, leaving very little sign of his having been in that place. With this particular tree stand he has helped to develop, Sheppard has all types of gadgets and gizmos that provide for better tree stand safety and more hunter comfort, while giving him more range to take a shot than ordinary tree stands do. Sheppard’s rifle has been customized to fit his shoulder and his cheek. The rifle also has the exact amount of trigger pull he wants to apply before the weapon reports. The gun is distinctively Sheppard’s and fits not only his hunting strategy, but also his individual personality. There’s no piece of equipment Sheppard uses that he can’t give you a 10-minute dissertation on as to why that piece of gear is the best and the most essential to his style of hunting. Just like the surgeon who has individualized tools for each operating room procedure can tell you why that tool is best for that particular procedure, Sheppard has individualized his hunting gear and developed the best pieces of equipment from the entire hunting market for his personal hunting strategies. Sheppard’s constant thirst for knowledge and his relentless dedication to improve his equipment, his skills and his abilities have made him one of the best whitetail strategists in America.
This is the final part of a series by Bob Sheppard on hunting whitetails. To go back to part four, click here.