This hunting tip was so good I wanted to highlight it right here on the blog! Christopher Hadley is a school teacher in Indiana and a heck of a hunter. He has been doing some writing for us and his tips have been fantastic insights. I am forever grateful for his contributions and I am getting to learn more and more about Chris from his writing… Get on those comments folks and welcome Chris and tell him what a great job he is doing!
Hunting Tip 130
Improvise: Use Your Surroundings To Your Advantage When Hunting
I have found many times that wildlife will use an area where I am unable to set up or to put a stand. In these cases I have had to improvise and use what was available to me in that particular location. I will give you several examples to help you begin to think creatively. A friend of mine has a 500 acre lease in western Kentucky that he and his father allowed me to hunt while I was in college. The lease consisted of hardwoods, thickets, and “scrub brush” fields. Sitting in one of these scrub brush fields was an old bull dozer so they nicknamed this location the dozer field. At the end of this field was a water hole that for some reason never went dry. We assumed it was spring fed. The deer came from every direction and were not patternable. It seemed like when I hunted one end of the field the deer would come out on the other end. One day during rifle season, I decided to use the dozer as a deer stand. Although the bulldozer only gave me a vantage height of about 8 feet, it was enough to see over a lot of the scrub brush and allowed shots in all directions. The deer were so used to this machine that they didn’t pay attention to what was on it. Believe it or not, it was quite comfortable. Numerous deer were harvested from that bull dozer over my six year stint at Murray State. Some came with in four feet of the bulldozer itself!
Another hunt that I had to improvise was on our family farm. This time we were rabbit hunting on Christmas day. This had been a tradition for my father and I for several years. A friend of his brought some excellent beagle dogs and we began the hunt. As the hunt began, so did the snow; giving us one of the most beautiful and memorable hunts of my life. Snow geese were flying overhead as well as migrating flocks of ducks and Canadians. The part of the property we were on was extremely thick. Briars stood nearly ten feet tall in some spots! One rabbit in particular had raced by us 4 times without so much as a shot. The surrounding cover made it almost impossible to see the rabbits coming. My mind began to race. We had an old “box stand” that was six feet by six feet. It had collapsed during a thunderstorm early in the year. I decided to climb into the stand (the part still standing). This gave me a better view of the surroundings as well as the dogs coming through the thick cover. It only took a minute before the dogs had run the rabbit back around for the fifth time. I noticed something slowly moving through a thick briar patch. Sure enough, the rabbit was way ahead of the dogs. As soon as it came into the nearest opening, I took him. We had already missed even the sight of this rabbit four times before. If I would not have put myself in the position to look down on my surroundings, I probably would not have been able to take that rabbit. We ended up with 35 that day with seven hunters! A great hunt!
It must have been ten below zero with a thirty mile per hour wind with the snow blowing sideways. Everyone knows the kind of hunt I’m talking about. There is no colder place than lying in the middle of a barren cornfield waiting on a flock of Canadian geese. We had no pit or place to get out of the wind on this hunt. We had found a field that was being frequented by about 300 geese so we decided to bare the weather conditions for the chance at a great hunt. None of us even thought of using our surroundings until we were already set up. As we were lying there, freezing, we all had a “light bulb” go off in our heads. There was an old barn in the field we were hunting. You know the kind. Imagine the barn made completely of wood that looks to be hundreds of years old as the entire building leaned in one direction. On this particular day, that didn’t stop us. We opened the door and climbed inside. As we began to hear geese in the distance, we walked out and laid down in our decoys long enough to kill our 6 geese that day! A similar hunt in an 1800’s outhouse provided for a nice 8 point buck!
We don’t always have the luxury of being able to set up where we would like to. Next time you come across that perfect location to hunt that does not have the perfect place to set up, be creative. Use your surroundings.