Opening Day for whitetail deer is right around the corner for a good portion of this country. In some states opening day is already upon us. To prepare for opening day, we will break this article down into three sections: tips, tools and gear.
Tips for Whitetail Deer
There is no question that human odor spooks deer. We understand that whitetail deer have some of the best noses of any game animal out there. Of course we recommend showering with scent-free soap, using scent-free laundry soap with no UV enhancers and using scent elimination sprays. But if you really want to be successful, understand that none of these scent elimination systems work 100%. Does scent elimination help? Yes, but if you want to be truly successful you also have to play the wind. No matter what scent elimination system you use, if you don’t hunt with the wind in your face that big monarch whitetail will bust you. Always set up with the wind in mind.
Set your tree stands up early in the season and leave them up so that deer can become familiar with the stand. Set up stands with the wind in mind so that you can be high enough to carry scent over the nose of deer. Also, set up deer scent well upwind of your stand so when they are close they can easily smell the deer scent. For all tree stands, use a full-body safety harness and a lifeline while climbing into and out of your stand. Eighty percent of falls from tree stands happen while climbing into and out of them.
Tools for Whitetail Deer
We hunt a mix of private and public land. Understanding property boundaries is essential to our ability to hunt whitetail deer and mule deer. With OnXmaps we can see property boundaries on our phone and view public boundaries and wildlife management areas. This technology, coupled with aerial maps directly into the app, allows hunters to locate water holes, pinch points, land boundaries, canyons, crops and more. This technology has increased our success in the field.
Scoutlook Hunting App
Scoutlook Weather is a great source of weather information specifically for hunters. ScoutLook Hunting is a free map-based app that offers hunters pinpoint global weather forecasts and location management. The app allows you to save locations like treestands, blinds, trail cameras, etc. and plan hunts based on the ScentCone Wind Map for up to 72 hours so you can plan your hunts accordingly.
Gear for Whitetail Deer
The right pack for your whitetail hunt helps to keep your gear managed and all of your essentials at your fingertips when you need it. This year we are using the Vanguard Pioneer 2100RT. We like this pack for several reasons. It has a carrying capacity of 34 liters, it can carry our rifle or our bow and the pack is comfortable for all day use with enough space in the pack to last all day. We also appreciate that the rain fly on this pack is built in and the entire rain fly is hunter orange for personal safety. During rifle hunts, we like this extra safety coverage especially when we are hunting crowded public land.
We found two great knives this year at Knifeart.com to add to our pack. The Winkler Blue Ridge Hunter is a new knife from Daniel Winkler Knives. This is a light knife that gives you options on carrying the knife vertically or horizontally on your belt. The knife is solid, balanced and comfortable in your hand with a great thumb rest designed to keep your hand safe. The second knife we got this year is the Benchmade Saddle Mountain Hunter. This knife is made with American-made S30V premium stainless steel. The clip-point blade is hard and holds a serious edge longer than our other knives making this knife perfect for skinning whitetail deer. Knifeart.com is easy to work with and shipping is same day and fast.
Rifle season in most states requires blaze orange for your hunts. If you are tired of cheap blaze orange vests and hats we have a couple of recommendations for you. We like the Ballistic Vest from Sitka Gear. The pockets are well done and zippered, the vest is comfortable and comes with a reinforced Foam shoulder pad. We also like the Cabela’s Men’s Ultimate Pack Vest II. It’s comfortable, warm and well made. We recommend only solid orange so you can use the vest in every state no matter where you hunt. For caps we really like the Stormy Kromer Original Cap in Blaze Orange. They are warm, fit well and can cover your ears in inclement weather. As well, these hats are wool, hand stitched and made in America.
We hope these tips, tools and gear suggestions lead to success on opening day for whitetail deer. If you have any tips, tactics, tools or gear that you think are essential to your opening day success, please share them here in the comments.