Elk Hunting in Colorado: Pursuing Majesty
December 7, 2023 •iSportsman Staff
Top Texas whitetail deer scientist Mickey Hellickson spent three years studying the movements and behaviors of mature bucks. A large portion of that research discovered massive effects from antler rattling. The majority of the 29 bucks that responded to post-rut rattling were found to be older than 3½ years old with 10 of them even exceeding the 5½-year mark.
The post-rut occurs after the peek-breeding season, meaning that many of the whitetails are exhausted and in search of food. This leaves the older bucks to search for the last hot does, making it a perfect time to rattle.
Before hitting the field, thoroughly scout the area to understand deer habits, feeding patterns, and bedding locations. This groundwork enhances your chances of identifying prime hunting spots.
Selecting the appropriate gear is essential. Invest in quality optics for better visibility, scent-blocking clothing to mask your scent, and a versatile firearm or bow for accurate shots.
Deer have keen senses, so practice moving silently and minimally. Camouflage attire that matches the environment and scent-control techniques are crucial to avoid detection.
Hellickson emphasizes the importance of understanding wind patterns. Position yourself upwind of potential deer locations to ensure your scent doesn’t alert them to your presence.
Hellickson recommends using deer calls strategically. Mimic the sounds of deer communication, such as grunts, bleats, and rattling antlers, to pique curiosity and draw deer closer.
Scent lures can attract deer if used judiciously. Hellickson suggests using scents that mimic natural odors in the area, like acorns or fresh vegetation.
Successful hunting requires patience. Remain still and vigilant in your chosen position, resisting the urge to move or check your phone, as sudden movements can spook deer.
In conclusion, Mike Hellickson’s expertise offers a comprehensive guide to mastering the art of whitetail deer hunting. By focusing on preparation, gear, stealth, scent control, and ethical hunting practices, hunters can increase their chances of a successful and rewarding experience in the wild. Remember, hunting is not just about the harvest, but also about the connection with nature and the lessons it teaches along the way.