Tips & Tactics

Raking in the Bucks

Raking in the Bucks

By Lee Hutcherson

Hunting is my new passion, but my wife would probably say it’s my new obsession.

I took up the sport three short years ago at age 43, and I’ve loved chasing whitetails in my home state of Mississippi, as well as at my club in Tennessee.

Although fairly new at it, I’m learning fast, and I’m having great success. As a newbie, I don’t have a lot of tips to offer, but I do have one tactic I feel compelled to share with fellow Buckmasters readers.

Last season was my first attempt to hunt from a fixed-position treestand in the deep woods. I decided to try something I’d read about in Buckmasters Tip of the Week. It’s a tip called Reverse Trail Blazing, by Tim H. Martin.

The idea is to place your stand in a favorable area, then blaze your own trail out, even if a trail does not exist.

Expounding on this concept, I decided to create and maintain my own escape route and man-made game trails by using an ordinary garden rake.

I used the rake to clear sticks, leaves and debris to and from my stand. Now I can stalk to my stand without making much noise at all. On occasion, I’ve walked right up to deer without them knowing it!

Raking in the BucksI was amazed at how quietly I could reach my stand, and if had I not raked my trail clean, stalking up to a whitetail would have been impossible.

In low light, the clean trail is easy to see, and it’s nice to know I won’t be stumbling in the dark and spooking deer.

Creating a trail is a lot of work at first, and you might have to use a machete the first go-round, but once you’ve cleared the trail, it’s much easier to touch up next time.

I went over mine again later in the season after fallen leaves had accumulated, and it was a breeze.

Another benefit of the cleared path is you can see tracks, droppings and sign much easier.

Deer like to take the path of least resistance, and I began to see by their tracks that they were also beginning to use my trail, veering from their old ones, to get to the open fields.

You really can lead deer to where you want them to go, and this coming season, I plan to rake intersecting paths upwind from my bow stand to see if I can create my own hot spot.

My confidence level has soared over this tactic, and I cannot wait for the season to begin!

Reverse Trail Blazing

– Photo Courtesy of Lee Hutcherson

Read Recent Tip of the Week:
The School of Loose Nocks: In hunting, overlooked details cause missed opportunities. Here’s a sad, cautionary tale about an old nock and losing a buck of a lifetime.

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