By Eric Clark | PUBLISHED September 27th 2021
Different, not Better
There's no way I'm better than 99% of other hunters out there... obviously, as the Okayest Hunter, I don't know that I ever will be. I attempt to be different in business, not better, as I learned from the book, Play Bigger. With that said, I also try to be as creative as possible in business and have learned that creativity knows no bounds and can be applied to anything, especially deer hunting.
Considering these two points, different and creative, here's what I've done to try to get out of my comfort zone to learn more about getting on the deer I'm after.
I've noticed many whitetail killers do scout for and away from the human sign. I've had the opportunity over the years as the Where to Hunt podcast host and not the Okayest Hunter podcast to interview many hunters about many topics, and this one is a throughline for the ones putting down mature bucks. Reading and navigating hunting pressure was explicitly called out in a recent tactical episode with Cody D'Aquisto.
In one of my past episodes, Dan Infalt mentioned using water to separate himself from other hunters. His approach was to go where other hunters won't. He's right. Very few hunters will cross water if they're not prepared to do so. With that knowledge, I started hunting with a canoe from time to time, using water to access far reaches of public land that would be difficult to cross if accessed from the main parking lot like everyone else.
Even more recently, I invested in a pair of chest waders. This allowed me to start using water to my advantage and do things differently with a dash of creativity. For example, I decided to hike up a river this bow season and not set foot on land.
Here are some of the benefits of using the river as my hiking trail:
- No scent left behind
- Quite stalk as long as you move very slowly
- Proximity to oxbows where deer were bedding
- Separated from 99% of other hunters
- Easy drag out (floating the deer before gutting)
I was able to quietly work my way through a property where no one else was going, even with several cars parked on the property.
Within minutes I bumped a doe at the second oxbow. Hunt/hiking the river told me two things out of the gate.
- Holy shit, this could work!
- I had to be extremely quiet.
When I arrived where I wanted to be, predicated on my e-scouting, it looked promising. So I waited until last night, and sure enough, a spike buck came out of where I thought some bucks ought to be bedded. Not too much longer, and I took a shot at a doe!
A spot like I identified has the potential to be great come the rut!
Here's the recap of the hunt:
What are your thoughts? How are you getting creative when hunting whitetails?