John's Journal...

How to Take More Predators

Hunt High for Predators

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: At this time of year, many hunters turn their thoughts to predators. Hunting from a tree stand, especially in the East, gives outdoorsmen much-more visibility than hunting from the ground. In many places in the East you can set up your stand close to thick cover and a feeding area. You also can hunt on the edges of cane thickets, briar thickets, young pine plantations and croplands – spots where you may see both deer and predators. You can turn a lousy deer hunt into a successful predator hunt and possibly take bobcats, foxes and numbers of coyotes, if the regulations in the state you’re hunting allow you to hunt predators from tree stands. From the success of combo deer/predator hunts, hunters have learned that in the East, climbing into a tree using a portable stand provides the best opportunities for hunting predators.Click to enlarge

Locate an edge with thick cover and adjacent to some type of opening like a firebreak through a young pine plantation, a hardwood bottom next to a big briar thicket or a cane thicket, an agricultural field, a pasture with a thick-cover region beside it or a spoilage area where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has dredged silt out of a river bottom and dumped that silt into what looks like a pond with a dike all the way around it. Often you'll find these kinds of spoilage places 40 to 50 acres or larger in size along main river systems. To learn the availability of these regions, contact your local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and purchase maps of any local river systems where the Corps has dredged in the last few years.

One hunter who belonged to a hunting club had a spoilage region next to the river on one edge of the property. Once the Corps dredged the channel, the engineers dumped the rich, black sediment from the bottom of the river into the spoilage area. Thatrich dirt quickly produced blackberries, greenbrier, wild plum trees, honeysuckle, brambles and thick brush and homed rats, rabbits and deer. By climbing into a stand on the woods side of the spoilage area, a hunter could see over the dike out into tClick to enlargehe region and the open hardwoods on his side of the dike. After he set up and started predator calling with various predator calls, most of the time the critters would come out of that thick cover, climb to the top of the dike and look into the hardwoods to determine from where the calling had come. From the tree stand, the hunter had a clear open shot at foxes, bobcats and coyotes standing still on top of the dike, looking for the animal in distress – making these spoilage areas productive places to call in predators.

Click to enlargeWhy Deer Hunt from Tree Stands for Predators:
In the East, more deer hunters and land managers are planting green fields with products to provide food for deer and turkeys. For the most-effective green fields, often the hunters plant them adjacent to a young pine plantation, a briar thicket, a cane thicket or some other kind of thick-cover region that serves as a bedding area for deer. Research tends to indicate that most mature bucks often will bed down in thick cover with 250 yards of a green field. These green fields attract rabbits and rodents, especially fields with thick cover on the edges of them. However, if you want to hunt green fields, predator hunt after deer season. Most people who have deer leases with green fields will welcome a predator hunter after deer season ends. Too, when predator hunting on deer leases, you can take advantage of the elevated, covered shooting houses that clubs often build around green fields. Therefore, even during bad weather, you can get inside a shooting house, call to the green field, take a predator, if one comes out of the thick cover, and then move on to the next shooting house.

When hunting predators in the East, often you'll locate cover so thick that you'll have a difficult time spotting the predators, which may circle-in downwind of you, pick-up your human odor and leave before you ever see them. But by hunting from a tree stand, especially in the morning when the thermals rise, you can see more, place your scent above the predators and have a better chance for taking predators than if you hunt from the ground. You also may use deer-hunting tactics for predators if you hunt deer on lands during deer season where the owners request that the hunters harvest predators they see. These predators become incidental harvests, while the outdoorsman hunts deer or other game.

To learn more about U.S. Army Corps of Engineer lands to hunt, go to   

Tomorrow: Why Take Your Tree Stand to Hunt for Predators

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Take More Predators"

Day 1: Hunt High for Predators
Day 2: Why Take Your Tree Stand to Hunt for Predators
Day 3: How to Take More Predators with Gerald Stewart
Day 4: Using the Johnny Stewart Attractor for Predators with Gerald Stewart
Day 5: Gerald Stewart: Tips for Calling Predators


Entry 549, Day 1