John's Journal...

Master Plans from Top Bowhunters to Take Deer

Day 1: Learn the Land

Editor’s Note: Bowhunting need not be a sport of feast or famine. To up your success rate, try this advice from some of the country’s most-consistent, detail-oriented bowmen. Why do some archers consistently take deer each season with their bows, while others who spend just as much time in the woods rarely, if ever, experience success? Let’s see how the best bowhunters in the nation produce deer. Jim Crumley of Buchanan, Virginia, the creator of Trebark camouflage and the owner of C.A.M.O Enterprises, (1-800-843-2266, a company that will give your gun or bow new life by adding a camo pattern to it, has bowhunted for many years and enjoys bowhunting on his farm.

Click for Larger ViewIf I’m hunting new land, then as soon as I obtain permission to hunt that land, I spend as much time as I can in those woods. I feel learning as much as possible about the woods where I’ll be hunting well in advance of deer season includes the:

  • location of potential food trees and other food sources;
  • location of all the agricultural fields and
  • approach routes to those fields.

Click for Larger ViewIf bow/deer season comes in at the first or the middle of October, then by the first of September, I’ll already know whether or not this region will have an acorn crop by seeing the green acorns on the trees. I’ll have learned when the farmer plans to cut his crops on which the deer have fed as well as where the deer will feed after their early food sources are gone. For a preseason scout plan to be effective, pinpoint not only where the deer will feed and bed during the opening week of bow season, but also where and what the deer will eat once that food supply is depleted. Actually this plan isn’t much different than the way humans do things. When you stock your freezer for a month, you have an idea of what you’ll eat first, what food is available in your freezer midway through the month and what you’ll have left to eat at the end of the month. And, you’ll set your menus accordingly.

Click for Larger ViewDeer generally follow that same timetable. When a primary food source is gone, they already have other food sources identified. By understanding the different types of foods the deer will feed on as they deplete their primary food source, you can pre-predict where and when deer may be each week of bow season. If you don’t know the deer’s food timetable, talk to your local department of conservation’s district wildlife biologist about where you plan to hunt. This wildlife specialist will be able to tell you the deer’s food sources and the order in which the deer will feed on those food sources in the area you plan to hunt. Once you have that information, then search for those food sources on the property you’ll hunt. Set-up tree-stand sites to hunt over those food sources each week of bow season. If you’re hunting private lands, you may want to go ahead and set-up your tree stands 6 to 8 weeks before the season opens.

Jim Crumley's Secrets of Bowhunting DeerDeer and FixingsYou’ll learn more information and tips in the new Kindle eBook by John E. Phillips: “Jim Crumley's Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” and learn many ways to prepare venison in “Deer and Fixings.” Go to, type in the names of the books and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Larry Norton Says Follow the Squirrels to Find Buck Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Master Plans from Top Bowhunters to Take Deer"

Day 1: Learn the Land
Day 2: Larry Norton Says Follow the Squirrels to Find Buck Deer
Day 3: Prepare for Bow Deer Season Carefully with Bob Foulkrod
Day 4: Other Ways to Have a Successful Master Plan for Bowhunting Deer
Day 5: Preparing for Bow Season with Dr. Bob Sheppard

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Entry 686, Day 1