3 Tips To Help Your Late October Whitetail Bowhunts

By: Wade Nolan
bowhunting biologist

Currently, the Pennsylvania Whitetail woods have once again invaded by us bowhunting nuts. The peaceful woods that the deer were enjoying has now been violated by humans that smell like trouble. If you want to score on a Whitetail buck or doe, you must do everything right.

Here are 3 important tips that will add to your Whitetail bowhunting success ratio.

1. Assume that the deer you are hunting are hunting you.

Why is that? Simple, because they are hunting you. Deer are a prey species. Once we begin our afternoon jaunts to our treestands the woods are crisscrossed with human scent trails. Deer quickly detect these trails after we leave our treestands for our trucks.

Just because you leave the woods don’t think your scent does. A deer can smell your human scent trail for up to 24 hours. Deer will avoid high human traffic areas. It may take only one scent encounter to cause a buck to change his pattern.

To push back against this fact you must seek a route to your stand that does not intersect or cross the trails of the deer your are hunting. Even if it requires you to follow a route that is uncomfortable walking, do it anyway. One of my basic strategies is to wash my clothes in Sport Wash and never wear them two days in a row. I constantly rotate three sets of camo and I always wear freshly washed, clean camo.

2. Be invisible to the eyes of a deer.

There is solid research that has demonstrated the ability of deer to see into the UV spectrum. We know that all detergents except one (Sport Wash) contains UV-Brighteners. This opens up a logical strategy for us serious bowhunters. Fix the UV issue.

First, get a UV light that casts a 440 range light. You can get one for about ten bucks. It is as important as your clippers or folding saw but cheaper. Check your camo in a dark room. If it has been washed only once in regular detergent it will glow blue. If it glows treat it with U-V-Killer. One bottle will treat two sets of camo. Now a deer won’t be able to see you. You will blend into his yellow-shaded world.

3. Try to locate a morning hot spot.

Mornings are best and most bowhunters only hunt afternoons in October. Here is how to locate a morning hot spot.

Walk into the wind slowly during midday. Watch for deer tails. When you jump deer from their beds mark the spot. Now locate the nearest feeding hot spot. It may be a grove of oaks dropping acorns or a cornfield. Set up near the deer bedding site. Go in early and catch them on the way to their beds.

This is a dynamite strategy because mornings come with rising thermals.  Therefore, your scent will be rising and the deer won’t smell you…even when they walk right under you. Mornings are my favorite time to arrow whitetails. The other benefit is that after the shot it just gets lighter and not darker making tracking a hit deer easier to follow up and recover.

That’s my three best strategies to make the pre-rut days pay off. Do it all right, or the bucks will win.

Bowhunting Biologist Wade Nolan researched and taught deerhunters about Whitetails since 1981. He conducted seminars across America.


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