There’s still plenty of time to get a whitetail

A lot of Wyoming deer hunters have already been to the mountains and returned with meat for the freezer. But the deer season’s far from over.

Quite a few mule deer hunters are already back from their hunts. They might even have had a venison steak for supper last night. But muleys aren’t the only deer in Wyoming. There’s also whitetail – the other deer meat.

If you’re an ardent whitetail hunter, you probably haven’t even stacked your gear by the front door yet. Whitetail hunting seems to be better later in the season. They get pretty aggressive when the rut starts, and for whitetails, the rut often kicks into high gear in mid-November. Our seasons are usually over before the big bucks completely fall prey to testosterone poisoning, but they take some chances before the rut gets into full swing.

By late October or early November, most of the whitetails in Wyoming are starting to scratch out their territory and trying to impress the girls. Rattling antlers and grunting with a call can often lure in a buck who thinks you’re horning in on his turf. These tactics work best before the first doe comes into heat, so you’ll need to time it right if you want to bring home a good trophy whitetail. After the does get into season, you can still entice a smaller buck with rattling antlers or grunts.

Keep in mind that whitetails are pretty wary. After countless generations of being chased by two-legged predators, they know they’re a prey animal, and a tasty one at that. Stay downwind and out of sight. If the buck sees or smells you, he’ll clear out of the area for days, or even weeks. You’ll increase your chances if you wash your clothes in scent-free soap, use scent-killer sprays or maybe even wear carbon-filtered, scent-absorbing clothes.

Work the brushy islands or cover near rivers and fields. If you’re hunting on private land, chances are the landowner might know exactly where the deer will be at certain times of the day. Don’t be afraid to ask the owner for some advice, and if he offers it, don’t ignore it. He knows that land better than anyone, except maybe the deer themselves. And whitetails are creatures of habit. If the landowner has seen ‘em in a spot every day at sunup, they’ll be there until someone rousts ‘em out. Good luck, and happy hunting.

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