As you explore, you inevitably use your optics to scan ahead for deer and another shed antler. Each time bouncing deer tails appear ahead or you encounter herds already standing in openings, do a quick count. Make notes on how many deer you see at various locations stamped with time and date.

Use optics to scan ahead for deer and shed antlers. Make notes on how many deer you see at various locations, stamped with time and date.

Shed antler

Note every discovery as you spring scout. These notes on your HuntStand app can be crucial for planning management projects and ambush sites in the months before hunting season.

If you live in the traditional snowbelt of the northland, cabin fever is likely raging. That affliction, north or south, gives you purpose to lace up your hiking boots to not only search for shed antlers, but to also do a thorough scouting mission of your hunting property. Yes, spring offers plenty of eye-opening revelations to include in an overall whitetail management plan. Here is what you should know.

Spring scouting gives you a chance to look for shed antlers, but also scout and review property for any overuse. This gives you a chance to create a hunting plan for the season ahead.

Spring scouting gives you a chance to look for shed antlers, but also scout and review property for any overuse. This gives you a chance to create a hunting plan for the season ahead.

Bedding Areas, Food Sources, and Sanctuaries

You may think you understand whitetail country, but nothing opens your eyes like a spring walk through the labyrinth of a whitetail’s homeland. This is the one time you have permission to slip through a refuge or sanctuary zone you have established on a hunting area. These areas must be a “no trespassing zone,” for them to attract deer visits most of the year. Fortunately, a cruise through that sacred bedding cover tends to be forgotten as the months transition from spring, into summer and finally fall.

Once inside, you stand a good chance of scooping up an antler, plus, noting where most of the bedding takes place. Mark areas of bedding activity on your HuntStand app for later analysis. Plan your intrusion to coincide when most deer will be outside the sanctuary to minimize your visit.

For example, a visit to a sanctuary area might be better planned for late afternoon as the area empties and deer head to food sources like adjacent agricultural fields and food plots. The same is true of visiting those food sources. Plan to trek those parcels from midmorning into early afternoon as deer rest up in refuge after dawn and dusk loitering at food.

Reality Check: The Things We Learn from Shed Antlers
Fresh rubs from the previous fall stand out and should be marked on your HuntStand hunting app, especially any obvious rub lines.

Fresh rubs from the previous fall stand out and should be marked on your HuntStand hunting app, especially any obvious rub lines.

Deer Trails, Travel Routes, and Sign

The bareness of late winter and early spring cover reveals much about the use of a particular area in all whitetail compass points. Rubs from the previous fall stand out. Scrapes have a difficult time hiding and conspicuously dot a well-used area. Some of them may even show recent activity as whitetails have no aversion to scraping to relieve anxiety.

Connecting to the entire whitetail community are trails that you cannot miss in the grime of spring’s arrival. As winter leaves, it leaves damp ground, mud-caked trails, and snowy paths through the landscape. Those with the highest traffic count have the appearance of cattle trails winding to a winter hay yard. Following and backtracking these routes could give up an additional antler or three, plus show you where deer are heading. These waypoints may surprise you.

Mark and trace well used trails you find in the spring as they can be a steady route for whitetails on a property.

Mark and trace well used trails you find in the spring as they can be a steady route for whitetails on a property.

Recording Scouting Finds

Mark scouting finds accordingly. Making notes on your HuntStand hunting app allows you to mark clusters of scrapes, log rub lines, and document areas of intense bedding activity. Use the wide selection of icons to customize your map along with notes attached to each finding on specific HuntStand hunt areas. Track trails as you hike them and mark where the high-density travel beginnings and endings. Your hunt area will come to life with each trip into a hunting property and the discoveries give you ample evidence to research in the months up to hunting season for strategy.

Shed Hunting Road Trips: Advanced Tips and Tactics to Find More Antlers
It's important to gauge the quality of the habitat available to the local herd. It might need improvement.

It's important to gauge the quality of the habitat available to the local herd. It might need improvement.

Whitetail Land Management Analysis

As important as the health of the herd is to hunting potential, so is the health of the land. When spring arrives, you witness the best and worst of winter’s wrath. Except during extreme drought, the land will not be barer than at the end of winter. This gives you the chance to see deer clues as outlined above, but also the clues of normal or extreme use of the land by all wildlife.

Start your assessment by surveying surrounding properties and then comparing what you see there to what is happening in your hunting heaven. Are you seeing more deer on the neighbor’s land? Is there more food on the surrounding ground than yours? Is the winter cover better across the fence? All of these and more could cause a migration of animals from your property to an adjacent oasis. Most deer return to their home territory, but do not bank on it if year after year if they discover better resources down the lane.

Next, take a walk through your food plots to calculate any leftovers or damage from overuse. The same is true of browse favorites. Classified as browsers, deer also favor saplings and other forms of brush. Ash, aspen, sumac, basswood, and other browse suppliers can be targeted in addition to your food plots. Survey these as you hike throughout your property and be looking for a browse line indicating overuse.

If you see over-browsing, it may be time to begin more culling of the population, adding forestry management, or expanding food plots to add additional nutrition to deer diet. Be land aware.

How well the deer herd is doing is a great indicator for property management and necessary harvest goals.

How well the deer herd is doing is a great indicator for property management and necessary harvest goals.

Whitetail Herd Management Analysis

There are many ways to analyze the health of your deer herd without hiring a costly wildlife biologist. Your army of trail cameras gives you sufficient evidence of deer using niche corners of your property. Bucks have enough character to stand out as individuals in those images and even some does present distinguishing features. Study the photographic evidence enough and you can begin to see what individual deer prefer certain core areas.

Spring scouting also gives up much evidence regarding the health of deer living on a property. As you explore, you inevitably use your optics to scan ahead for deer and another shed antler. Each time bouncing deer tails appear ahead, or you encounter herds already standing in openings, do a quick count. Make notes of how many deer you see at various locations stamped with time and date. The sightings feature on HuntStand provides the ideal platform for amateur surveying. When you combine trail camera images with your notes, it becomes much easier to monitor the trending deer population on your property.

You also stand a high chance of discovering unfortunate deer who succumbed to the Grim Reaper. Many of those will be scattered from the work of scavengers, but spend a minute trying to determine the contributing factor to each death. Accidents, winter stress, predation, or disease could be the culprit. One or two deer, here or there, die regardless, but if you suddenly feel as if you need to call the local coroner, you may best be served by detailing your finds to the state fish and game biologist in your area.

Short Film: A Woman’s Return to Whitetail Hunting
After you finish scouting in the spring you can use your HuntStand app notes to create new ambush locations and prepare future land management projects.

After you finish scouting in the spring you can use your HuntStand app notes to create new ambush locations and prepare future land management projects.

Making a Plan

After shed antler season passes, and ticks again reign as rulers of the whitetail kingdom, put your HuntStand discoveries to work. Open your hunt areas and begin connecting the dots. Follow the trails leading to and from food and cover. Scan for funnels and review possible ambush locations on the perimeter of sanctuaries.

You have several months to convert findings into a fall hunting plan. In a following post, I will illustrate options to maximize land setup, especially on a small property that so many of us have access to.

Spring offers a cure for cabin fever as you roam the woods looking for shed antlers, turkey hunting and enjoying a hunting property. Put your boot tracks to work and expand your outings to spring scouting that leads to a better hunting opportunity in the future.


Shed antler hunting allows you to see all aspects of the potential of a particular hunting property.

Shed antler hunting allows you to see all aspects of the potential of a particular hunting property.

Shed antlers, combined with your other scouting tools, helps create a hunting plan based on reality.

Shed antlers, combined with your other scouting tools, helps create a hunting plan based on reality.

With all the chaos in teaching and school curriculum sounding off in the news, I am happy to swap shed antler hunts as my primary education tool. Hitting the woods from late winter into spring provides a window of learning you do not have access to at any other time of year. Most importantly, the search for shed antlers gives you a basis to set goals for upcoming hunts. You understand the potential of a property, the layout of a property, and whether an extreme overhaul of your management plan is in order. This is a deep dive into the reality shed antler finds unveil. These are the things we learn from shed antlers.

It's important to dream. But the truth is, most hunters will never see a Boone & Crockett whitetail, let alone shoot one.

It's important to dream. But the truth is, most hunters will never see a Boone & Crockett whitetail, let alone shoot one.

Dreamers or Reality Tv?

You put a lot of hope in your trail cameras and time-behind-a-binocular scouting, but more than anything, you put a lot of faith in aspirations based on nothing more than daydreams. There is nothing wrong with dreaming of the “30-point buck,” but raising the bar too far could also lead to a depressing season.

A case in point is a buddy of mine who manages a sizeable chunk of midwestern whitetail ground. His efforts began to pay off, and over several years’ time, mature bucks showed up. Unfortunately, the area only produced quantities of Pope & Young class bucks. The area did not have the genetic potential to push deer past the magical 170-point mark with regularity. Over a decade of management, the property only produced a couple monster whitetails. Most were grand bucks that anyone would want to tag, but because of his aspirations, he passed on deer with wishful thinking they would continue to blow up.

In the best of circumstances, most properties will produce an average antler growth peak of 130-150 inches, even in desirable midwestern destinations.

In the best of circumstances, most properties will produce an average antler growth peak of 130-150 inches, even amongst mature bucks in desirable midwestern destinations.

The lesson? Because of setting his goals on dreams instead of reality, he missed out on great hunting opportunities. That high bar coupled with extreme epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) breakouts, robbed him of years of whitetail hunt celebrations.

He did have the evidence right in front of him, though. As an avid whitetail manager, he collected dozens of antlers each spring. Piled in a shed, the evidence shouted at him from the dark corners of the pioneer relic. Only a handful of the antlers were bucks sporting 160-plus-class antlers. Trail camera images, scouting and the shed antlers told the tale. The odds were against him and his hunting friends of tagging a Boone & Crockett candidate. That is a true education and one that helps you set realistic goals when combined with a myriad of other scouting tools.

Factors Affecting Antler Casting Dates
Shed antlers give you added evidence, in addition to trail camera images, to set your hunting season goals.

Shed antlers give you added evidence, in addition to trail camera images, to set your hunting season goals.

The Reality of a Hunting Area

Now that you have read my opinion that a major education attainment from shed antler hunting is helping you set expectations, how do you expand on that? While shed antler hunting at any of the whitetail hotspots that I roam, I always score the antlers I find and estimate the age of the animal carrying them. This once living record from a property offers a looking glass view into the potential possibilities and the power to squelch any fantasies you might conjure of Sasquatch bucks lurking in the shadows. Scores provide a rough estimate of the animal’s potential. Looking at antler characteristics, such as mass, gnarly attributes, height, and non-typical points, all help determine maturity, especially with trail camera photos to compare the shed antler. As a side note, my buddies and I all agree overwhelmingly that trail camera images almost always illustrate a smaller size than the actual antler.

Shed antlers in hand and unlimited images of deer traipsing through a parcel, it still does not stop some from shooting for the stars. I am a dreamer like most hunters, but you must be truthful and set realistic goals based on reality. If in the 10 years you hunted, monitored, and shed hunted a property, and never found an antler from a 150-class deer, it might be time to ratchet your objective down to the baseline of what is representative on a property.

Learning From Shed Antlers
Shoot for high expectations, but shed antler discoveries can help you keep your goals grounded.

Shoot for high expectations, but shed antler discoveries can help you keep your goals grounded.

As a young hunter in South Dakota, I accumulated several hundred shed antlers every spring. Every trip I dreamed of finding the Holy Grail, a shed antler of Boone & Crocket dimensions. I did find a handful that had a gross score to meet that minimum, but they were few and far between. My collection instead told me that most mature bucks top out in the 140s. Most of the overall deer population had a foundation of 120-class deer sporting 4×4 frames. That was reality and I embraced every hunt with realistic goals.

Unlike my hunting cohort who pushed the realistic boundaries every fall by waiting for a giant, I knew what the area would produce for antler size. Shed antlers were the evidence-in-hand I needed to base my mission and objective every fall. Utilizing trail cameras, eyewitness accounts and shed antlers, my goals were never too high.

To further the reality objective, do a research dive into the record books. Both Pope & Young and Boone & Crocket clubs utilize a scoring system based on inches to convert antler dimensions into point scores. These scores are then recorded into record books and include vital data such as the year killed, the locale of the kill, hunter recognition and score. Boone & Crockett even allows dead heads into their rolls.

When you look at these scores, the years they were killed, piles of shed antlers from your property and your personal experience, you can dream, but the evidence keeps those dreams grounded in reality.

Why Deer Hunters Shouldn’t Manage For Genetics
Researching record book organizations, along with your shed antler scouting, gives you abundant evidence to set hunting goals.

Researching record book organizations, along with your shed antler scouting, gives you abundant evidence to set hunting goals.

Manage and Hunt with Purpose

In addition to a substantiated view of a hunting area, your treks through whitetail country open up a vast world of areas you may not enter during hunting season due to fears of spooking deer. Put that HuntStand app to use here. Open your hunt areas and begin connecting the dots. Follow the trails leading to and from food, and cover, scan for funnels and review possible ambush locations on the perimeter of sanctuary. Trace these routes on your app and mark every notable discovery such as fresh rubs, scrapes from the fall and bedding depressions galore.

Also keep your eyes open for signs of management improvements to undertake later in the year. I will cover that planning in a later post this spring, but suffice to say, if you witness deer leaving your property to spend time on the neighbors, it may be time to reassess your land management plan.

Your HuntStand hunting app should be a partner while shed antler hunting. Mark all shed antler finds, bedding areas, and trace any trails you discover. Kayser utilizes his HuntStand hunting app while shed antler hunting and in his overall scouting efforts.

Your HuntStand hunting app should be a partner while shed antler hunting. Mark all shed antler finds, bedding areas, and trace any trails you discover. Kayser utilizes his HuntStand hunting app while shed antler hunting and in his overall scouting efforts.

Browse lines and signs of stressed deer are also check-engine signals that your land management plan needs an upgrade. No worries. You have several months to convert your findings into a summer property program and fall hunting plan. Stay tuned for that management tune up.

My addiction to shed antler hunting goes way beyond counseling help. Nevertheless, why look for a cure when every shed antler I pick up could increase my fall hunting success with a based dose of reality.

Shed Hunting Road Trips: Advanced Tips and Tactics to Find More Antlers



Coyote hunting is fraught with frustration as you learn the devious ways of these wild dogs. But after countless setups, I can point to a number of insights to get you in the game. This video highlights five of my favorite coyote hunting tips.

Know 3 Different Call Categories

Coyotes have different vocalizations for different circumstances, such as attracting a mate, warning of danger, or luring prey. Knowing the three main call categories—prey-in-distress calls, coyote vocalizations, and confidence calls—can help you select the right call for each situation and improve your chances of attracting a coyote.

Get the Vantage Point

Coyotes have sharp eyesight, so it’s important to have a high vantage point when calling them. This can be a hill, a tree stand, or a blind. By being above the coyote, you make it more difficult for them to spot you, and you also get a better view of the surrounding area, making it easier to spot the coyote when it approaches.

Be in Charge of Your Wind

Coyotes have a keen sense of smell, so it’s important to be aware of the wind direction when hunting. Use HuntZone on the HuntStand App to make sure to position yourself upwind of where you expect the coyote to come from, so your scent won’t reach the coyote and alert it to your presence before you can get a shot.


Be Where the Coyotes Want to Be

Coyotes are opportunistic predators that are always on the lookout for food. Find areas with high populations of rabbits, squirrels, or other small game and pets. These areas are likely to attract coyotes, making them prime hunting locations. Locate these areas and then position yourself between the two putting you in the prime spot for an opportunity on a curious coyote.

Patience Is Key When Coyote Hunting

Coyote hunting can be a waiting game, so it’s essential to be patient. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a coyote right away. Set up in a good location, make some calls, and wait. The coyote may take a while to arrive, but if you’re patient, your persistence will pay off.

At the end of the day, following these coyote hunting tips can help you increase your chances of success when hunting coyotes. Remember to be patient, know your calls, choose the right vantage point, control the wind direction, and be where the coyotes want to be. With these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to bagging more ‘yotes.


What are the best coyote hunting setups? No matter the landscape or habitat type, coyote hunters can rely on a handful of fundamentals to get the job done. But some minor tweaks for each unique situation can make you an even more effective coyote hunter. I’m here to outline four of the most common coyote hunting setups and how you can use HuntStand to your advantage.

But first, let me share a memorable moment from coyote country …

I bet all my eggs that any coyote in the neighborhood would be traveling in the eroded gullies below my South Dakota ridgetop perch. One particularly deep, grassy swell lead from the gullies to me, paving a highway right into my sights. Hours earlier, during a midday break, I pulled up the property on my HuntStand app. After checking the HuntZone wind map, I virtually flew the property to find the ridge with a crosswind—forcing any coyote to at least show itself for a few seconds as it circled downwind. The topographical overlay revealed the deep gullies and I dropped a map marker on the location.


Plotting a successful modern coyote hunting setup begins with effective e-scouting.

huntzone wind map coyote hunting

HuntStand gives you a leg up on coyotes with features such as the HuntZone wind map.

Thirty minutes before sunset, a burly coyote loped out of the eroded gullies to the sound of my agonized jackrabbit call. As it stopped short to survey the scene, I decided not to wait on a white-of-the-eye meeting and sent an ELD Match bullet greeting from 180 yards away. Mark 1, coyote 0.

Understanding coyote country and how these crafty animals navigate through it is essential to success. HuntStand Pro provides map layers, detailed property information, weather overlays, offline mapping, real 3D imagery, and more. Add this to your coyote scouting, virtually or on site, and you have a leg up on outwitting educated coyotes throughout the entire season.

Free Electronic Coyote Call with HuntStand Upgrade

Coyote Hunting Setups: Farm Country

coyote hunting setups farm country

With farming and woodlots occurring nearly everywhere east of the Mississippi, prepare for this coyote battleground. While scouting, look for whitetail-like funnel features. Coyotes will lope anywhere, but the path of least resistance with associated cover has appeal. Think wetland strips, hedgerows, connecting strips of timber, open ridgetops and weedy fence lines. Now look for adjacent openings where you could pull a coyote from the veiled travel route into a gap for a peek at your calls. Instead of trying to coax a coyote onto a vast field of picked corn, a small soybean field tucked between two hills, a woodland opening, or a cattle pasture next to woods provide a higher vote of confidence to a paranoid coyote.

The setting should include a high vantage point for you. This may be a rise in a field, sitting in the loft of an old barn, or even stationing a treestand pre-hunt. Although you might be tempted to sit with the wind in your face, coyotes are more likely to circle downwind. A crosswind or straight downwind view gives you the advantage on circling coyotes. Using scent, like coyote urine, or a decoy, has stopping power to halt a coyote before it gets completely downwind. Pay close attention to HuntZone in HuntStand to visualize how your scents will disperse. Use it when placing scents or decoys in the opening options outlined earlier. Finally, keep your eye on the lowest terrain and densest cover. It’s a solid bet a coyote will use a depression or tall grass to get as close as possible before showing itself.

I once set up under a small clump of trees on a 2-acre hayfield in Kansas. A coyote arrived from a strip of cover, but to analyze the small hayfield it needed to exit the cover. With its crosswind approach I had ample time to steady up for a chip shot.

coyote hunting in kansas

The author called this coyote from the edge of a wooded hillside to the edge of a winter wheat field.

Coyote Hunting Setups: Desert Southwest

coyote hunting setups desert southwest

Desert coyotes hunt remote country, but have no aversion to investigating human domiciles for a free lunch. What they do have is a vast playground of canyons, coulees, ditches, and dry creek beds to travel. A common name for these dry gulches is “arroyos.” Call them what you want, but they will cause you distress when calling coyotes in the deserts of the Southwest.

The big desert views provide you with both a pro and con when calling desert country. The pro is that you can see a long way to spot coyotes approaching your calls. The con is that so can the coyotes, and they often stall out early, hundreds of yards away, for a security scan. Having downwind command of the view is one option, but again, seasoned coyotes could drop into an arroyo and circle downwind farther undetected.

5 Top Predator Calls for 2023 (Including Special Discount Codes)

Locate a calling site that forces coyotes to circle into an opening of your choosing. Separate yourself from trails bustling with human activity by using the Natural Atlas overlay as a guide. Now scout for elevation and an obstruction, cover or steepness, to force coyotes your way. Put that HuntZone to work along with your aerial imagery. A steep canyon wall, thick mesquite, shrub live oak, saltbrush, and combinations of cactus could deter a coyote from slipping into a veiled approach and, instead, force it into an opening of your liking. A well-placed decoy, scents, or an electronic caller can direct with the help of the natural barrier.

A tangle of prickly pear and cholla once helped me keep a coyote from swinging downwind on a New Mexico set. The coyote, one of the oldest I have yet to shoot (confirmed by worn teeth), swung away from the cactus patch to gain a wind advantage. It was a BINGO win for me.

coyote hunting in the desert

The terrain of the desert includes a variety of washes and gullies. A good way to prod coyotes your way is to use steep terrain or thick brush as a funnel.

Coyote Hunting Setups: Intermountain West

coyote hunting setups intermountain west

When you think of coyotes and coyote hunting you think of the West. They inhabit all real estate from front-range subdivisions to remote mountain valleys and every sagebrush basin in between. Hunting the Southwest is a breeze because the majority of those states are publicly owned, but in the intermountain West it becomes a checkerboard except on large expanses of National Forest. Use the Public Lands map overlay along with the Property Info feature in HuntStand to locate public access. Especially be aware of public lands that border private lands under strict wildlife management. Those are coyote condos for sure.

In the West, elevation typically comes easy, but as I have learned over and over again, while hunting in the foothills, coyotes utilize timber cover to approach undetected and leave like a thief in the night if they sense a trap. While scouting for new country, the Terra Pulse Tree Cover overlay gives you the tool to find areas with and without timber. Satellite imagery, 3D map flyovers, and Monthly Satellite updates all combine to put you in a great calling location with further scouting.

Coyotes prefer to hang near livestock and wintering wildlife, so I look for public lands bordering livestock feeding operations or wildlife habitat management areas. Next, I look for high terrain along the border fence and any openings forcing coyotes to vacate canopy cover for a thorough investigation. Coyotes will be departing livestock areas at sunrise as feeding chores begin, so set up between the animals and good refuge cover with a favorable wind. Lone howls with an occasional challenge howl provide the incentive for any area coyotes to investigate.

huntstand coyote hunting

The author called this foothills coyote to his gun after a careful setup strategy with HuntStand.

Coyote Hunting Setups: Waterways

coyote hunting setups waterways

Rivers, creeks, and streams crisscross the country with plenty of coyote hunting potential. Riparian zones offer dense habitat to hold prey, ranging from rodents to big game. These waterways also offer a path of least resistance, and in northern latitudes freezing temperatures transform these into HOV lanes for coyotes. I prefer to e-scout new areas with the Natural Atlas map overlay due to its distinguishing blue color feature to signify water. This makes riparian areas stand out easily for more thorough investigation. After discovering potential hunting areas, move on to the Property Info, Hunting Lands and Public Lands overlays. These reveal public hunting areas and the names of potential landowners to contact if a riparian zone looks promising.

If a waterway is frozen, I immediately search for an opening with an adjacent high point. The vantage point should have a favorable wind for both the opening and a portion of the icy path on the water. Waterways, especially river valleys, funnel wind, so be conscious of that fact so your scent doesn’t channel exactly to where a coyote is likely to appear.

High locations might be too far from the water corridor to garner looks along the ribbon of water and any fields, or openings along the edge. Think whitetail. Hang a treestand beforehand using predominate wind histor,y or bring along a quick setup such as a tree saddle or climber stand. This elevation advantage allows you to see the playing field, plus shoot down into brush for coyotes that try to approach by zigzagging through thickets. A treestand also gives you a wind advantage by potentially carrying your scent over the top of a close coyote.

coyote hunting on a river

Frozen rivers attract coyotes for ease in traveling. Calling and overlooking these possible highways is a great tactic.

Upgrade to HuntStand Pro

Habitat zones across the country provide distinct challenges for coyote hunting setup success. You can put more advantages in your corner by utilizing a proven hunting app like HuntStand to dig through the habitat elements and narrow down a winning position.

Unlock access to public land maps, property boundaries, landowner data, offline maps, 3D mapping, and more with HuntStand Pro. Check out HuntStand Pro Whitetail for access to every map and feature available in the app. Compare HuntStand Pro and Pro Whitetail to find the right features for your next hunt.

There are no free lunches, but there are free hunting apps. The nation’s number-one hunting app, HuntStand, offers a free version for hunters and land managers alike. You have access to high resolution satellite imagery, detailed weather forecasts, and the ability to customize maps with map icons. In addition, you can even mark trail cameras with the capability to tag photos, along with adding climatic data to those images. With HuntStand you can receive a free hunting app that will advance your outdoor efforts, but is it time to get a HuntStand upgrade?

Let me explain. Like all free lunches, you typically see something else on the menu enticing you to consider an entrée upgrade. For HuntStand, the free version only sparks more interest to a pair of powerful upgrades: To HuntStand Pro ($29.99/year), and the even more-powerful new HuntStand Pro Whitetail ($69.99/year).

5Ways 6

HuntStand upgrades offer plenty of unique features you won't find anywhere else, at a fraction of the cost of premium tiers found in other hunting apps.

If the free lunch serves you right, stick with it. However, if your taste for even more of a good thing spurs your interest, consider Pro or the even more-whitetail-focused Pro Whitetail. Both represent sound investments in your hunting future. Here are five ways you will benefit from upgrading.

More Mapping Power

Pre Rut 3-D

Yes, HuntStand is all about maps created from both satellite imagery and the power of overlays. Those helpful overlays highlight everything from topographical information to tree cover. Sixteen map overlays give you the ability to decipher, find and mark any hunting discovery you could imagine. One of the most-interesting overlays is the HuntStand 3D Mapping (see screen image above). It includes a view of your Hunt Area illustrated by the terrain you can expect to tackle. 3D mapping, like the additional overlays offered in the upgrades, helps you truly “see” your hunting property without being on site, for optimal hunt planning.

Upgrade to Pro Whitetail: Get The Whitetail Activity Forecast & More!

A mapping bonus you receive with the new Pro Whitetail upgrade is Monthly Satellite imagery. Many systems use satellite imagery that might be updated every two years, or even longer. HuntStand Pro Whitetail offers images that are updated monthly. This is critical to understanding the day-to-day changes occurring on the landscape. This layer is provided at a lower resolution, but with ample clarity to see agricultural changes, timber management, wildfire damage and snow cover.

Pro Whitetail Crop History

Also with Pro Whitetail, you get Whitetail Habitat maps that show the quality of whitetail habitat in areas you might be interested in hunting. Pro Whitetail also gives you access to a valuable Crop History layer (see image above) that offers valuable info on local food sources. In addition, there’s a new, finely detailed National Aerial Imagery layer to help you drill down even further into properties to find isolated funnels and stand sites.

5 Ways Add2

With HuntStand upgrades you can create valuable offline maps that are nothing less than game-changers. When you don't have service, these maps will keep you hunting and navigating—safely—in the most-remote backcountry.

Finally, you will not have cellular coverage everywhere. HuntStand upgrades provide a built-in platform to download offline maps right to your phone. Offline maps are a game-changer. These maps will keep you going even when tech fails you in the outback. Simply download your map with service, and the map stays with you throughout your adventure. A great feature to consider an upgrade.

A Better Property Atlas

Nobody needs to tell you and me that it is becoming more difficult to acquire hunting property. Hunting leases, private wildlife management and unfriendly proprietors of wildlife habitat have you looking harder than ever for a place to hunt. An upgrade to HuntStand Pro or Pro Whitetail can help. When you make the leap, you automatically receive access to nationwide Property data and advanced property search. It’s like owning an up-to-date Plat Book for every county in every state. Huge!

HuntStand Property Info

First, detailed property boundaries are shown for the U.S. and much of Canada. That serves those of you jumping borders for Canada’s wealth of hunting opportunity. In the U.S. you receive even more-detailed mapping information. This includes the owner’s name displayed right on your map. Tap the screen and the contact details flash in front of you, aiding in your search to track down a landowner. This feature helps you when trying to find the true owner—not a property manager. And you can quickly find all properties the landowner might own. Use it to acquire access, negotiate a lease, or even purchase a property.

For the public-land hunter, the upgrades illustrate public-land boundaries, ownership and allowable uses. Not all public lands offer hunting access and some areas—such as large camping properties—may allow it. HuntStand Pro and Pro Whitetail provide those details to keep you on the hunt, and in a legal manner. More good reasons to jump into an upgrade.

Manage Your Scouting, Hunting

Trail cameras can be a blessing and a curse. The curse arises from management and trying to keep your images organized to boost your hunting success. HuntStand upgrades provide an accentuated platform to aid you in making your trail camera images a more resourceful tool in your hunting playbook.


The added trail camera image features in the HuntStand upgrades provide management of images to help boost your hunting success.

HuntStand upgrades offer you 40 GB storage space for your images. As images and HuntStand come together, weather and solunar information sync together to give you a broader perspective on when to hunt an area. And like magic, HuntStand AI scans images and recognizes repeat locations and even identifies the species in the image—although a Bigfoot may slip by. In addition, that same AI creates a heat map that highlights the trail camera activity at each location to literally reveal a hotspot. A little help from HuntStand upgrades goes a long way in the management of your trail camera army.

5Ways 3

The handy Stand Reservation feature in HuntStand upgrades allows you and your friends to effectively manage stand and blind use on your hunting property.

HuntStand upgrades also aid you and your hunting partners in stand management. You say you hunt a property with friends and family? Have a multi-person hunting lease, or operate a hunting club? HuntStand upgrades give you stand management capabilities, so everyone has a place to hunt. This feature lets you
Stand Reservation List

reserve a stand for a specific slot. You will never again arrive at a stand to find Uncle Fred already napping. You can view upcoming calendar reservations to see who is hunting where, and what slots are open. Search specifically for dates and times with the system, to see who is hunting currently. And obviously, you can reserve a time when you are free. Management saves time and increases success. HuntStand upgrades are there to help.

Handheld Weather Channel

Having game roaming your hunt area is imperative to success. However, understanding how weather affects game and your hunting strategy lets you become an amateur meteorologist. HuntStand upgrades exceed the weather you receive on the free version. You’ll get an array of weather overlays capable of allowing you to co-anchor any weather broadcast.5 Ways Radar

When a weather event rolls into your hunt area the radar overlay (see screen image above) gives you a look at the current situation. So you can plan to dodge a rainstorm, or get out the sunscreen later. Precipitation and snow accumulation features illustrate what to expect for accumulating moisture. That gives you clues on whether to stow raingear, or even consider postponing a hunt due to a major winter weather event. The temperature overlay illuminates the temperature now and in the future.

5 Ways 2

HuntStand upgrades provide numerous weather layers to help you read the forecast. Kayser ducked under cover and donned raingear after reviewing extreme weather radar info on HuntStand Pro.

HuntStand weather overlays even exceed expectations by showing current wildfires. In addition, you’ll learn fire outlooks in a hunt area, and a drought monitor. Combine all these overlays with the innovative HuntZone feature that shows windspeed and scent dispersion for a very specific locale. And it comes in

Upgrade to Pro Whitetail: Get The Rut Map & More!

an easily read graphic. LandZone provides a similar graphic to show you wind, and how it could affect your waterfowl hunt or decoy setup. Both are free, but when you add in the HuntStand upgrade overlays, you own the weather.

More Exclusive Features

5ways ADD

The ground-breaking Whitetail Activity Forecast and Whitetail Rut Map found in the HuntStand Pro Whitetail upgrade offer dedicated whitetailers detailed info for their specific Hunt Areas. This scientific site-specific info has never before been available.

Over the years HuntStand has become known for its innovative features, and now there are more that you can’t find anywhere else. As a dedicated whitetail hunter I’ve been especially impressed with the new Whitetail Activity Forecast and Whitetail Rut Map, two new features in the HuntStand Pro Whitetail upgrade. What makes these unique tools especially helpful is that they offer site-specific information.
First WAF Screen

They let you know what is going on right now not only in your specific state, but in your specific county. It can get even more specific than that, right down to your specific Hunt Area. That’s incredibly useful info to help you pick the best times to be afield, and it’s all backed by the latest scientific research. Ground-breaking stuff.


Using his HuntStand upgrade, Kayser was able to use numerous features to plan the perfect ambush on this Midwest buck. Are you ready to experience the power of a HuntStand upgrade?

HuntStand and its two upgrades, HuntStand Pro and HuntStand Pro Whitetail, offer you a world of information to help you succeed in the already trying sport of hunting. Consider an upgrade if you want a bigger world of benefit. My take? Both are feature-packed, economical choices that offer an incredible bang for your hard-earned bucks. And that’s especially helpful in today’s inflationary landscape.

You’re geared for the hunt and primed for success, but are you sure you’re heading down the trail with the right knives? I’m here to share some expert tips for choosing a hunting knife so you’ll be ready to make the most of any hunting adventure. But first, let’s retreat to this fond memory of elk country …

As I reached to grasp the antlers of the mature bull a wave of emotion overwhelmed me. The hunt was demanding, challenging and draining, but worth it at the sight of the elk resting on the snowy mountainside. I knew his beefy body would feed our family throughout the coming year. And I was glad my pack held proof that I had the right hunting knife for the job. The rack was just a consolation prize for the effort.

After a few minutes of silent reflection, I knew it was time to roll up my sleeves and begin breaking down the bull. Hunting solo and miles from the trailhead, my knife and I were the primary employees for the immense job ahead.

Ready For elk processing

You're miles from nowhere and a backcountry bull is down. Is your hunting knife arsenal up to the task?

Knives play an integral role in daily life, but an even more-critical role during the hunt. Choose the wrong knife for the job and your efficiency could falter. Utilize a knife with a dull edge and you will struggle, or worse yet, injure yourself. Your hunting knife is an essential tool to your hunting success. Hunting Knife Basics

Matt Elliott lives and breathes knives. He must, as the director of marketing for Work Sharp. This unique company specializes in knife sharpeners for the hunter, handyman and culinary kitchen expert. Elliott also has 22 years of fishing and hunting experience that ranges from wilderness backpack hunts to chasing salmon in the Northwest. His enthusiasm for sharp tools follows him from the boardroom to the backcountry. He stresses that having a good knife not only facilitates an effective outdoor experience, but could aid in your survival. And if one knife is good, he believes two knives are even better.

5 Must-See Hunting Knife Sharpeners from Work Sharp
Hunting knives and sharpening systems

Most all hunters can benefit from carrying multiple hunt-focused blades, and owning a few different sharpening systems.

By now you likely have received the good news. Did you draw that elk tag or not? For those of you with “SUCCESSFUL” proudly displayed on a state wildlife agency e-mail, set aside the yardwork and begin scouting for your upcoming hunt with help from the many-featured HuntStand Pro upgrade. Begin right now you say? Yes, e-scouting before your hunt—as soon as you can begin—is that important. But know that HuntStand Pro makes it easy. Here’s how.

Pinpoint The Basics: Start With Food

Elk live simplistically. They do not require Wi-Fi, Grubhub or electric scooters in their lifestyle. They require the basics: Food, water and shelter. Pinpoint these three requirements and you have the start to your elk scouting. Look at food first, since it could be the single-best element to help you zero-in on elk in a seemingly endless landscape. Although elk do browse like deer and moose, they are primarily grazers. Think of them as cows to help you look for grazing opportunities.

Bull elk bachelor herd

Nothing gets you amped for elk season like the sight of velvet bachelor bulls.

Elk are big—400 to more than 800 pounds in weight for adults—and that means they need lots of grass, especially for a herd. Search for openings, parks, meadows and nearby agricultural offerings that could supply the required grass demand. The HuntStand Map Editor gives you a detailed satellite image of your hunting area, but for more help consider the Tree Cover layer to exploit available treeless areas for possible grazing. Looking for grazing options in heavily forested regions fast-tracks you to likely elk hangouts. In many regions, a glance at south slopes also reveals food options.

Traditionally, north slopes exhibit dense cover characterized by dark stands of timber. South slopes often include more openness to allow grass growth, even in more-arid climates. Even clumps of grass on vertical slopes receive elk attention—where elk have the ability to dart quickly back into steep, timbered slopes for escape.

Elk map showing water

Next Up Is Water

Along with a hearty diet of lawn offerings, elk require loads of water, particularly in the early fall and rutting season. They perform like athletes, and without a Gatorade sponsor they must go to the source directly for hydration. It is near impossible to measure an elk’s intake while watching it, but from captive elk research it is assumed they consume 3 to 4 gallons per day. In lush environments that moisture may arrive with vegetation, and in frigid climates they transition to snow instantly.

HuntStand 3D Elk ScreenOf course, in many habitat regions, water is as easy to find as high fuel prices today. Mountains contain a plethora of water sources, and valleys traditionally come fully equipped with a flowing stream or river. That does not mean you should ignore water. An isolated source near a north-slope refuge could see regular use during the rut—or even from a group of bachelor bulls after the rut slows down. Arid environments, rain-shadow terrain and droughts all lead to create limited water availability. In those situations, mark every source and visit for signs of elk use.

Fresh Elk Droppings

Pay attention to all forms of elk sign and keep tabs in HuntStand.

Take A Virtual Flyover

In addition, you may be able to spot water sources simply using the 3D map layer and doing a “virtual flyover” of your hunting area. The Hybrid layer also adds in the names of creeks, rivers, springs and reservoirs. Some of the HuntStand features I jump between while looking for water are the Natural Atlas and the Hybrid layers. The Natural Atlas layer uses blue lettering and markings to signify these various water sources. That delineation, along with topographical overlays, illustrates if the sources are in steep country, rushing off the mountain or in a bowl, captured by terrain.

Marking An Elk Wallow

Identify potential water sources with satellite imagery, but always make sure to ground check them to make sure water is present.

Regardless, mark all water sources and consider a firsthand, boots-on-the-ground visit to confirm if the well is overflowing—or as dry as the Mojave Desert. During the rut pay special attention to pooled water sources, which invite wallowing activity. These small water sources (like the one pictured above) may see regular, repeat visits. I like to spray a dose of any of Wildlife Research Center’s elk scents, to help keep the interest going. Wallows offer an ideal location to spend the midday—and possibly ambush a visiting bull.

Bugling for elk at dawn

Do your homework with HuntStand Pro and you'll have a wide variety of promising hunt areas to check when elk season hits.

Trail Camera on elk Wallow

Using trail cameras on elk travel routes and hotspots, like the wallow shown here, is ideal for determining elk traffic in an area.

Preferred Shelter Areas

Elk shelter in nearly any cover available, and will even park on open slopes. But generally, they prefer a canopy. One of the first places to look is on a north slope—since these typically hold the heaviest, thickest cover. Use the Contour layer to find steep north slopes with benches. Elk utilize the steepness to separate themselves from predators, and bed on the benches where a relatively flat surface exists. Again, locating these hotspots with help from a

Elk bedding site

The author used HuntStand Pro to identify this bench on a steep slope. Within minutes of accessing the site on foot, the he discovered several fresh elk beds.

HuntStand Pro upgrade takes little effort, but boots on the ground are the best determination if the location has elk residents. A great example is the image above; in it, I’m inspecting a promising bench on a steep slope found with HuntStand Pro. Within minutes of accessing the site, I had discovered several fresh elk beds.

HuntStand Contour Layer Elk

The Contour layer (shown above) also makes saddles, ravines and ridges stand out. These all attract elk for travel opportunities. Find a saddle leading to a lush meadow, and it could be the perfect locale to wait in ambush near a north slope.

Tall sagebrush species, mountain mahogany, aspen stands, Gambel oak and a multitude of shrub communities stage throughout elk country. These habitat zones provide security with a nutrition component within. Depending on the vegetation in your hunting unit, you will need to do a thorough “virtual tour” of any or all habitats to decipher where the elk may be living. Remember that a call to a local conservation officer or biologist goes a long way in whittling down elk sanctuaries before reviewing 1 million acres of national forest.

HuntStand Property Info Elk

When you do have an idea of where elk will be spending the most time, use your various HuntStand Pro layers such as the Property Info (shown above) and Natural Atlas (shown below). These two tools help navigate you to remote corners of public land—possibly bordering private ground—where elk may be living in a sanctuary setting. They also illustrate

HuntStand Natural Atlas Elk

any possible trails or roads that provide access. In prairie units, such as eastern Montana, the Tree Cover layer in HuntStand Pro quickly defines the best refuge for elk in a stark environment. In any of these situations, use the tools to identify any habitat that is far from a road—with the prospect of bordering private land.

HuntStand Pro For The Win

To give you an edge in the task of scouting the enormous volume of elk country, you really need to consider an upgrade to HuntStand Pro. The Pro upgrade will not set you back like some other hunting apps, and your scouting efforts will vault forward due to the increased technology at hand. Remember that you need HuntStand Pro for access to the crazy-helpful 3D Mapping tool, and other smart features such as Property Info. This not only illustrates boundaries to ensure you do not trespass, you will also get the edge on elk living near private properties.

Using HuntStand Pro is something I’ve come to depend on each season. Just last September, after choosing a swath of country I believed held elk, I saved a Hunt Area and began adding icons to my map detailing potential elk funnels, bedding areas, watering sources and feed. After a thorough scan of the area using the basic Map Editor, I took a 3D Map tour and discovered a high ridge above a green valley that held promise.

Bull taken with HuntStand Pro

Successful scouting lead to this beautiful public land bull.

Three days later I was on that ridge and aroused a herd bull with a favorite bugle tube. I kept him active until I crept within the herd edge. He worked the perimeter and paused too long at 43 yards—between two ponderosa pines. The G5 Montec I launched from my Prime bow took him at a quartering-away angle. A solid hit. After an arduous few hours of tracking, I came across him in an adjoining coulee. HuntStand Pro’s detailed map layers helped in both the successful ambush and the recovery. I’m happy to report my HuntStand Pro upgrade functions in whitetail or elk country with equal, outstanding performance.

Placing a treestand or ground blind in a winning location on a specific property taxes even veteran whitetail hunters. To give you an edge in this task, invite some technology to the party. The impressive tools in a HuntStand Pro subscription, including 3D Mapping, will boost the odds your ambush is accurately placed. And to be clear, we’re not talking about “more or less close enough.” We’re talking about the spot on the spot: Pinpoint deer stand placement.

Using HuntStand's 3D MappingUpgrading to HuntStand Pro not only allows access to the 3D Mapping tool, but also many more helpful features such as Property Info, which illustrates your hunting property for optimal planning. More good news? The affordable Pro upgrade will not set you back like some other apps’ “premium” features, and your skill in ambush location will jump exponentially.

HuntStand 3D Water AmbushReservoir Waylay

One very effective ambush scenario includes water. Reservoirs provide hydration for deer in arid environments, like the Great Plains or even forested regions of whitetail country. Firing up HuntStand’s 3D Mapping allows you to easily see the larger water sources around a hunting property. The Natural Atlas feature reveals water sourcesvia a map-style layout for canopy-heavy areas.

Upgrade Now To HuntStand Pro

Whitetails seek out from 4 to 6 quarts of water during the day. Maximum amounts are required in heatwaves and during the rut. A woodland or cropland reservoir provides an ideal stopover to replenish, and gives you a location for your next ambush.

Check The Wind & Cover

The best water sources provide cover for deer wishing to use the source during shooting hours. Once you locate a prime, covert water source, use the HuntZone to determine wind characteristics at the location. After determining which side of the water to set up your ambush, study the source with 3D assistance to determine areas that may have shallower water and less- steep banks. Deer will automatically water on those edges for convenience. Typically, the back end of a reservoir is shallower than the dammed or downhill end.

Warm-Weather Water AmbushAfter determining a deer-preferred side, add in topography layers to hunt for routes deer might use to access the water. Look for draws, creek tributaries and even old farm roads used to check water levels by land managers. A saddle above a reservoir could lead deer directly to the water, as will a fence line. When these features connect with the water you have an ideal funnel ambush. If you feel deer may only be using the water after dark, backtrack up the route and establish an ambush leading to water, such as the ridge scenario described previously. At the water, an overlooked pinch point is the manmade dam grade that routinely includes a trail.

Use the available drainages leading to and away from any standing water source as your access routes. Staying below a bank or in a ditch gives you cover to sneak into water locale when combined with downwind help, but stay clear of trails deer use to access food or bedding.

The Coulee Caper

All lowlands do not lead to an open field. Coulees, basins and bottoms in whitetail country may plummet to a lower elevation, but still exist under the canopy of timber. An ambush in a timbered setting provides the opportunity for all-day action, especially in the rut as bucks cruise for the next estrus doe. Whitetails routinely avoid appearances on fields during shooting light, but have confidence moving in the timber.

3D Mapping allows you to survey these hideaways even if the canopy cover is too dense to see through on an image. You should also slap the topographical overlay on the image and begin scanning for a series of coulees and draws that funnel down to a junction. Two or more of these draws meeting in a gorge routinely expose well-used trails meeting underneath a tree hosting a community scrape. Rubs characteristically adorn the adjacent shrubbery. When you find a junction with fresh activity, you’ve won the funnel lottery. Drop those pins to mark your discoveries.
Setting A Coulee AmbushTo garner even more traffic, look for a junction of draws necking into a main draw that leads to a field. Deer will filter from the adjoining draws, hit the junction and jump on the “expressway” to the field. They’ll do this for evening feeding and their sunrise retreat to cover. Now comes the tricky part: Setting the ambush.

Stand Entrance & Exit

Depending on the steepness of the draws and sidehills, pay special attention to thermals and use your HuntStand HuntZone to map the wind and your scent dispersion. Wind clues aid in deciding on which side of the trail or draw you should place your stand, especially at the all-important junction point.

Finally, plan for ingress and egress. Although deer move in cover throughout the day, particularly during the rut, getting to a junction in the afternoon is best accomplished directly in the bottom with a downwind advantage. In addition, use scent elimination to cloak your intrusion. To access stands in the pre-dawn, consider a top-down approach. This keeps you away from lowlands, and most deer will still be feeding as you flank bedroom cover to reach your stand.


HuntStand Creekbottom Ambush

Creek Bottom Trap

Creeks, streams, rivers and riparian zones of all classes lure whitetails for ease of travel, water and ultimately food. Not only do the richest crops exist along these ribbons of habitat, but deer can browse their way to the good stuff under the cover of foliage. Begin with a history of wind direction as you peruse ambush sites. Be aware that even though wind may appear steady in a riparian zone, creek banks, river breaks and steep corridor topography will funnel winds in the approximate course of the waterway. HuntZone will lay out the wind scenario in easy-to-read graphics.

Fire up the 3D Map and immediately scan for all cultivated fields in the passage. Next, survey the timber and note all areas of thick timber, plus portions where trees may narrow along straightaways or even on curving portions. In addition, mark all narrow necks of timbers for potential pinch-point ambushes.

3D Mapping Buck Sign

Once on site you can "ground truth" your 3D Mapping observations by logging fresh deer sign.

3D Mapping Found This Buck

The 3D mapping feature found in HuntStand Pro brings "next-level" stand placement capability to hunters everywhere.

Favored Bedding & Travel Routes

Several riparian features to focus on include the farthest corner of an oxbow, as deer routinely use these for bedding. If water includes deep portions or steep banks, deer will be forced to follow the edge for excellent ambush points. Also look for shallows and reasonable embankments for crossing purposes. In addition, be cognitive of livestock trails while virtually scouting as deer will use those established trails and crossings to access habitat on the opposite side of the water.

More features to unearth are old river or creek beds. During times of high water, rivers and creeks often jump from their original course and create a shortcut. This leaves behind a wetland or even a dry, grassy path in the old riverbed deer utilize for travel, and feeding.

Ideal stand placement includes a downwind set on a steep edge, or a narrowing band of trees. These often lead to a crossing that connects deer with bedding cover and a “next-door” agricultural feast. Find this scenario and deer will show.

HuntStand Ridgetop Stand

Ridgetop Surprise Attack

Mature whitetail bucks utilize ridges for travel and refuge. Make sure you survey any ridgetop hunting opportunities on your hunting property. Placing a stand on a ridge includes many challenges. First, consider the wind and any topographical factors that will funnel it differently than the predominant direction found at the highest section. Next, scan the 3D image for all factors that influence deer movement. Are there fields below? Will busy valley roads alter movement? How many draws lead from the ridgetop to the bottom? Do any fences run from the fields below up and over the top of the ridge? Where is the densest cover located on the ridgetop? These and more will influence deer patterns. HuntStand’s 3D Map, Contour, Natural Atlas and other features unlock these secrets.

HuntStand 3D Map Stand Site

In addition, saddles that connect to draws, fences and thick bedding cover should be main targets of your funnel-based scouting. The topographical overlay feature reveals saddles and steepness factors deer will sidestep on a ridgetop hideout. Bucks will use fences and draws to ascend and descend to prime food in valleys below. After using these path-of-least-resistance routes, the focus will be on escape cover for bedding. Virtually scout for the thickest on the ridge.

Avoid Disrupting Patterns

With deer typically feeding in lower settings, croplands or riparian zone browse, use the 3D Map to find a “backdoor draw” deer will not be using for morning access to a ridge retreat. This allows you to avoid tracking through food sources and disrupting normal patterns deer use at dawn, to return to a high ridgetop for refuge.

In the afternoons, erase your scent with help from products like Scent Killer, and arrive early to a ridgetop stand using a direct route via a draw not associated with deer travel to lowlands. Use these same routes to slip out after your sit, being careful to leave only after all deer movement has subsided. Remember that thermals rise in the heat of the day, and drop during cooling periods. Your scent will follow, so avoid scenarios where your scent drifts up and down to deer in ridge environments.

HuntStand Field Edge Ambush

Early Field Edge Ambush

Field-edge ambushes stand out as the most common of hunting locations. Placing a stand seems naturally easy, but what you cannot see may hinder your success. First, consider predominant winds in the area. Most fields will offer a traditional wind scenario not affected by terrain. This alone reveals which side, or corner of the field to consider for a stand.

Next, examine the timber behind the location choice. You need to look for any terrain feature deer may follow to the field. A creek, ridge, dense foliage or even an old farm trail could funnel deer to a specific exit location. By adding the topography overlay to the image, any steep terrain deer like to avoid, and benches deer may follow, will stand out.

3D Views Show Important Clues

Zoom in closer and scrutinize the scene for an “off-ramp” opportunity deer may use to enter the field. Think thick timber, brush, or even an existing crop that veils deer as they assess for danger before committing. All of these stand out with HuntStand Pro’s 3D Map help. As you might know, mature deer routinely “wait in the wings” watching as does, fawns and adolescent bucks gather on a field. They do this via cloaked surveillance, along with any opportunity for a downwind assessment.

After determining deer arrival routes, consider your exit and entrance strategy. Placing a blind or treestand at the head of a small draw gives you a handy depression to sneak into for a quick disappearing act after the hunt. If terrain and deer density work against you, consider skipping the morning hunt to avoid bumping deer on a field. In the evening, arrange for a partner to pick you up at the stand after dark via a vehicle. Trail cameras confirm that most deer bound away from the headlights, but quickly return after the “Lyft ride” leaves.

HuntStand 3D Mapping Comes Together

The Flint Hills of Kansas remains my top whitetail destination. One recent hunt there further illustrates pinpoint deer stand placement. While searching for a new ambush location in a sea of nothingness, a draw leading from an upland food plot suddenly stood out. Not surprisingly, I found it with help from my HuntStand 3D mapping. The topography looked ideal for deer movement, and ample cedars provided secure bedding. A nearby farm trail allowed me to exit and enter easily from a downwind drainage. I immediately set a stand.

Two days later under ideal winds I opted to sit all day. At 11 a.m. a doe flew down the parallel draw followed by a puffing, exhausted buck. A quick check with my Sig BDX rangefinder confirmed less than 30 yards, and I smoothly drew my Prime bow. The arrow flew perfectly and an hour of waiting later, I collapsed in celebration next to a Kansas trophy. I could thank some “virtual flyby” scouting using HuntStand’s unusually helpful 3D Mapping.

Mark Kayser offers pre-season scouting tips for hunters seeking Merriam’s wild turkeys.

HuntStand Field Editor Mark Kayser shares tips for calling late-season coyotes during the month of February. Mark demonstrates several coyote calls and calling techniques to help you kill more canines.