If you want to shoot more birds with a shotgun, it starts with wingshooting fundamentals. That’s what you’ll get from this short video to make you a more successful bird hunter, whether you’re targeting upland birds or waterfowl.

Shotgun Fit

A shotgun needs to fit properly in order for you to shoot to full potential. There are three primary components that you should pay attention to. Length of pull: distance from trigger to where the butt plate mounts into your shoulder. Comb height: the height of your butt stock where you make a cheek weld to look down the barrel or rib. Cast: orientation of your butt stock as it relates to the barrel, which can be offset for right- vs. left-handed shooters.

Target Focus

Target focus is an important concept to grasp as a wingshooter. Unlike shooting a rifle or a turkey gun, where you need to focus on aiming at your target with your sight system, being a successful wingshooter is far more instinctive. Mount your shotgun, look down the barrel or rib and keep the bead(s) in your periphery, and focus on the target as you pull the trigger. If your shotgun fits, knocking down the bird should happen naturally.

Follow Through

Swing, swing, shoot! And keep swinging! Following through with the movement of a bird is critical. If you stop swinging your gun as you pull the trigger, odds are your bird dog will be extremely let down and you won’t be tucking any feathers into your game bag.

HIVIZ Sights

Even though wingshooting is mainly instinctive, incorporating a shotgun sight system that glows under all light conditions can help you improve your accuracy. HIVIZ offers aftermarket fiber-optic sights that can be mounted to just about any imaginable shotgun model. In fact, because of their popularity and reliability, you’ll find that HIVIZ sights come standard on many shotguns directly from the factory. In addition to giving you peripheral confirmation that you’re staying on birds in the air, you can rely on your HIVIZ sights if you use the same shotgun for predator or turkey hunting.

A hunting rifle upgrade might be easier than you think. Watch this video for three DIY tips to upgrade your old hunting rifle.

Get New Glass

Your “old” hunting rifle might have some battle scars, but there’s a good chance it’s still a shooter. Maybe it just needs to be matched with a new scope to transform it into the killer rig that you demand for the field. Modern riflescope technology allows you to get a lot of quality for a small investment. Read this riflescope buyer’s guide to learn the basics before you decide to make your glass upgrade.

If you’re on a tight budget, Team HuntStand can vouch for the Burris Fullfield IV riflescope. With five different models, multiple reticle options, and adjustable turrets, you can almost certainly find a scope in the Fullfield IV family that has everything you need to hunt confidently from the whitetail woods to bigger western pursuits. Once you pair your old rifle with a new scope, you’ll have a setup that’s worthy of passing down through many future generations of hunters.

Rifle Barrel: Free-Floated or Bedded?

As explained in the video above, one of the easiest ways to improve the accuracy of your hunting rifle is to see if it shoots better with a free-floated or bedded barrel. Either option is a DIY affair. Experiment with both by shooting some groups to see what your rifle prefers.

Tinker with Your Bedding Screws

Another simple way to potentially improve the repeatable accuracy of your hunting rifle is to adjust the bedding screw tensions. Oftentimes this is just a matter of tightening the front screw and loosening the back. Test different tensions as you’re punching paper until you find the sweet spot. Use a torque wrench to ensure you don’t go overboard.

Have you been preparing for quick and accurate follow-up shots on big-game, ahead of upcoming seasons? Practicing this essential skill should be the goal of every big-game hunter. Watch this video supported by Winchester and see proven tips from HuntStand Pro Contributor Ron Spomer.

Know Your Rifle

The first tip might seem basic, but it’s essential. Know your rifle so you can use it almost without thinking. Where is the safety? Know all of your rifle’s functions inside and out.

Easy on the Power

Resist the urge to be up at super-high scope powers. At top-end powers, when you come out of recoil, it can be difficult to relocate your target. The answer? Train with some lower scope powers, and save top-end powers for when you really need them.

Stay in the Gun

Next, practice staying in the gun. What does this mean? When you come out of recoil, don’t lift your head off the scope and admire your shot. It’s a common mistake, and if you do this, you’ve lost precious seconds. Also, don’t rush that second shot. Take your time and make sure you’ve got a good second shot before you take it.

Use Your Gun’s Recoil

Also, learn to use the gun’s recoil to help yourself cycle. When you’re coming out of the shot, the recoil should come up while you’re coming back down and in. Then decide how you’re going to cycle your rifle. There’s no one best way. There are many different ways, but find a technique that works for you.

Then learn how to do all of the above in different shooting positions. Know that shooting prone is a little bit different. It requires a special technique for cycling. You’ll have to practice this extensively.

Smooth Is Fast

In the end, remember that smooth is fast—and fast is smooth. Don’t get excited and fumble around. When you practice, run things smoothly and slowly at first until you’re proficient. Increased speed will come in time. Then you’ll be ready for those quick, solid, on-target follow-up shots on big game.

Winchester XPR Bolt-Action Rifle 

Have you chosen a gun with which to make those accurate follow-up shots? Winchester’s classic bolt-action rifles are known around the world as “The Rifleman’s Rifle.” However, there’s been a notable update: Winchester’s XPR bolt-action rifle. When it comes to extreme weather conditions, you name it and the XPR can handle it. It’s a rugged, no nonsense game-getter that will put meat in your freezer for many years to come.

The trigger is the heart of every rifle, and the XPR has a lot of heart. The trigger housing and all internal components in the M.O.A trigger are constructed of polished and hardened carbon steel with a blued finish for added durability and corrosion resistance.

M.O.A. Trigger System

The M.O.A. Trigger System works on the simple principle of the pivoting lever. The system offers a 2:1 mechanical advantage that results in a superior trigger pull. The trigger piece offers a wide, smooth face to better distribute finger pressure for a lighter, more sensitive feel. Because of its geometry and 2:1 mechanical advantage, the trigger piece travels only half the distance of the actuator (2X). This means that your “feel” for the trigger is greatly enhanced. So your effective accuracy, both in the field and off the bench are improved. Intrigued? Check out a Winchester XPR today.

Standard wisdom says a hunter should own a binocular. I say he and she should own several! But how to choose  hunting binoculars?

A good binocular pushes a hunter toward Superman status. You won’t see through buildings, but you’ll see antlers and horns thousands of yards farther than you can with naked eyes alone. But with roughly 14,713 binoculars on the market in 6,000 assorted flavors at 10,000 different prices, how do you find the right one? Should it be a 6X, 8X, 10X or 15X? Will it require a 56mm, 50mm, or 30mm objective? Let’s dive into the mechanics and sort this out.


Most of us are dazzled by power. Why settle for a 6X magnification when we can get 12X? Because the 6X might reveal more game, that’s why! Magnification involves compromises. The higher the magnification, the narrower the field of view. While you concentrate on that shadow behind that tree with your 12X, the world’s record buck could walk out from behind another tree just outside your field of view. With the wider field of view in an 8X or 6X, you would have seen it.

Glassing In Alaska

Binocular size often hinges on the kind of hunting you plan to do.

Power also magnifies shake. Subtle hand tremors and twitches make the scene jump and swim so you can’t get a fixed look, the steady hold for studying those antlers. Most of us find that any power above 10X requires a tripod mount in order to maximize performance. High power also magnifies any optical defects within the system.

Upgrade To HuntStand Pro!

The final high-power bugaboos involve weight and bulk. What’s convenient lying on your truck seat might not be when hanging around your neck. High-power instruments aren’t heavy due to the power so much as the increase in objective lens diameter to match up to it. As power increases, objective lens diameter must increase or the instrument loses too much light.


Every hunter wants a bright binocular, but no binocular is really bright. Some laser rangefinding binoculars are good at math and trigonometry, but ask them the simplest question about biology or chemistry and they hang there, mute as a stone. Stupid, really.

On the bright side, however, many binoculars excel at transmitting light, and I think that’s what we hunters really care about.
Binocular choices come down to a compromise between price, performance, brightness and size.
I opened with this silliness to emphasize an important reality about binoculars: They don’t “gather light,” if by that you mean “collect it into a larger quantity.” A binocular can’t make a scene “brighter.” The reason a deer in a field at dusk suddenly looks brighter through an 8X binocular is because it’s effectively eight times closer. Walk eight times closer to anything in dim light and it you can see it more clearly, as if it got brighter. But no one turned up the light, so the scene couldn’t have gotten brighter.

What binoculars really do is make things darker—guaranteed, every time, every binocular. It’s basic physics. When light strikes a lens, some is lost to reflection. That’s why you see yourself in a store window. Raw optical glass reflects about 4 percent of light that strikes it, another 4 percent that leaves it. It’s those air-to-glass transitions that cause the reflection loss.

Now, here’s the really bad news: Each binocular has about 10 air-to-glass transitions. They’re losing 40 percent of the light. Yikes.
A huge objective lens lets more light into a binocular, but the higher the magnification, the less that gets out. In this picture, the 10x56mm below yields a 5.56mm EP. The 8×20 above it yields a 2.5mm EP. The Drawback to the 10x56mm is its larger carry size and weight. In full daylight, your pupil shrinks to 2.5mm, so the smaller binocular above would transmit as bright an image as the big one below—until the sun begins to sink.

OK, what about bigger objective lenses? Those are supposed to brighten things up, right? Well, sort of. Sure, a bigger window will let more light in, but no matter how large the lens, it still loses 4 percent of the light coming in and 4 percent going out. And when that light bounces off the prism mirror, another 2-5 percent is lost. That brings us to the final bad news (after which things get better): The higher the binocular’s magnification, the less light that gets out. Ouch.

Let’s review the sad truths about binoculars:

1. Lenses lose a lot of light.

2. Big objectives let more light in, but still lose about 8 percent to reflection.

3. Prism mirrors lose 2 to 5 percent of the light that strikes them.

4. Magnification reduces the amount of light that gets out, so the more powerful the binocular, the darker the image.

Put away your crying towels. We’re moving on.

Binocular Buying Tip No. 1: Anti-reflection coatings can knock reflection loss from 4 percent per surface to less than .02 percent per surface. If this sounds huge, it’s because it is huge. The trick has to do with wave interference. It’s rocket science, but thankfully someone figured it out. A single-layer coating cuts reflection loss in half. Multi-layer coating knocks it clear down toward that .02 percent range. Each company has its secret coating recipe, so the best we can do is insist on our binoculars being what the industry calls “fully multi-coated.”

Binocular Buying Tip No. 2: Porro-prism binoculars—the old-fashioned style with the two-stage or dog-legged barrels—don’t require a mirror, so no light is lost there. Abbe-Koenig prisms in some roof prism binoculars (straight barrels) don’t need mirrors either. But most roof-prism binoculars use the shorter, compact Schmidt Pechan prisms, which require one mirrored surface. The brightest (most efficient) is dielectric. Second best is silver, worst is aluminum.

Binocular Buying Tip No. 3: You can balance objective lens size and magnification for maximum brightness. The two work in concert to create the exit pupils (EP). The exit pupils are the small circles of light you see in a binocular’s eyepieces if you hold them at arm’s length and point them toward a bright sky or wall. Those little circles are the windows that let light out of the binocular. You can see several together in this video. Ideally, EP should match the diameter of your own pupils. If they do, you’re taking in all the light you possibly can. If they aren’t, you aren’t. And if they’re larger, the extra rim of light just spills off your iris without ever getting inside to your retina.

The little circles of light you see in eyepieces of binoculars held at arm’s length are exit pupils (EP). The top binocular shown in this image have a 2.5mm EP. The bottom binocular has a 5.56mm EP.
Here’s where our math skills come into play. Divide objective diameter in millimeters (mm) by magnification and you get EP diameter in mm. A 50mm by 10X binocular would create 5mm EP. The same 50mm with 8X power would give 6.25mm EP, and a 6X would create a huge 8.33mm EP, which is larger than you can use.

The human eye dilates to about 7mm in the dark, so that’s really all the larger any EP needs to be. In full daylight, your pupil shrinks to 2.5mm, so a binocular EP that small would be sufficient. In practice, a binocular that is fully multi-coated with no mirror or a silver mirror or dielectric mirror, and EP of 4mm or larger, will transmit a bright enough image 45 minutes after sunset to let you clearly see a deer in an open field. In other words, through legal shooting light. This means you don’t need to haul around a 10x70mm monster binocular with its 7mm EP. It would transmit a brighter image, but if you’re seeing deer with 4mm EP, do you really want to haul around a huge 10x70mm for a few minutes of extra viewing time?

A binocular’s exit pupil (EP) must be as wide as your own pupils to let in maximum light, but in real world conditions, a top-quality binocular with 4.5mm EP will see you through legal hunting hours.
Now, for the grand finale: If you want an eminently useable binocular that will transmit images bright enough for clearly seeing through legal hunting hours, balance magnification and objective lens size to get at least a 4.5mm EP. Make sure it has fully multi-coated lenses—meaning all air-to-glass surfaces are multi-layer coated. Get a Porro-prism unit or an Abbe-Koenig roof prism for maximum light transmission. If you buy a Schmidt-Pechan roof prism, get a dielectric mirror to maximize transmission. A silver mirror is the next best. Avoid aluminum mirrors.

Those simple factors will help your binocular be as bright as any inanimate, non-computerized object can be.


Deer hunters love tradition, guns, arguments and myths. Best of all is arguing about traditional gun myths! Here are some of my favorites.

My gun is so powerful that it knocks bucks 10 feet back and flips ’em on their heads.

Who wouldn’t want a firearm like that? The person who had to fire it, that’s who.

Long ago, there was a rather bright individual named Isaac, last name some kind of cookie … Newton. That’s him. This Newton guy is kind of famous for understanding and explaining some basic laws of the universe, such as gravity and, “For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.” This explains why your rifle kicks, and why no shoulder-fired firearm yet used to terminate a deer has knocked one back 2 feet, let alone 10.

Go out and shoot any deer-hunting gun. If it doesn’t knock you back 10 feet, it’s not going to knock a 200-pound whitetail 10 feet. If you really want an eye-opener, fill a tire innertube with 50 pounds of sand, place it on a stump and try to knock it off with any deer rifle in your arsenal; I’ll bet it doesn’t go 2 feet, and surely not 10.

My bullet needs at least 1,000 foot-pounds of energy to cleanly kill a deer.

Really? Tell that to a few million bowhunters who routinely take deer with arrows carrying 50 foot-pounds of kinetic energy. Or poachers who plunk whitetails through the chest with .22 Long Rifles pushing 140 foot-pounds of punch.

Energy doesn’t kill deer, tissue destruction does. Break down essential life support organs and deer expire. Hit the brain or the spine from the shoulders forward and they usually die instantly. Hit the heart or lungs and they live until blood pressure drops so far that they faint. When blood stops delivering fresh oxygen to brain cells, they die in about 10 minutes, but the deer usually loses consciousness in 3-12 seconds. This is why a heart-shot buck can dash 100 yards or more before falling over. How far a wounded deer travels depends on how severely the blood supply to the brain has been compromised.

Sometimes “shock” kills deer instantly. Poorly understood, shock somehow transmits the impact energy of bullets to the brain, even if just the heart or lungs are hit. Sometimes even kidney shots will do the trick. But you can’t predict it or count on it. Shock near the spine can knock a deer out temporarily.

Not even magnum elephant cartridges will always anchor deer in their tracks. (left to right: .30-06, .416 Rem. Mag., .416 Wthby Mag., .458 Lott, .460 Wthby. Mag.)

To kill deer faster and deader, I need to use a magnum.

Ha. See Myth No. 2. A hunter told me he’d bought a .300 Ultra Mag. in order to drop whitetails in their tracks. “How’d that work out?” I asked. “I shot a doe in the chest with a 180-grain bullet,” he replied. “She ran into the swamp and I never could find her.”

Bullet diameter, weight  velocity shape and construction are important to performance, but proper bullet placement is most important. Better a tiny bullet in the heart than an elephant bullet in the guts. And even an elephant bullet through the chest doesn’t guarantee any deer will die in its tracks. Always follow up every shot with a careful examination of the area where the deer was standing. Hard-hit deer sometimes act as if nothing happened. Ten seconds later, they fall over.

My super magnum shoots flat to 500 yards.

Again, laughable. Only if it’s a laser. Bullets begin to drop the instant they leave the barrel. Because gravity pulls at 32 feet per second and it takes a bullet about a tenth of a second to travel 100 yards, not even the world’s fastest magnum hits point-of-aim at 100 yards. All bullets must be angled upward to reach downrange targets. Throw a 150-grain Hornady A-Max 3,600 fps from a .300 Rem. Ultra Mag. Zero it at 100 yards and at 300 yards it has already dropped 7 inches. At 500 yards it’s down 31 inches, and at 700 yards it has plummeted 78 inches. But, zero it at 300 yards and it’s 3 inches high at 200 yards, but “only” 19 inches low at 500 yards.

A half-second after being hit (see hair in air behind buck) with over 3,000 foot-pounds of energy from a 7mm Rem. Mag., this buck hasn’t been blown so much as a foot backward. Note: bullet hole behind shoulder is entrance wound.

Round-nose bullets hit harder than spire-points.

Sorry, just the opposite. As bullets fly downrange, air resistance slows them, just like it slows a bicyclist. To retain speed, cyclists shave their legs and hunch over. Bullets get similarly streamlined by stretching out their noses and hiding some of their bellies in tapered boat-tails. Round-nose bullets expose more surface area to air drag, so they lose velocity and energy quickly.

Start a 150-grain, .308-caliber round-nose and a 150-grain, .308-caliber boat-tail spire-point at 3,000 fps; when they reach the 200-yard line, the round-nose will be packing 1,394 foot-pounds of energy. The spire-point will still be hauling 2,026 foot-pounds.

Don’t believe every myth you hear in deer camp.

How can a firearms hunter get in enough practice to be good? Fake it.

OK, it’s not fair. Bowhunters get to practice in their backyards. Gun hunters have to drive far into the country or wait for an “official” range to open, then put up with all the other shooters and delays and closing hours. But there’s still hope: Pretending to fire is almost as good as the real thing, and in many cases better. Here’s how:

Believe it or not, many shooters are so poorly trained that they don’t even know how to carry, dismount and assume a steady shooting position. Faced with a quick shot in the wilds, they puzzle and dilly and think when they should be reacting as naturally as throwing a ball. Just do it! But how can you do it if you haven’t practiced the moves. So practice already.

Lock all your ammo away, unload guns and magazines and if possible remove the bolt/firing pin. An easy option is to shove a bright paper towel into the chamber so no live round could ever get in there. Then pick up the firearm and carry it around the house. Pretend you see a deer and get the gun off your shoulder quickly. Assume a prone or sitting position. Paste the reticle on a target and keep it there. Envision the deer, see the bullet fly to the spot. (Don’t forget to push all obstructions from the muzzle/barrel/chamber before actually shooting. Barrel obstructions aren’t safe. Always clear barrels before shooting any gun. Place a slab of brightly colored tape over the muzzle to remind you when the chamber is plugged.)

If you’re having trouble getting the slung rifle off your shoulder, try hooking your shooting-hand thumb under the sling at your shoulder. Push the sling forward, reach between it and your side and grasp the forend of the gun. Using the forend hand, swing the gun off your shoulder and up into the shooting position while bringing your trigger hand around the trigger grip. Smooth, quick and functional. Practice this a bunch and you’ll soon be doing it with both eyes tied behind your brain. And that’s what you want—autopilot.

This hunter shows perfect offhand form. Note level trigger arm to create high shoulder pocket, straight head, cheek welded on stock comb, head nearly dead straight. He’s leaning slightly right to clear a tree blocking his buffalo shot.

If you have trouble finding your target in the scope, it’s probably because you’re focusing on the rear of the scope, the eyepiece lens. The target isn’t on that lens. It’s way downrange. The scope only makes it look as if its in the scope itself. The trick is turn scope power down to about 4X. Keep both eyes open and focus hard on the target. Don’t shift focus anywhere else. Bore a hole through that target as you lift your rifle/scope to your cheek. If the gun fits and you aim it correctly, the target should appear almost perfectly under the crosshairs. If it doesn’t …

Your eye should align with the scope when you raise the rifle into shooting position. If you have to bend your head to the side and scrunch it down to get on the stock comb, raise the elbow of your trigger hand/arm level or even higher. This raises your shoulder pocket. Raise the rifle butt stock to fit in this pocket. Keep your head nearly perfectly straight and looking ahead at the target while doing this. Too many shooters scrunch down to meet the rifle. No. Make the rifle come up to meet your cheek. If it still doesn’t, try building the comb higher by temporarily taping on some hard foam or a slab of cotton folded over. Or buy an aftermarket comb riser. You might also have to lower your scope. If the objective bell sits more than about 1/8 inch above the barrel, it might be mounted too high.

If you see edge blackout in the eyepiece, it’s either too close or far. Loosen the rings and slide the scope fore or aft until you see the entire sight picture with your head straight and the stock lifted to your face. Don’t be embarrassed if you aren’t holding and aiming properly. Most shooters are never taught how to do this. It doesn’t come naturally.

This is the author’s favorite field position. It’s quick to get into, easy to shift around, clears most grass and brush
and is steady enough for 400-yard shots.

Learn the cardinal shooting positions and then modify each to suit your idiosyncracy, but develop a system and perfect it. My all-time favorite is sitting at about a 25-degree angle to the right of a straight line to the target. I put a portable bipod under the forend, my elbows on or just inside my knees and my back against anything solid if I can get it. Thus anchored, I can usually hold steadily enough for 400 yards. That covers 95 percent of my hunting. Getting into this position took years of experimentation and practice. I assume it by crossing my legs and lowering my butt to the ground while spreading the bipod and unslinging the rifle. With my tailbone as an anchor, I can kick left or right to reposition in a split second if the target requires. Can’t do that from prone.

Zack Keller dry-fires at the range to practice “calling” his shots while his partner, Sarah, stands ready to see the actual hits when he goes live. Both are training for real hunting where the shooter must know where he likely hit and the spotter myst stay in the binocular instead of flinching when the shot blasts off.

Here’s the final touch. Once you’ve got the rifle/scope fitting properly and you’re putting it on target quickly, put snap caps in the chamber and dry fire. The goal here is to, again, keep both eyes open, acquire the target and keep the crosshair on it when the firing pin falls. You want to see where the reticle is when you hear that click. This is known as “calling the shot.” You should be able to do it while hunting and actually firing, which is why dry-fire practice is so effective. You learn to break the trigger without flinching or jerking and you learn to watch that sight picture. Nest time you shoot at game you’ll be able to say, “I pulled slightly right when the shot broke. I should have hit that deer just on the shoulder about halfway up from the brisket.”

Now you’re talking like a shooter. And shooting like one.

You know those ads? “Don’t let them see you sweat.” Well, with whitetails, don’t let them smell you sweat. Or anything else. Because with whitetails, the nose knows.View More: http://howardcommunications.pass.us/hcphotolibrary

Hunters have tried dozens of tricks to overcome this deer defense, everything from rolling in dung and setting out skunk cover scents to dusting in baking soda and wrapping in charcoal. These all work to a degree, but there’s one tactic that works flawlessly—stay downwind. If your stink molecules don’t float into the nostrils of a deer, you’re “odor invisible.”
Every deer hunter older than 5 understands this. Not all of them know how to work it. I do. Not because I’m Super Hunter, but because I’m Long Time hunter. I’ve been stalking whitetails for 46 years. And here’s what I’ve learned about working the wind …

Air currents carry and disburse human scent much as they disburse smoke. With no breeze, the smoke spreads out in all directions. On a light, steady breeze it drifts as an ever-widening column, or “scent cone.” The faster the breeze, the narrower the column and the farther it moves downwind before spreading. The smoke is carried up during hot days; on cold days it sinks. In winds of 20 mph or more, scent begins to tatter and confuse deer that detect it. They often hesitate, start to move, stop and start back the other way until they decipher exactly where the stink is coming from.

Play the wind right and your stalks won’t end like this.

With these images of drifting and blowing smoke in mind, you can stalk deer from not just downwind, but from the sides … and often as close as 20 degrees off the main wind direction. In other words: During a north wind, a buck to the north of you can be stalked from the south, east, west and probably northwest and northeast. But the closer you approach due-north, the greater the risk.

Of course, Old Ma Nature always throws in a few wrenches, and orthography—the lay of the land—is one of them. Hills, canyons, cliffs and the like block, push and funnel wind. A north wind blowing into an east/west ridge will climb up and over, but also flare out the the sides somewhat. In a tight canyon it will follow the twists and turns, sometime enough to double back on itself. Woods and brush will break up a scent cone, deflecting parts of it thither and yon. On the downwind side it will swirl, perhaps climb and maybe drop. Before stalking any deer, consider how terrain and vegetation will change air currents.

Now, for some good news: Modern technology can give you a leg up on wind. HuntStand ScentCone Wind Map not only indicates what the wind is doing now, but what it’ll most likely be doing 72 hours from now. Add temperature and barometric pressure reports to the mix and you’ll know how to plan your hunts, your routes, your whole day. If HuntStand indicates the morning breeze will blow 5 mph from the NW until 10 a.m., then swing around to the SW and blow 15 mph throughout the afternoon, you can start your day at the southeast corner of the alfalfa bottom, then cross it to still-hunt that north/south oak ridge until mid-morning. Once the wind has shifted, drop west off the ridge and still-hunt the brushy bottom running to the west, arriving at the NW corner of that hot bean field for the evening feeding flurry.

Swirling winds at the edge of woods can alert deer from nearly any direction.

Here are a few things to consider when planning to avoid a whitetail’s nose: A whitetail’s sense of smell is 60 times greater than yours, and you know how far downwind you can detect a campfire, right? But also realize that whitetails in settled country are used to smelling humans. Farmers, county road workers, kids playing in backyards, hikers. Distance matters. Deer aren’t going to necessarily freak and run if you’re 300 yards upwind, but they’ll know you’re there.

A 3 mph zephyr leaves time for your scent molecules to drift to either side, creating a wider scent cone the farther it drifts downwind. A 10 mph breeze pushes is farther downstream before it can spread out and so on. At 20 mph and faster, wind can tear and tatter scent so much that deer miss it or are too confused or unsure of themselves to react correctly. They hesitate, sometimes run the wrong direction, catch another whiff of torn scent and turn back the other way. A wind that strong also provides auditory cover. You can get away with more rustling and crunching.

A breeze of less than 3 mph is tough to work with. It doesn’t compromise any deer’s hearing, it spreads out your scent cone, it keeps your stink concentrated, and it’s likely to vary at least a few degrees, sometimes as much as 45 degrees. Your best approach is straight upwind. There is one redeeming quality to such wafting currents: You can outrun them. I sometimes do this when closing for a long rifle shot in open country. If a buck is standing in or about to cross my downwind trail and I’m far enough away that he’s unlikely to hear me run, I’ll drop behind a low ridge or screen of brush and run right at him, straight downwind. My objective is to reach a clear shooting position within effective range (usually 250-400 yards) before my scent reaches the buck. My brisk walking pace is 4 mph, so I can stay well ahead of my own odor in a 2 mph breeze. I’ll usually have enough time to set up and make the shot before the buck “nose” I’m around.

So many options in optics, so much ground to glass. What’s the best style of binocular for your next hunt? Do you need more than one hunting binocular? This video will help you answer those questions, including a rundown of the most sensible objective/magnification combos for the most common hunting scenarios.

[sponsored by Leupold]

Bowhunters. Gun hunters. All of us can benefit from this compact, handheld thermal technology designed to positively identify game animals by showing their heat signature with a vivid color display, even under the cover of darkness. Game recovery might never be the same.

[sponsored by Leupold]