Piecing Together the Puzzle for Mature Whitetails with David Blanton

Piecing Together the Puzzle for Mature Whitetails” with David Blanton

By Jason Herbert


David with a beautiful early season Wyoming whitetail. David with a beautiful early season Wyoming whitetail.

You gotta keep in mind, the wind is a buck's best friend...” Realtree Outdoors' David Blanton and I were talking on the phone recently and I was picking his brain a bit about how he hunts. As a professional who always has a cameraman in tow, David really needs to perform while in the whitetail woods. His statement piqued my curiosity because these last few years, I've really been trying to think like a buck, and hunt the winds that work best for him... not me. I continued to ask questions.


David looks at killing a monster buck similar to how someone would view putting together a puzzle. He considers many factors, and creates a specific plan to put himself in front of each individual deer. I asked him about his overall approach to deer hunting. Here's how David starts to close the deal on a mature buck.




JH- How important is scent control to your whitetail hunting program?


DB- Scent control is an extremely important piece of the puzzle. It is absolutely critical that I do everything I can to remain as scent free as possible. And... on top of worrying about my scent control, I've got a cameraman with a whole bunch of gear to keep scent free as well. So... the task isn't easy. We take scent free showers and use all of their gear. We do not get dressed in our hunting gear until we are in the field and spray everything liberally with the Trinity Blast spray.


JH- So when you are going to hunt a big buck what do you look for?


DB- Well... that is best answered by first telling you what I don't look for. I do not set out to hunt scrapes, but they do tell me where bucks travel. Research shows that the majority of scrape activity takes place after dark. I like to start by looking at an aerial photo and pinpointing possible travel corridors. Anything that will create movement to be concentrated in a small area is where I'll look to hang a stand. I'm talking pinch points, funnels, inside corners, creek crossings, etc... Anything where travel might be concentrated.


JH- OK... makes sense. You find a few travel corridors; then what?


This mature buck had almost shed all of his velvet when David caught up to him. This mature buck had almost shed all of his velvet when David caught up to him.

DB- Then I figure out if there's a mature buck worth hunting in the area. I'll set out a trail camera or PlotWatcher. Also, like when I met Bill Jordan, I'll glass fields and also get out to look for fresh sign such as large tracks and giant rubs. I do notice scrapes and pay attention to how large and deep they are. Big bucks do make giant, aggressive scrapes. Big tracks, rubs, and scrapes are a great indicator that there is a mature buck in the area. I want visual confirmation on exactly what type of head gear this buck has. The best way to do that is by getting video from my PlotWatcher or pictures from a trail camera.


JH- So you have located a mature buck, you have possible travel corridors located- now what?


DB- Now I try to figure out what he does. What is the most direct way for him to get from point A to point B? I look for where he may be bedded, where the does bed, what he's eating, etc... Then, I determine which wind is good for me to get in quietly and setup along one of his possible travel routes.


JH- What sort of wind are you looking for?


DB- I like a steady but light wind- maybe 9-10 miles an hour with a consistent direction. If I know the wind will be steady, that gives me enough information to plan a proper hunt setup. Light and variable winds are tough to hunt because the currents tend to swirl randomly throughout the day. I will say this too, one thing that really shuts down the deer movement is above average temperatures. When it's hot... the deer will still move, but they'll do most of it at night when it is the coolest.




Once again- thanks David! You are a wealth of deer hunting information and we appreciate your time and sharing. Be sure to check Realtree Outdoors on The Outdoor Channel, and Realtree's Monster Bucks on The Sportsman Channel. For more information on David and the guys at Realtree, please visit www.realtree.com

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