Ground Hunting Whitetails is underrated

actiongeoff

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
11
Ground hunting is not a skill I've mastered and I put a lot of time into getting trees ready for the season, but the idea of being able to adjust so easily throughout the day and make the shot opportunity happen is really exciting! I'm so glad you shared this story. I'm going to try this out and see where it goes. Do you just sit on the ground or take a seat? Do you have trouble getting your bow in position and your shot sequence off from your butt?
 
OP
Midwesterner00

Midwesterner00

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
36
Location
Iowa
Ground hunting is not a skill I've mastered and I put a lot of time into getting trees ready for the season, but the idea of being able to adjust so easily throughout the day and make the shot opportunity happen is really exciting! I'm so glad you shared this story. I'm going to try this out and see where it goes. Do you just sit on the ground or take a seat? Do you have trouble getting your bow in position and your shot sequence off from your butt?
Most of my set ups I bring a seat to start out on but I find myself making small adjustments depending on the deer movement. If i do that i am usually set up on my knees if i think there are deer close. I try to have some sort of and obstacle between me and where the deer are to help me stay hidden and allow me to draw. Other than that most of my set ups are not planned and I just see what the deer are doing.
 

FireDuck401

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2018
Messages
20
Planning a trip to Pisgah National Forest in NC soon to hunt whitetail from the ground. Looking forward to getting away from a tree stand.
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
337
Location
Western Iowa
I shot my 2 largest archery whitetails from the ground without a blind. My biggest, a 160 5/8" 13-point, was a spot and stalk through switchgrass and iron weeds. The second, a 147" 12-point, I spotted from a hillside and rattled/grunted him up to me from a steep creek bottom.

I shot my largest late season muzzy buck sitting under an oak tree on a fencline funnel downwind of a pond dike that concentrated deer movement. He's a 151" 9-point

Hunting from the ground leaves you mobile and able to adjust to conditions and deer movement. I still hunt from stands and blinds as well, but I find myself on the ground more every season especially as a I get older.
 

Attachments

  • 151 and 160.jpg
    151 and 160.jpg
    340.5 KB · Views: 39
  • 147.jpg
    147.jpg
    210.9 KB · Views: 38
OP
Midwesterner00

Midwesterner00

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
36
Location
Iowa
Well guys I almost kept my streak alive last week. I had another big buck in bow range from the ground. I shot him a little high, but I thought it was still a fatal shot. I let him sit over night and followed blood for 300 yards the next day before it dried up. Came back later with a dog and had no luck. Sick about it but it happens. Hoping he made it now. The crazy thing is he was less than 100 yards from 2 of the other bucks I have shot.
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
337
Location
Western Iowa
Well guys I almost kept my streak alive last week. I had another big buck in bow range from the ground. I shot him a little high, but I thought it was still a fatal shot. I let him sit over night and followed blood for 300 yards the next day before it dried up. Came back later with a dog and had no luck. Sick about it but it happens. Hoping he made it now. The crazy thing is he was less than 100 yards from 2 of the other bucks I have shot.
Sorry to hear that and sounds like a shoulder hit. Did you find the arrow or see how much penetration you had?
 
OP
Midwesterner00

Midwesterner00

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
36
Location
Iowa
Sorry to hear that and sounds like a shoulder hit. Did you find the arrow or see how much penetration you had?
It was further back than a shoulder hit. Arrow sticking out both sides as he ran away which is odd for my set up. I never found the arrow either. I keep replaying it over and over and i still dont understand why that deer isnt dead.
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
337
Location
Western Iowa
It was further back than a shoulder hit. Arrow sticking out both sides as he ran away which is odd for my set up. I never found the arrow either. I keep replaying it over and over and i still dont understand why that deer isnt dead.
The distal tip of the shoulder blade goes quite a ways back on a whitetail, and if he jumped your string when you shot (as witnessed by the perceived high hit), it could have glanced up and passed through the loin on both sides. Your broadhead could easily penetrate and get bound up on the transverse processes of the spine preventing a full pass through. This would only deliver superficial blood and a non-mortal hit. My fingers are crossed this is what happened and you or somebody else get another crack at him.

A hair lower and you maybe clip the spine and he goes straight down stiff on the spot. A hair higher and you just give him a close shave.

Further back and you maybe hit liver, but more likely paunch, and in either case, I would expect a pass through and decent blood. However, in both cases they can go a damn long ways before shock/exposure/blood loss kill them.

Any bow hunter that has hunted a long time has lost a deer and it always sucks. Keep practicing and doing your thing and you'll get the next one.

Good luck!
 
OP
Midwesterner00

Midwesterner00

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2018
Messages
36
Location
Iowa
The distal tip of the shoulder blade goes quite a ways back on a whitetail, and if he jumped your string when you shot (as witnessed by the perceived high hit), it could have glanced up and passed through the loin on both sides. Your broadhead could easily penetrate and get bound up on the transverse processes of the spine preventing a full pass through. This would only deliver superficial blood and a non-mortal hit. My fingers are crossed this is what happened and you or somebody else get another crack at him.

A hair lower and you maybe clip the spine and he goes straight down stiff on the spot. A hair higher and you just give him a close shave.

Further back and you maybe hit liver, but more likely paunch, and in either case, I would expect a pass through and decent blood. However, in both cases they can go a damn long ways before shock/exposure/blood loss kill them.

Any bow hunter that has hunted a long time has lost a deer and it always sucks. Keep practicing and doing your thing and you'll get the next one.

Good luck!
Yes it's been over 10 years since I've lost a deer and I forgot how depressing it is. This is definitely the biggest buck I have shot and not recovered. Hoping I see him chasing a doe here in the next few weeks.
 

CM21VE

Newbie
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
2
Nice deer! I have ground hunted about my entire life. Just never could get along with a tree stand or elevated blind.
 

MichHunter

Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2020
Messages
52
Location
Michigan
Great stuff! I've done a good amount of ground hunting and man, is it awesome! Like you said, getting on their level, stalking, challenge of drawing back, and knowing where they're going before they do. It gets your heart pumping!

I don't do it all the time though. I like a windy day after a slight rain. it really gives you an advantage. Call me crazy, but the guys from THP convinced me to buy a ghillie hoodie. Thing is sweet and really think it helps break up your outline.

Good luck!
 

lnewton

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
18
Thanks for the feedback guys. I am very surprised to hear about so many other guys that are doing this as well. I do still hunt from stands and blinds but I find myself more times than not hunting from the ground so I am able to hunt where the deer are that day versus where my stands are. I am also looking into adding a decoy or two into my arsenal. Does anyone have any experience hunting from the ground with a decoy? I was thinking about the heads up decoy to attach to my bow but I don't think I like the idea of the deer being focused directly on me while I am trying to get a shot.
I have hunted Antelope with a decoy and it worked great. Not deer though.
 

OutdoorPhys

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2021
Messages
15
So the past 3 years I have had to learn really adapt how I hunt. Now most of this has been out of necessity as I live 2 hours from my prime hunting timber. These past seasons I have become a father to 2 young children, which has limited my ability to pick up and leave for days on end, let alone for more than a couple hours for sake of keeping my wife from going insane. That leaves me with the option of trying to bow hunt around my house, which consists of small pieces of public land that are severely over hunted or wide open crop fields and fence lines of private land that belong to my neighbors and nobody would even think to deer hunt. Now I will be the first to say that I definitely lucked out on the private land. After scouting and putting up some trail cameras, not only did I find a fair amount of deer in those little waterways and fence lines, there was also some mature deer that I would like to target.

After deciding I could give it a try in the open crop land, I set up some ground blinds and 1 tree stand in the only tree that would hold a stand. In the short times I did that, I noticed that I would see deer but they would often not come into bow range. I then made a decision to scout one evening in an area that I did not have a blind or a stand and I would just sit on a high point and glass to see where the deer were coming from and where they were headed. That night a saw the biggest buck I have seen in this area and he was headed in a direction that I felt I could easily cut him off. I snuck down in the waterway ahead of his path and quickly got a 15 yard shot at my biggest buck with a bow. That moment and that rush of sneaking into position and fooling a mature buck on his level in this open terrain was amazing.

That rush fueled a new obsession that I would take into my next deer season. This year, however I had planned my first mule deer hunt and I would be spending all of my vacation driving out to Idaho. After an amazing but unsuccessful Idaho trip, I was left to hunting the occasional weekend or week night. Even those hunts were few and far between as it was very hard to leave my pregnant wife with our young daughter for very long. Long story short I struck out during the rut. I still had a bow tag good for after gun season in Iowa, although I did not think there would be much of a chance to get that tag filled in the late season with snow covering up what little cover I had been hunting during the fall. One morning I saw a group of deer run into a small draw close to my house and I decided I would go sit near there that evening, thinking I might get lucky and shoot a doe to put my archery tag on. That evening I positioned myself in an abandoned acreage that butted up to the draw where I saw the group of deer and waited. I didn't have to wait long before that group of deer was walking up my direction. In that group of deer was a nice 10 pointer. I had to reposition slightly to get in front of them but I was luckily assisted with a couple of trucks driving by that distracted the deer enough for me to crawl into position. I later shot that buck at 30 yards and was so amazed how lucky I had got for the second year in a row. 2 nice bucks with a bow from the ground in an area that has no timber or substantial cover.

Ok this year. 2020 has been a different animal for many reasons. First of all, screw COVID and everything around this stupid virus. I was stuck going to work and coming home for most of the year and was left with little scouting or sightings of mature deer. Not even on camera. Combine that with the 2 kids at home and I was certain I would not have much time or much of a chance to get my tag punched this year. And honestly I was kind of ok with that. I mean how lucky can a guy be? Well with that being said, I did get out a couple of times in the pre rut but I was having trouble getting to where I thought the deer would be without spooking anything so I kept my distance and did not push anything. That lead to this past weekend. Halloween morning and I had a couple hours to go out before I had to start helping get the kids ready for the day. Very windy day so I was able to sneak down into the waterway where I had seen a lot of deer from the road the past couple evenings. It was a very bright full moon so before daylight I was able to see a couple of does down the waterway about 100 yards. Once they walked the other way a little, I took advantage of the wind and snuck down closer to where they went in hopes a buck may be doing the same thing. I set up in some tall grass shortly before shooting light. As it got light, I positioned myself in the direction I would guess the deer to be coming from and as I was doing that, I noticed a very nice buck doing exactly that. He was freshening up a scrape and headed right towards me. As he went in a small depression in the trail, I drew and he walked right in front of me at 20 yards. As he came right in front of me he was grunting and lip curling at what I later saw was a small buck and a doe to my right. I made a good shot and he didn't go 40 yards.

What the hell? I did it again? How is this happening? All I know is I am not going to change anything and keep riding this wave out. The rush of hunting on the ground and taking those western hunting tactics to these big Midwest whitetails has become my new favorite passion. Good luck to everyone else out there, remember to hunt where the deer are and not where you think they should be.

View attachment 229340
2018 Buck

View attachment 229347
2019 Buck

View attachment 229348
2020 Buck
You’re on a roll. I enjoy mountain hunting and am using these tactics for ground archery as well and giving up the stand
 

KMSbuck

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
21
So the past 3 years I have had to learn really adapt how I hunt. Now most of this has been out of necessity as I live 2 hours from my prime hunting timber. These past seasons I have become a father to 2 young children, which has limited my ability to pick up and leave for days on end, let alone for more than a couple hours for sake of keeping my wife from going insane. That leaves me with the option of trying to bow hunt around my house, which consists of small pieces of public land that are severely over hunted or wide open crop fields and fence lines of private land that belong to my neighbors and nobody would even think to deer hunt. Now I will be the first to say that I definitely lucked out on the private land. After scouting and putting up some trail cameras, not only did I find a fair amount of deer in those little waterways and fence lines, there was also some mature deer that I would like to target.

After deciding I could give it a try in the open crop land, I set up some ground blinds and 1 tree stand in the only tree that would hold a stand. In the short times I did that, I noticed that I would see deer but they would often not come into bow range. I then made a decision to scout one evening in an area that I did not have a blind or a stand and I would just sit on a high point and glass to see where the deer were coming from and where they were headed. That night a saw the biggest buck I have seen in this area and he was headed in a direction that I felt I could easily cut him off. I snuck down in the waterway ahead of his path and quickly got a 15 yard shot at my biggest buck with a bow. That moment and that rush of sneaking into position and fooling a mature buck on his level in this open terrain was amazing.

That rush fueled a new obsession that I would take into my next deer season. This year, however I had planned my first mule deer hunt and I would be spending all of my vacation driving out to Idaho. After an amazing but unsuccessful Idaho trip, I was left to hunting the occasional weekend or week night. Even those hunts were few and far between as it was very hard to leave my pregnant wife with our young daughter for very long. Long story short I struck out during the rut. I still had a bow tag good for after gun season in Iowa, although I did not think there would be much of a chance to get that tag filled in the late season with snow covering up what little cover I had been hunting during the fall. One morning I saw a group of deer run into a small draw close to my house and I decided I would go sit near there that evening, thinking I might get lucky and shoot a doe to put my archery tag on. That evening I positioned myself in an abandoned acreage that butted up to the draw where I saw the group of deer and waited. I didn't have to wait long before that group of deer was walking up my direction. In that group of deer was a nice 10 pointer. I had to reposition slightly to get in front of them but I was luckily assisted with a couple of trucks driving by that distracted the deer enough for me to crawl into position. I later shot that buck at 30 yards and was so amazed how lucky I had got for the second year in a row. 2 nice bucks with a bow from the ground in an area that has no timber or substantial cover.

Ok this year. 2020 has been a different animal for many reasons. First of all, screw COVID and everything around this stupid virus. I was stuck going to work and coming home for most of the year and was left with little scouting or sightings of mature deer. Not even on camera. Combine that with the 2 kids at home and I was certain I would not have much time or much of a chance to get my tag punched this year. And honestly I was kind of ok with that. I mean how lucky can a guy be? Well with that being said, I did get out a couple of times in the pre rut but I was having trouble getting to where I thought the deer would be without spooking anything so I kept my distance and did not push anything. That lead to this past weekend. Halloween morning and I had a couple hours to go out before I had to start helping get the kids ready for the day. Very windy day so I was able to sneak down into the waterway where I had seen a lot of deer from the road the past couple evenings. It was a very bright full moon so before daylight I was able to see a couple of does down the waterway about 100 yards. Once they walked the other way a little, I took advantage of the wind and snuck down closer to where they went in hopes a buck may be doing the same thing. I set up in some tall grass shortly before shooting light. As it got light, I positioned myself in the direction I would guess the deer to be coming from and as I was doing that, I noticed a very nice buck doing exactly that. He was freshening up a scrape and headed right towards me. As he went in a small depression in the trail, I drew and he walked right in front of me at 20 yards. As he came right in front of me he was grunting and lip curling at what I later saw was a small buck and a doe to my right. I made a good shot and he didn't go 40 yards.

What the hell? I did it again? How is this happening? All I know is I am not going to change anything and keep riding this wave out. The rush of hunting on the ground and taking those western hunting tactics to these big Midwest whitetails has become my new favorite passion. Good luck to everyone else out there, remember to hunt where the deer are and not where you think they should be.

View attachment 229340
2018 Buck

View attachment 229347
2019 Buck

View attachment 229348
2020 Buck
Great bucks. Awesome stories.
 

JAC357

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2021
Messages
11
I have a tree seat, and jump around a bit. I love hunting off the ground, if the wind is right and you can sit still they will walk right up to you no problems, and wont spook if you can sit still
 

bigeyedfish

Newbie
Joined
Sep 22, 2021
Messages
7
I've been hunting from the ground exclusively this year. I've just put in an hour or two here and there since I hunt at my house and always have something I should be working on. I've had a bunch of encounters that didn't result in a shot, but I finally got a shot opportunity on a doe at about 15 yards and sealed the deal. Really happy with how it all worked out.
 
Top