Iowa’s Tree Stand Update

If you are a busy Iowa deer hunter this is the perfect page for you!  We live in a fast pace world and do not always have time to scout deer.  On this page, I will report weekly deer patterns, buck behavior, and upcoming weather in hopes the information assists you in planning your next hunt.  I will update this page every Sunday until deer hunting season is over.  

Feel free to comment below on what you are seeing out in the woods!  Let’s come together as fellow Iowans so we all have a successful deer hunting season!

October 20-27

The woods were more active this week here in eastern Iowa.  However, much of it was caused by an increase of small bucks moving briskly through the woods chasing other bucks and does.

I went bow hunting twice this week on public land.  Like last week, I hunted wooded areas with large oak trees and thick understories.  The leaves are still holding making visibility limited.

I crossed paths with several small bucks that were moving with purpose and chasing does.  I saw a drastic decrease in doe movement and noticed they were not grouped up like last week. 

Like last week, I did not see any deer until 9:00 a.m.  This is when the sun starts shining horizontally through the wooded areas and hitting the forest floor.  At 9:45 a.m. I did have a decent 8 pointer walk 35 yards from my stand.  He had a large body and had the attributes of a very mature deer, minus his antlers.  This deer seemed old and on the decline with his health.  I did rattle lightly at 10:00 a.m. and had 2 small bucks come in within 15 minutes.

When walking to my stands, I came across several deer scrapes and rubs.  These scrapes and rubs were fresh and appeared to be a few days old.  We counted 7 scrapes and 3 rubs within 40 yards of our stand.

I called several hunters in my local area and they are seeing a lot of small bucks, fresh rubs, and scrapes.  We are however seeing a lot of large deer at night when traveling back home from hunting. 

Next week, I plan to be more aggressive with rattling.  Tensions are no doubt picking up in the woods.  I expect the dominate deer to start showing who the bosses are, whether it is at night or during the day! 

I wish you luck hunting this coming week.  Do not forget to like White Buffalo Outdoors on Facebook and Instagram!

Feel free to scroll down to find some awesome apparel for Iowa hunters.

Stay tuned for next week’s update!

Justin J. Lind

October 26, 2019
White Buffalo Outdoors

October 13-20

This week I bow hunted public land in eastern Iowa.  I went 3 times this week, 2 times in the morning and once in the evening.  I hunted wooded areas with large oak trees and thick understories.  With the trees and understories still holding leaves, visibility past 30 yards was difficult.

I observed A LOT of deer this week, about 30 in all.  However, I did not see many deer until the sun shined horizontally through the trees, usually around 9:00 a.m.  Both morning hunts I saw the majority of the deer around 10:00 a.m.  During my evening hunt I did not see any deer, but the wind was blowing out of the east at 25 mph!

Small bucks were starting to move this week.  I witnessed several 4 and 6 pointers trotting on main trails with their noses to the ground and tails up.  2 mid-level bucks moved through my shooting lanes feeding on foliage.  Both of these bucks moved through my area at 9:00 a.m. 

Winds were strong this week with the ground still saturated from past rains.  With a lot of leaves holding onto the trees and a saturated forest floor, the deer are able to move through the woods silently and without being seen.

I expect similar circumstances for this coming week.  Eastern Iowa is forecasted for several days of rain and wind like we had this week.  Also, forecasted temperatures do not show any major changes. 

Stay tuned for next week’s update!

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Justin J. Lind

October 20, 2019
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5 Tips to Prepare for the Deer Rut

The greatest week of the year is near, and it is called the rut!  Why is the rut not a national holiday?  I have no idea, but it reminds me of Christmas.  It brings me joy and there is a potential for a lot of food.  The upcoming rut is like staring at a Christmas tree with a pile of presents surrounding it.  I wonder what is in those fancy wrapped presents much like I wonder what deer are about to show themselves during the rut.  Anyways, let me get you prepared for what is the greatest time of the year – the deer rut.

5. Watch the Weather

When preparing for the rut, the first thing I do is look at the extended 10-day forecast.  You will have the internet telling you to study moon phases, barometric pressure, and what kind of clouds are in the sky.  In my experience, examining basic information is much more beneficial and will help you plan more comfortable and productive hunts. 

What I typically look at is sudden drops in temperatures and wind.  Drops in temperature get does moving/feeding and strong winds keep does bedded down.  The more does that are moving, the more bucks are going to move. 

I stray from hunting in extreme weather like storms.  Deer typically bed down in storms and so should you.  Hunting in storms creates a dangerous environment for you as a hunter, especially if you are hunting out of a tree stand.

I use Weather Underground to gather my weather information.  Type in your location and click the 10-Day tab.

Link to Weather Underground

4. Study Your Maps

I hunt and study a lot of public land and I always live by this 1 rule when preparing for the rut – find the path of least resistant.

When a buck is on the move to find his next mate, he is going to walk/run a path where he can move fast and without resistance.  The same goes for a doe being chased by a buck.  Find an area that has a lot of thick cover but has a distinct path that deer can easily move through.  Setup 20 yards off the path and prepare yourself for a show!

3. Spy on the Farmers

Not literally but take a drive and see if the corn and beans are being harvested near your hunting area.  An individual deer has a habitat range of 1 square mile which is the area you need to view from a distance.  If sections within that square mile have corn or beans still standing, expect the deer to move that direction and plan your hunt accordingly.  If I see a farmer out checking his mail, I will stop and say hi.  Most farmers are glad to talk with you and give you information about the time they expect to harvest.  Try to continually build relationships with your local farmers.  This ongoing relationship will no doubt pay off for you in the future.

2. Buy Doe Urine

Doe urine is a great tool for the rut and for obvious reasons.  However, I not only attract the bucks with doe urine, but I use it to cover my own scent.  To attract the bucks, I will spray doe urine around my tree stand, usually 15 to 20 yards away from the base of my tree.  When I climb to the top of my tree stand, I typically spray a few limbs downwind to cover my own scent.

1. Get Scent Free

I always try not to complicate deer hunting, but I feel it is crucial to be scent free.  I have bow hunted for over 10 years and gun hunted for 22.  Almost every time I am not scent free, deer bust me. 

A few weeks before the rut, wash your clothes with scent free soap and let your clothes air dry.  After air drying, spray your hunting clothes with scent free spray and place in a sealed tote.

If you travel by truck or boat to your hunting spot, where different clothes and bring the tote with you.  Once you turn your truck or boat off, put on your hunting clothes and spray yourself again with scent free spray. 

I wish you all the best of luck during the 2019 rut and feel free to send me a picture of your trophy!  I will gladly post the photo on the White Buffalo Outdoors website and all social media platforms.

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Justin J. Lind

October 24, 2019
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1 Deer Fact That Might Surprise You

With skinny legs, small hooves, and large upper bodies, we expect deer to be terrible at swimming across large rivers and lakes.  Opening Facebook to check the White Buffalo Outdoors Facebook Page, I see more and more videos in my news feed of boaters rescuing deer from the water.  When the boat approaches, the deer appears frightened and starts swimming frantically in circles.  To save the animal from the water, the boaters act fast, grabbing the deer by the antlers and dragging it back to shore.  But, does the deer need to be saved?

Likely not. 

The home range of a single deer is usually 650 acres.  Within this home range, many lakes and rivers get in the way, especially when a deer is escaping predators.  Over thousands of years, deer have adapted to become great swimmers.  What makes deer powerful swimmers?

Their hair.

Yes, their hair!  Each individual hair on a deer is hollow, making them incredibly buoyant when swimming.  Not only does the hollow hair make deer buoyant, it keeps them warm.  Body heat released from the deer gets trapped in their hair, keeping them warm on cool nights or after a cold swim!

Next time you see a deer swimming across a lake or river, know that it is likely trying to escape a threat.  Attempting to save a swimming deer and bringing it back to its original location will likely put the deer right back in danger.

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Justin J. Lind

October 2019
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Deer Hunting Public Land Early Season: Don’t Miss the Big Buck by Focusing Solely on Does

You hear your buddies say it all the time before deer hunting season.  “I’m going to fill my doe tags early before the deer hunting gets good!”

This is a great strategy to get meat in the freezer and I have used this tactic for several years myself.  However, it is important during the early season to not get tunnel vision when you see a group of does walking your way.  Why?  Because a smart and mature buck may be lurking close by.

Mature bucks that have not been pressured by other hunters will still feed during shooting hours, usually in the early morning and late evening.  However, they will not feed aimlessly and will use does to their advantage.  These mature bucks will slowly follow behind a group of does, typically 75-100 yards back and use the does as their own live decoys.  If the does are spooked by a predator like us hunters, the mature buck will read their body language and turn the other direction. 

Two years ago, I shot a very nice buck 10 days into the Iowa deer season.  It was my first day out, and I was ready to fill some doe tags!  Within 1 hour of hunting, I had a group of 8 does walk directly towards me.  Learning this information from older hunters and my own personal observations, I waited and let the does get right under my stand.  Fighting the urge to constantly watch the does and pick a good shooting lane, I watched closely the area the does traveled from.  Within a few minutes, I could see antlers slowly moving my way.  I let the group of does pass through my shooting range and let the mature buck continue his strategy.  When the mature buck got within 25 yards, he was focused on watching the does and not the threat closest to him.  I let the arrow fly, putting him down in his tracks.  Photo of this deer below.

 

Hunting early season on public land is great time to fill doe tags.  However, know that if a group of does are coming your way, a mature buck may be following close behind.  Fight that natural instinct inside you and try not to watch the does.  Focus on where they just traveled from and if you see nothing, fill those doe tags!

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Justin J. Lind

October 2019
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Drift Fishing for Catfish: 2 Critical Tips You Must Know

Growing up, I loved fishing for channel catfish in my little flat boat.  I would pull up to my favorite catfish hole, drop the anchor and sling out my favorite stink bait.  As I grew older, I wanted a new challenge and started watching Youtube videos on how to catch flathead.  I was instantly hooked on flathead fishing and slowly faded out fishing for channel catfish.  

Now at the age of 30, I am back fishing for channel catfish in a way I have never done before – drifting.  A few of my co-workers wanted to try this technique and asked if I wanted to tag along.  After doing some quick research online, we hopped in the boat, flipped down the trolling motor and starting drifting.

We caught nothing.

We went again a few days later and caught 1 fish.  After making a few adjustments, we went to the same area and caught 6 fish.  After making several mistakes and learning on the fly, we are now catching a good amount of channel catfish every time we hit the water. 

Here are the 2 most important changes we made to finally find success when drifting for channel catfish.  

1. Use Fresh Bait

Fresh bait is critical.  The first time we went out we did not bring a cast net to catch shad.  So, we stopped at the local gas station and bought frozen shad.  When the shad unthawed, it was very soft and did not stay on the hook long.

Now, we buy fresh shrimp from the local fish market and bring the cast net along in the boat to catch shad.  If we run out of shrimp, we catch fresh shad!  We have found that fresh shad and shrimp are the best baits to use in our area.

Quick Tip

Always bring several baits when fishing a new river or lake for channel catfish and see which bait works the best.  I fish two different rivers within 50 miles of my house.  One river I catch a lot of channel catfish on shrimp.  The other river, I cannot get a bite with shrimp, which forces me to use shad.

2. Know Your Speed and Depth

You will not catch channel catfish in the same depth every day and you will not catch them at the same speed.  When you get out to the area you plan to drift across, try different speeds (usually between .5 – 1.5) and try different depths.  Once you catch a fish, document the speed and depth on a piece of paper or on your phone.  When you catch another catfish, document like you did before.  If you continue to document, you will soon find that “sweet spot” when it comes to depth and speed and will likely catch more channel catfish as the day progresses.  

At first, drifting for channel catfish was frustrating.  I knew how to catch channel catfish the way I did when I was younger, and I had a hard time fighting the urge to go back to the way I did it before.  However, seeing that first fishing rod bend over and the intensity of it while drifting, I was hooked for life. 

If you are struggling catching channel catfish or any other fish, do not give up!  Keep trying and changing your approach.  Eventually, you will find your way to success. 

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Justin J. Lind

September 2019
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How to Stain Bleached Deer Antlers for Free!

Bleached deer antlers can be a challenging and expensive task for deer hunters to undertake.  The major problem that makes this so expensive is the amount of money deer hunters spend on the various stains to get the natural color they are looking for.

There is no need to buy stain or even leave your house to bleach your deer antlers!  Simply, wet some used coffee grounds and rub vigorously onto the antlers with an old sock.  Continue to reapply until you feel you have the right color!

Lou Neve, 50-year veteran of the outdoors stained the antlers in this post with coffee grounds and an old sock.

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Justin J. Lind

September 2019
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How to Waterproof Your Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Waterproof cigarette cases have kept smokers satisfied in the wettest conditions mother nature creates.

Waterproof cigarette cases only cost $3 and guarantee to keep your hunting and fishing licenses dry. The cases come with a comfortable neck lanyard, allowing you to wear it between your clothing layers. With many outdoorsmen having several licenses and tags, there is plenty of room in these cases to keep them altogether and dry.

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Justin J. Lind

September 2019
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How to Not Ruin Your Iowa Hunting and Fishing Licenses

What makes fishermen and hunters alike? They want to waterproof everything including those small paper licenses! Unfortunately, Iowans cannot use a laminator to waterproof their hunting and fishing licenses because of the thermal paper used. Thermal paper uses heat to create text and images, NOT ink. If you put the licenses through a laminator, your front row seat ticket to the outdoors will turn black instantly.

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Justin J. Lind

September 2019
White Buffalo Outdoors

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