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Archery Bowhunting Whitetails from the Ground

Bowhunting Whitetails from the Ground

Most deer hunters sit 20 feet up. Some stay concealed in a ground blind. And then there are a select few who simply sneak through the whitetail woods on foot. Although unconventional and challenging, bowhunting whitetails on the ground without a blind is possible.

Stalking or posting up in natural cover offers more flexibility. If an ambush site isn’t performing the way you thought it would, you can move on. You don’t have to worry about hauling a treestand to a new spot or moving a ground blind — you just go. It opens up more opportunities and allows for switching up your game plan at the last minute as conditions evolve.

For western hunters who are accustomed to constantly being on the move and just can’t sit still for hours on end, this method is especially appealing.

The Hunting Public crew bowhunts almost exclusively this way, and they put decent bucks on the ground every year. So it can be done. But it’s not easy.

You can expect to spook deer and blow opportunities more times than not when bowhunting from the ground. It can be tough to get a shot off from a tree, but it’s exponentially more difficult to reach full draw when you’re at eye level.

If you have your heart set on staying on the ground, you’ll have to adapt your tactics and maybe even your gear setup.

You’ll need to keep everything on your person, so stick to minimal gear without sacrificing the essentials — like a solid set of optics. Those heavy, bulky rubber boots you usually wear for whitetail hunting? They probably won’t cut it for slow sneaking for miles. And you’ll want clothing that’s quiet and breathable too.

Concealment will be crucial, so make sure your face is covered and use shadows to your advantage.

Always keep wind direction in mind in relation to where you expect deer to be and move slowly. Never rush it and always be cautious as you take a step.

Shoot for days when the ground is wet and quiet or when they’ll be hunkered down in the wind and snow — wind can also help you get away with any noise you make.

Make sure you’re conditioned for long, slow stalks in varying terrain. It can be tough on the body.

It can be beneficial to set up an observation stand where you have great views in multiple directions to get a better idea of what’s going on around you before making a move. Glassing is a solid strategy.

If you’re bowhunting in a state where it’s legal — and an area where it’s safe — adding a bow-mounted decoy into the mix can work wonders.

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The Bow Bully
The Bow Bully discusses a variety of archery topics and offers tips, advice and the occasional nudge to make you a better bowhunter. With years of experience, and an attitude to match, you'll find the Bully has something to offer both beginners and seasoned hunters.

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