Question: “I have access for whitetail deer hunting on 60 acres of wide pasture land in Texas. The property backs up to state-owned land, which has good deer habitat. I have a feeder set up and am drawing in whitetail to a small clump of brush made up of about 6 or seven native shrubs. I’m looking at deer hunting using both rifle and bow. Setting up a box blind far away from the feeder is not a problem for rifle hunting, but where might I set up for bow hunting?
The closest trees are about 80 yards away from the deer feeder. The feeder is located away from these trees out of concern for the neighbors, as I didn’t want to shoot in their direction. I thought about building a ground blind for bow hunting purposes, but will it work in open land? I have also thought about putting a round hay bale for cover which can blend in. Concerned about movement and deer seeing me as I prepare to make a shot. Any ideas on deer hunting this property during the archery season?”
Response: First, it’s always a good idea to promote some type of deer habitat on the property you hunt. Think about implementing at least some small scale deer management practices. I understand that in this situation it may not be yours, but I would at least consider or recommend that the owner at least fence off 10 to 15 acres from grazing and allow that area to go fallow. Within no time tall grasses will offer additional cover for game and hunters, and within a few years you will probably have some brush and small trees, especially if you help them along.
Since you have no deer habitat on the land you hunt, it’s an especially good idea to be respectful of your neighbors. As for bow hunting around your feeder, I see no reason why a ground blind would not work, particularly if you leave it there for the deer to get used to it. Whitetail readily adapt to just about anything, so a pop-up blind or a homemade ground blind should both work just the same. You may also consider placing out two large round bales and leaving a space between them for you to sit. You can get to full draw as deer prepare to walk through your shooting lane.
You may be able to get a bead on the travel corridors that the deer are using and avoid hunting directly adjacent the feeder, too. If the fence lines are somewhat grown up or have trees on them then deer will often use these fence lines as travel highways. Fence line hunting, or course, can create issues. You may also consider a winter food plot suitable for your part of Texas to draw deer to an area that you can bow hunt.
This may be more palatable to the neighboring properties because more work will go into it, and it will be less obvious that a deer feeder right next to their land. Maybe a satellite food plot or an area where you hand-throw corn for several days leading up to your hunt days may pay off. Deer hunting small acreage and especially properties with little to no cover can be challenging, but not impossible. Put up a ground blind or some hay bales and promote a little cover. Best of luck though.
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