Entrance & Exit Strategy Whitetails

By Jace Bauserman

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hunter climbin up to a tree blind

I had it all. Not only was the rut rocking at full tilt, but Mother Nature ushered in a cold front, and the afternoon moon was rising. It was a done deal until it wasn't. I was young and naive and figured I could slip into the food plot a little later and still have plenty of time to watch does, fawns, and younger bucks before Mr. Big stepped out.

I was right. My target buck wasn't on the field when I approached the shooting house. However, several deer were already on the plot, and I hadn't considered how I'd walk the last 40 yards, which gave the deer a direct line of sight to me.

The field got blown, and my target buck didn't come out. However, that clover plot filled back up with scrapper bucks, and several does, and when it came time to climb out of the shooting house, I blew the field again.


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Whitetails, especially old sage bucks, tend to get much harder to kill when they know they're being hunted. You can have the best stand in the world over the best food and perfect weather, but if you don't plan a perfect entrance and exit, it won't matter. Here are tips for getting to and from your stand, ground blind or shooting house.

Ditches & Creeks

Whitetails love to travel waterways, and so do I when I'm figuring out how to get into and out of my whitetail locale without tipping my hand. Typically, ditches, creeks and even rivers have cut banks, which means you can drop to the bottom and walk the waterway as far as possible to your stand location. Not only are you below the eyes of the deer, but the trickling water also keeps your approach stealthy, and you don't risk a whitetail smelling where you walk in. 

hunter walking through a wooded area with his rifle on his back

Wind Matters

The wind might be suitable for your hunting spot, but it may be dead wrong for your walk to and from that location. When setting your whitetail ambush sites, develop several entrance and exit routes that will work with different wind directions. It won't matter if the wind is right for the area you plan to hunt if you blow deer out on the way in and spook them on the way out. 

Use a digital mapping app to look at an aerial view of your hunt area. Then you can plan different entrance and exit routes accordingly. 

Go the extra mile, literally. Sometimes, a long, tedious walk is required to get into and out of areas without letting a buck know you're in the area.

Create Travel, But Be Aware

One of my favorite things to do on my little slice of whitetail dirt is to create entrance/exit routes. To do this, I trade a farmer friend a day of hard labor for the use of his John Deere and brush-cutter. With this implement, I can cut swathes in the deep grass and weeds that allow me to creep to and from my stand locations without being seen.

I also like to put in some sweat equity. I have a killer ground blind situated in a marshy lowland I've dubbed "Buck Bottom." Bucks love to bed in this area, stand, and walk 40 yards to an alfalfa field at feeding time. Typically, deer will be bedded within 40 yards of my ground blind when I hunt this area, which means stealth is essential.  

hunter looking down the scope of a rifle

I knew a perfect entrance and exit would be essential when I set this ground blind. It took me three hours to cut 20 yards of brush and tamarack, but using a weed eater and a pair of heavy-duty loppers, I cut a trail through the head-high cover from the field to the back door of the ground blind. 

The big thing to understand when creating travel routes is that deer will also use them. You must walk slowly and cautiously with your eyes up when going to and from stand locations. 

Blow Them Out With The Vehicle

It isn't always possible to be perfect. Sometimes, getting to a spot at midday when deer are tucked in the timber is easy, but impossible to get out of, even after dark. This is common when hunting grain and green fields, and if you find yourself in this situation, it's far better to have someone drive into the area or near it and blow the deer out before you climb down. Deer are used to getting bumped by vehicles. 

The more attention you pay to how you get into and out of your best deer hunting areas, the more successful you will be. 

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