Deer Hunting Success | Small Property Success Is In The Details

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Hunters who are restricted to a limited amount of private hunting land must exhibit extraordinary attention to detail at all times of the year to be successful when the season begins. Your presence on a property that is 40 acres or smaller is just as crucial in June as it is in November. The following tips, if adhered to, will increase your chances of being successful this fall on small properties throughout the country.

Clean it up

There is no worse feeling than walking to your stand on a crisp and quiet November morning, only to step on and break a branch before you climb up to your stand. This can be avoided if you invest your time in a few hours of sweat-equity and rake a clean path to your stand with a steel rake. By doing this, you will ensure a clean entry and exit to your favorite stand. In turn, you will avoid bumping deer on your way in and out and also lower the risk of burning out your stand after only a few sits.

Keep out

Just because you’re hunting on a small piece of land does not mean you don’t need a sanctuary. Even if your sanctuary is smaller than 10 acres, you are still allowing a safe haven for deer to call your property home. Find a thick area that is too risky to hunt and keep it off limits. I make my sanctuaries in areas that don’t offer an ideal wind to hunt. Although these can be prime areas and loaded with sign, it is important to stay out of them. With that said, I do like to keep a stand hung in my sanctuaries because when you’re going for broke, these can be deadly last-effort honey holes. Don’t hunt them too early, however, or you’ll burn out your property before the season ends.

Hunt smart

After spending all summer anticipating opening day, it is important that you don’t let your anticipation get the best of you. Understand the needed wind directions for each stand and wait until the weatherman calls for those exact conditions. Hunting a stand with anything other than the ideal wind can be devastating, especially in the early part of the season.

Additionally, you will want to make sure your stands are fresh for the pre-rut phase in late October. This means not hunting until the calendar flips to around October 20. By all means, hunt your summer food source that bucks are frequenting prior to opening day, but stay away after they shift patterns. Remember, you’re hunting on a property less than 40 acres and probably have only a few stand locations scattered throughout it. No matter how tempting it may be, try to avoid burning your property out during a time of year when deer are not as active as they will be during the rut. If you simply can’t resist, hunt the fringes and save your prime spots for when the chasing phase is underway.


Mature bucks can be consistently harvested on small properties if you follow a detailed formula. Keep pressure to a minimum and invest your time when it can be most valuable; during the rut. The real difference in your hunting season is made before the bucks have finished developing their racks, so make sure you are doing what it takes during these summer months to increase your chances at a mature buck this fall.

Erik is a full-time college student working part-time for Midwest Whitetail and also writing freelance articles for numerous websites dedicated to whitetails. He hails from Wisconsin and is a Specialist with The Buck Advisors and Stone Road Media.

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Originally published at on July 16, 2014.

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