10 Best Whitetail Deer Hunting Tips from the Pros

Want to experience more deer hunting success? Then put these top-rated, proven tips into action!

By: Lynn Burkhead


Want the opportunity to harvest bucks like this? Then follow the advice from Mike Stroff, host of “Savage Outdoors” on Sportsman Channel, and nine other deer hunting experts. (Photo courtesy of Mike Stroff)


Since they make their living by spending a good portion of each fall in the deer woods, it should come as little surprise that many of our Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel and MyOutdoorTV show hosts have a few good ideas to pass along.

With ample experience in chasing big whitetails from one end of this great land to the other, our Outdoor Sportsman Group show hosts are a veritable wealth of deer hunting tips and information.

Because of that, we asked them if they could provide us with their best deer hunting tips to pass along to you the reader. Here’s how they responded:

Dan Braman (Wildlifers): “Whitetails know the terrain they live in very well and will use it (to their advantage). The biggest factor for success, among all others, is wind. Always, without exception, keep your wind right, and you’ll do well.”

Matt Bullins (Whitetail Fix): “Number one, always be conscientious about the wind. Number two, always hunt upwind of predominately doe bedding areas during the rut because most mature bucks will check the downwind side of those bedding areas. And third, hunt tight to bedding areas and food sources during the late season and try to limit your hunting (then) to the afternoons.”

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Mark Drury (THIRTEEN): “One of my top tips I guess is this – I think that a lot of people make a mistake by being too intrusive in their approach (to their whitetail hunting property). Understand where they bed and (in general) don’t go near it. Also, always go hunting on high pressure days – I think the pressure number is one indicator of whitetail success. Another tip is to hunt less and scout more. The best way to scout is with cameras since the more cameras you have out, the more knowledge you can gain about the land you’re hunting and the deer that live there.”

Bill Gorman (L.L.Bean Guide to the Outdoors): “First, I’d suggest that you locate the numbers area – the places where the biggest numbers of deer are tagged, where the populations are high, and where there is the most hunter success. Then, I’d suggest that you put in your time scouting and patterning (those) deer so that you know where they are (within) their habitat. Finally, look at the weather, the moon phase, etc. (to be out in the field at the best times).”

Mike Pelletier (HARDCORE Pursuit): “Locate a big buck with your (game) cameras. Once you locate a shooter, scout from far away, glassing to try and get to know the buck. Do all that you can to stay out of his area until you want to hunt. And don’t go when the wind is bad!”

Jim Shockey (UNCHARTED): “There are three rules for whitetail hunting. Deer do what they do. Deer are where they are. And deer move when they move. It really isn’t rocket science to hunt whitetails when you understand these three rules. The only way to beat the rules is to spend some time in the woods…the more, the better.”

Trevon Stoltzfus (Outback Outdoors): “My first tip is to know your fail-safe entrance and exit routes for your stand and its placement. Second, don’t hunt feeding area in the morning. And third, practice with the EXACT equipment, clothing and gear you’ll be hunting with.”

Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland (Mossy Oak Hunting the Country): “First, I’d say play the wind! As the old saying goes, ‘Deer will tolerate hearing you three times, seeing you twice, and smelling you once.’ I don’t think the originator of that quote was too far off. Second, when it comes to quality deer management, we always adhere to the saying ‘Age before beauty.’ And third, when it comes to trailing a wounded deer, we always go by the saying ‘When in doubt, back out!'”

Mike Stroff (Savage Outdoors): “First, when rattling, make sure that you are set up and paying the most attention to (the area) downwind of your location. It doesn’t matter where you think they should come from, typically, a mature buck will wind check the scene before committing (and coming in). Second, your approach to your stand location is just as important as the stand location itself. If the deer get spooked while you’re on your way to the stand, or if they know you are there, it doesn’t matter how good the spot is because you won’t be successful. Finally, I would prefer to hunt the pinch points during the rut more than any food sources. You have to be in a location to catch those bucks cruising in a spot (so) you can get a shot at them.”

Steve West (Steve’s Outdoor Adventures): “For mule deer, I’d say that you need to glass a lot. Get up high (on a hillside or mountain) and glass some more. And be willing to get away from the roads. And finally, don’t take shots that you are not 100-percent positive that you can make. Long range shooting is only for those who (diligently) practice.”