Over the last several years, Sportsman Channel television show host Melissa Bachman, who guides viewers on her many outdoors adventures by way of Winchester Deadly Passion, has made quite a reputation for herself.
And that reputation is in being one of the nation’s top white-tailed deer hunters, something that she can document with plenty of photos showing her smiling after tagging yet another big buck destined for the butcher’s wild meat market, not to mention the taxidermist’s shop.
Given her success in chasing big whitetails from coast to coast, it stands to reason that she’s got a wealth of hard-earned hunting tips that can help make the average weekend warrior a better deer hunter.
What’s her first deer hunting tip to viewers? To advise hunters to use their trail cameras as much as possible, as long as they do so properly, that is.
“This is one of the best scouting tools I know of, (but) don’t (give into the temptation to) check them too often!,” said Bachman. “Put your cameras out and always keep a card reader with you while hunting in case you walk by a setup.
While some hunters like to check their cards on a regular basis, Bachman is a stickler for staying out of the woods as much as possible.
“I like to pull cards (only) when I’m in the area and I encourage hunters to really go out of their way to not go in and out (of their hunting areas) too much!,” she said.
A second deer hunting tip from Bachman is to exercise a little bit of patience, especially during the rut itself.
“Sit all day if possible,” she said. “It is one of the best things I can recommend as it cuts down on the amount of times that you come in and out of a good spot, and let’s face it, hunting is all about the amount of time on stand.
“(Simply put), the more you’re out there, the better your odds (are).”
Her third deer hunting tip – and perhaps the best one – is to use a deer decoy at the right time of the whitetail autumn.
“During the rut I love to use a decoy, but my best tip is to make it as realistic as possible,” said Bachman, who grew up hunting in central Minnesota. “I put my decoy out about 15-yards from me and set it up so the bucks will come at your decoy head on.
“I’ll also thoroughly spray it down with Scent Killer Gold (scent elimination spray) and then add some attractant lures at the base such as (Scent Killer) Golden Scrape or Golden Estrus,” she added.
“Next, I try to simulate a real fight were I have two different grunt tubes, and I hit each of them like there are two bucks (grunting there) along with a doe bleat(ing).
“After waiting a bit, I’ll do a snort wheeze so it seems like one buck is telling the other to get out of the area, followed up by an all out fight using my rattling antlers. I’ll hit trees around me, knock stuff around, and then get ready.”
If a smaller buck happens to come in, Bachman isn’t the least bit deterred.
“If a smaller buck comes in, I’ll let them be, and if they run off, I’ll hit the rattling antlers again so it appears as if they got run off by a bigger buck,” said Bachman.
“This has been the most effective tactic for me because it’s like having a live decoy,” she added. “I can’t tell you how many big mature bucks have come in after a little one busts out and I hit the horns together again.”
One important – and humorous – component in this particular hunting tip is to be sure and read the instructions from the deer decoy’s manufacturer.
Unfortunately, the Sportsman Channel show host says that she knows firsthand what happens if you don’t.
“Like I said, it’s no secret that I love hunting over a decoy, but on one of my first trips out in Iowa, I didn’t put my decoy together correctly,” said Bachman with a hint of a grin.
“And it wasn’t long before I had a young buck come up to it,” she added. “But instead of fighting it, this young buck tried mounting it and broke the entire decoy in half.
“This would have never happened had I put all the washers in, but I was in a hurry and figured it would be just fine. I could hardly contain myself sitting on stand watching this go down.”
What’s the moral of this story? Simply this, that Melissa Bachman is one of the country’s most successful deer hunters in recent years.
And because of that, if she gives a hunter some encouragement to try something – or an admonishment not to try something – then it’s probably money in the bank to pay careful attention and follow her instructions.
All the way to the butcher’s and taxidermist’s shops, that is.