A 'Driven' Game Plan for Whitetail

Pat Reeve shares his tips for ensuring your whitetail stand sites have as many 'drawing cards' as possible

A ‘Driven' Game Plan for Whitetail on a Time Budget
(Photo courtesy of "Driven")

THIS ARTICLE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Nikon

It’s easy to assume television hunters like Pat and Nicole Reeve of Driven have unlimited time to set stands and scout, but nothing could be further from the truth. By mid-August, their schedule is demanding enough that whatever whitetail work they haven’t finished is likely to go unfinished. Because of this, they’ve learned to develop a year-long whitetail plan that leans heavily on early pre-season work to alleviate the need to do anything other than a little granular fine-tuning once the season closes in.

Like all dedicated whitetail hunters, the husband-and-wife team never really stop once the season comes to a close. They transition right into shed hunting and the ever-important winter scouting. Pat credits winter and early spring walks with revealing a wealth of valuable clues about deer travel and potential stand sites. To put it bluntly he says, “We walk every inch of our deer ground during winter scouting sessions. Last season’s buck sign is still visible and much easier to spot thanks to the lack of foliage. I realize that nearly all bowhunters have busy lives, but any time you can carve out in the winter or early spring to just try to learn your deer property is time well spent.”

Drawing Cards

For Reeve, the clues deciphered during those early scouting sessions help him figure out where to set up stands and blinds, but he doesn’t stop there. “As soon as the snow melts we are thinking about how to build food plots and watering holes around potential stand sites, and even where to plant apple trees and other fruit-bearing trees. I call these things my ‘drawing cards,’ and every stand I hunt has several of them.”


Adding food and water into a location that bucks already want to travel is the key to consistent success, and it’s something that Reeves is serious about. He has built several waterholes on various properties, and is a student of food plots. If you’ve got the ground and the means, following his advice about sprucing up quality ambush spots with a leafy buffet and a source of H20 is a good idea, but what if you don’t?




Everyman Drawing Cards

It’s common amongst hunters who spend their fall on public land, or permission-granted private parcels, to not be able to alter their hunting ground. Those hunters can still benefit from spring scouting and summer planning and should always be thinking about drawing cards. For example, if you can find a spot where an oak-dotted ridge terminates at the corner of an alfalfa field, you’re doing well. Even better is if there is a small depression that collects rainwater runoff, which gives the deer three options for food and water. In other words, a place that you haven’t set up at all might still feature three drawing cards if you know what to look for.

Reeve also explains that the same hunter who is spending his time on someone else’s land can do a few other things to create extra drawing cards. He breaks down a prime example by saying, “If I can’t build food plots or dig ponds on a certain property, I’ll find an agricultural field I want to hunt and then create some licking branches, or if the landowner will allow it, a rubbing tree. Little things like that can simply increase your odds of getting a buck to commit to your treestand.”

Even with as many drawing cards around their stands as possible, both Pat and Nicole make it a point to remain truly observant every time they are on stand. The reason, Pat explains is simple, “Sometimes we’re wrong about how the deer are going to use our ground. We might think a food plot at the north end is perfect and that we’ll draw deer from the neighbors’ properties, yet we’ll observe the exact opposite and realize all of the deer using the plot are coming from our ground. The same goes for building ponds. Sometimes those water holes won’t produce buck sightings, and we need to fill them in and start over. It’s a constant process of observation and adaptation.”

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. It’s also necessary to not only try to grow a few mature bucks, but to consistently tag them. Whether you’re a landowner yourself or hunting ground through permission or public access, you can take the Reeves’ strategy to heart. It takes a lot of work to be successful in the deer woods, and it’s a process that never ends.


Of course, who would want it to?

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

Costa

Costa's Award Winning Waterwoman Sunglasses

Costa's Amanda Sabin tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead about all of the great features that made the new Waterwoman frame a big winner at the 2019 ICAST show as well as out on the water.

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the biggest pike come from Europe. Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

 A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest.

Although the art Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

See More Trending Articles

More Hunting How-To

Fall hunting isn't just for deer; it's prime for pork as well. Hogs

High Time for Hog Hunting

Terry Madwell - November 07, 2019

Fall hunting isn't just for deer; it's prime for pork as well.

Dog days of November in the Appalachians, where four-legged experts are eager to find and scatter flocks for you to call to the gun. Turkey

Bucket List: Fall Turkey Hunting of Your Life

Larry Case - November 25, 2019

Dog days of November in the Appalachians, where four-legged experts are eager to find and...

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the track. Whitetail

Aim True, Track Smart: Harvest Recovery

Wayne van Zwoll - December 26, 2019

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the...

For deer hunters, what you do just after the shot is as important as any part of the hunt. Whitetail

Field Skills: Closing the Deer Deal

Mark Chesnut - December 24, 2019

For deer hunters, what you do just after the shot is as important as any part of the hunt.

See More Hunting How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.