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Brent's Bass to Bucks Part VI

Time in the woods critical in learning how to pursue game

Brent's Bass to Bucks Part VI
Mason is following his footsteps, as Chapman professes that spending time in the woods is the only way to learn. (Courtesy Brent Chapman)

This is the sixth in a series of eight articles on Bassmaster Elite Series angler Brent Chapman’s best bow hunting tips

Click here for Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

The one thing every deer hunter and fisherman would agree as equally useful in the woods or the waters would have to be the value of time spent in each.

Those who are good on the water or in the woods got that way by spending hours, days and so on in the environment they love. Good hunters and good fishermen spend a lot time working on learning everything possible about their prey.

In this installment, Brent Chapman, a top Bassmaster Elite professional and a successful bowhunter, explains how these two sports are equally tied together when it comes to learning.

Click the image to see photos of Brent’s Bass to Bucks
Brent’s Bass to Bucks

“You have to know that every time you are in the woods, just like every time on the water, you’re learning something,’’ Chapman said. “When I learned fishing, I would read a Bassmaster magazine and Jimmy Houston would talk about throwing this spinnerbait or Denny Brauer would talk about flipping a jig this way, I’d go out and I'd learn what worked for me and how to fish it properly. I came up with my own style and it’s the same thing in hunting.

“Every time I'm out there I'm learning something and I may be learning from a mistake. I may go hunt a new stand and try to access it from this way or try to hunt it under this wind and in the end it doesn’t work.

“We’ve got a stand at my dad’s farm my buddy stumbled onto. I gave him a hard time about it when he set it up because just everything about it broke the rules. You cannot hunt down in this area because the wind will swirl. It’ll just ruin it. But we found that you could hunt it on a southwest wind. We figure what happens is the wind pushes through this draw and hits these cedar trees and pushes it straight up because you never get wind in that tree.

“On another spot we had a stand that we would try to access. We would take the draws that would go through the creeks in the morning. The deer were supposedly out in the field and this was a field that we would hunt. We would try to access it from the creeks because that’s what the books say to do.

“We’d sneak in there and every time we would spook deer out of these creeks, get winded in the morning and snorted at and all that. This place is impossible to hunt. Finally my buddy he’s like, ‘You know what? Screw it. I'm just going to walk across the field in the morning.’

That’s our new way of accessing this place. Everything that the books say is the wrong way to hunt that stand. It actually worked great. We’d see a lot more deer. For some reason, the way this field lays out they’re not in it very much in the dark. As soon as it gets light they’ll come out to it.

“It’s almost like they stay in the timber and then as soon as it gets light they come out, which seems the opposite of the way it should be. We had to learn it the hard way but now it’s made a big difference.“I know you hear it all the time in the fishing world: We tend to break our own rules at times. Or bend them as much as possible.”

One rule Chapman always follows is how he watches deer. It’s a rule born from spending a lot of time on the stand, with deer close by.

“I never make eye contact with deer,’’ Chapman said. “It’s unreal how deer can sense you staring at them. I think we all kind of have had that sense before where you feel like somebody is staring at you or looking at you.

“I truly believe that deer, especially if they look toward you or at you. I'm always trying to watch deer out of the corner of my eye. If they look my direction I'm always shutting my eyes or definitely looking in a different direction just trying to watch them out of the corner of my eye. I've done it where you do the stare down with them and they end up, I think, sensing that, or who knows, they may just see the white of your eyes or see you blink and that’s enough to send them running.”

Next: Chapman talks about tricks and gimmicks.

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