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Western vs. Eastern Whitetails: Hunting Differences

With a bowhunting career that has taken him from one side of the country to the other, Fred Eichler is passionate about bowhunting whitetails no matter if they hail from the timbered agricultural terrain back east or from the meandering river bottoms and foothills lying below the rugged spine of the Rocky Mountains

Western vs. Eastern Whitetails: Hunting Differences
Whitetails living in different regions of North America, such as this buck in the Midwest, must be hunted in different ways due to a diversity of habitat which causes changes in deer behavior. (Terry Owens photo)

In a bowhunting career that has taken him all over North America, Sportsman Channel hunting personality Fred Eichler has grown quite familiar with the annual autumn chase involving big-antler whitetails.

Sometimes that chase causes the Easton Bowhunting TV host to grab his Hoyt bow and load the truck up for a trek back east to the agricultural-rich states of the American Midwest in big buck hotspots like Illinois, Iowa and Kentucky.

At other times, Eichler will find his truck pointed south as he carries a quiver full of Easton arrows into the river bottoms and dense forests of the Deep South.

And sometimes, he'll find himself in the big-buck-rich mesquite trees and prickly-pear flats of the Lone Star State, sharpening up a Muzzy broadhead for a chance at a bona fide Muy Grande whitetail deep in the heart of Texas.

But given his druthers, Eichler prefers to chase whitetails closer to home in the western part of the country he is so comfortable and familiar with.

Even if those deer sometimes don't seem to resemble their Eastern cousins in terms of local habitat, daily movement and temperament.

"Yes, western whitetails are almost like a totally different species compared to what hunters face back east," said Eichler. "Out west, they're usually found following rivers and waterways (and such)."

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