10 Turkey Hunting Tactics That Work for Deer Hunting

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Have You Tried Any of These Tactics?

I guess you could say that I’m primarily a deer hunter. But I love to chase those turkeys, too. It’s part of who I am as a hunter. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons in the turkey woods that contributed to my deer hunting efforts. A lot of the tips and tactics we use as turkey hunters, also work for deer hunting. Here are 10 of them to consider when you head back to the deer stand this coming fall.

Hunt Mid-Day

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1 | Hunt Mid-Day

Those mid-morning and mid-day gobblers lose their hens. And while whitetails don’t court the same way as turkeys, it is true that bucks are pretty active during the middle portions of the day — especially during the rut.

Bonus read: The Best Times to Kill Monster Bucks

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Call to the Ladies

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2 | Call to the Ladies

Think you can’t call does in? Think again. I’ve done it. So have many others. Hens aren’t the only big-game species that you can call in with female vocalizations. Call in a slickhead this fall with doe or fawn bleats.

Bonus read: How to Call in a Deer

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Call to the Males

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3 | Call to the Males

I’ve grunted and rattled in many bucks. Doe bleats have worked, too. A lot of people think deer aren’t very vocal. In some instances, that can be true, especially in open and pressured areas. But deer are very vocal in areas with less hunting pressure, lots of cover and balanced sex ratios. Try calling more this coming deer season if it fits the location(s) you hunt.

Bonus read: 8 Whitetail Vocalizations You Should Know

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Roost a Buck

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4 | Roost a Buck

It was one spring morning — and relatively slow action-wise — in the turkey woods when I started thinking about similarities and differences between deer hunting and turkey hunting. Then it hit me. Why aren’t people “roosting” bucks more often? Granted, I’m sure there are and I’m certainly not the first to think of this. But you rarely — if ever — hear hunters talk about the concept. All you have to do is get a good vantage point and watch as bucks go back to bed early of a morning. And if they’re going back to bed before daylight, use trail cameras to do it for you instead.

Bonus read: How to Roost a Buck

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Get in Tight on the "Roost"

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5 | Get in Tight on the "Roost"

If you know where a big buck is bedded up at, get as tight in on it as you can without spooking it and ambush that deer on an afternoon hunt this fall. Stay downwind of the deer and be ready. It's a deadly tactic.

Bonus read: 8 Bedding Habits of Mature Deer

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Run and Gun

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6 | Run and Gun

The running and gunning tactic isn’t just for turkeys and elk. It’s for whitetails, too. That said, it’s more walking and creeping than running and gunning. But the concept is the same. Still-hunt through pockets of cover that hold deer. Keep the wind in your face. Fill that deer tag this fall.

Bonus read: Bowhunting Whitetails from the Ground

Photo credit: Brad Herndon

Use the Decoy

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7 | Use the Decoy

Decoys are great for deer hunting. I think — and I’m guilty of this too — that they’re extremely underutilized for hunting whitetails. Change that this fall. I’m going to.

Bonus read: How to Decoy a Buck

Photo credit: Russell Graves

Crawl Behind a Decoy

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8 | Crawl Behind a Decoy

Reaping isn’t just for turkeys. You can use the same concept to hunt whitetails, too. All you have to do is keep the wind in your face and hope for the best. However, don’t use this tactic on public land, during gun seasons, or in areas where other people have permission to hunt. Make sure you’re out in the open when you use it, too.

Bonus read: How to Use a Deer Decoy

Photo credit: Josh Honeycutt

Hunt More Urban Areas

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9 | Hunt More Urban Areas

This might not be your typical urban scene. But you get the picture. Turkeys and whitetails aren’t stupid. They’re learning they can inhabit more urban areas and avoid getting shot at by hunters. That said, not all, but many cities and townships allow bowhunting. Check your state and local regulations. Then start knocking on doors.

Bonus read: All About Urban Bowhunting

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Hunt in the Rain

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Image 10 of 10

10 | Hunt in the Rain

Turkeys and deer sometimes move during the rain. But they really move right after one. Being in the woods during such a time is a great way to tag both a spring turkey and fall whitetail.

Bonus read: Deer Hunting in the Rain

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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