How to Deer Hunt in Staging Areas

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Are You Taking Advantage of These Locations?

(Realtree photo)

Deer hunting is a tough endeavor. Getting within bow range of a deer, especially one with some age on it, is no easy feat. They rarely move in daylight. And when they do, it’s often not far from their bed. But you can’t hunt there. That’s a one-way ticket to failure in most cases. The last thing you want is to put yourself on that whitetail’s radar. But there is one location that you might have a legitimate shot at tagging it — staging areas.

So what’s a staging area? Generally, it’s a location just outside the perimeter of a deer’s bedding area where it’s comfortable being in daylight. It’ll often hold up there and wait until the cover of darkness arrives to move further out into the open. These areas often have plenty of cover and at the very least a minor food and/or water source of some sort.

Staging areas are great for killing even the most reclusive deer. Odd, transitional spots that are situated between bedding areas and feeding destinations are solid locations to find deer in daylight. They might not be making it close to major food sources before legal shooting light ends. But chances are they’re at least traveling 100 to 150 yards (or a little more) from their bed during daylight hours. You just have to be set up in the right spot to capitalize on that movement.

The first step in hunting a staging area is to determine where the deer is bedding. Then, find a small pocket of cover nearby that also offers a viable food source, even if it’s small or less attractive than other nearby options. Older deer will feed in such location if it means they don’t have to break cover during the day.

It’s important to remember that staging areas need to be between bedding areas and feeding destinations for optimum success. Think of it in the terms of getting in that buck’s way. You want to cut that deer off before it gets to where it’s going.

When possible, focus on staging areas that also double as pinch-points, funnels, saddles and any other type of terrain that helps concentrate deer. This only increases the odds of success. And when it comes to deer hunting, we need every advantage we can get.

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