10 Tips for Deer Hunting in Big CRP Fields

Do You Already Do These Things?

Start by Hunting from Observation StandsHang Your Treestands Extra HighLook for Lone or Islands of TreesFind the Densest CRPHunt the Edge CoverCheck Both Low and High SpotsDon’t Overlook Old Buildings and Ag Structures Find the Nearby Food and Water SourcesWatch the Downwind Sides for Cruising BucksPinpoint Funnels and Pinch-Points

1 | Start by Hunting from Observation Stands

CRP is oftentimes pretty massive with large contiguous acreages. Figuring out such spots can prove challenging. That’s why all CRP hunts should begin with scouting and observation sits. Find a spot that offers a clear vantage point of the most land possible and see what happens. Make mental notes of where you see deer and mark them as potential stand sites.

Photo Credit: Brad Herndon

2 | Hang Your Treestands Extra High

Depending on the type of native grass and the age of it, CRP can make it difficult to spot deer. And it can really make it hard to get a shot opportunity when they’re wading through neck-high grass. My treestands along and within CRP fields are an average of 10 feet higher than in other terrain types. But always remember to wear your safety harness, use a safety line, and stay attached from the time you leave the ground until you reach the ground again.

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Photo Credit: Brad Herndon

3 | Look for Lone or Islands of Trees

Whitetails seem to gravitate to both lone and islands of trees. Why? I’m not sure. But they do. And these are common within large CRP fields. If you have them where you are, keep them in mind. They could be potential hotspots to focus on.

Photo Credit: Brad Herndon

4 | Find the Densest CRP

The taller and thicker the CRP, the more likely deer will be there. Focus on those areas with better cover and see more deer. It’s not uncommon for the more mature bucks to take the best bedding cover. So, expect them to be there.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / William T. Smith

5 | Hunt the Edge Cover

Find those spots where the CRP butts up to other habitat types such as hardwoods, cedars, ag fields, etc. Deer love edge cover. They are considered edge animals, after all. Focus on such locations to increase the number of deer you see from the stand.

Photo Credit: Brad Herndon


6 | Check Both Low and High Spots

Spots with changes in topography within CRP fields are deer magnets. Find the low and high spots in these expansive stretches of native grasses and potentially land yourself in a deer bedding mecca.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Warren Metcalf

7 | Don’t Overlook Old Buildings and Ag Structures

Solitary items within CRP fields — seeing the trend? Deer are OCD about hanging around them (I guess), or something. But I frequently see a lot of deer following this trend. Find deer doing such and it can be productive to hunt in these areas.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Rob Thorley

8 | Find the Nearby Food and Water Sources

This is obvious, but find the food and water. Which, believe it or not, can sometimes prove difficult in areas with vast amounts of CRP. Think both agricultural and natural food sources. Better yet, plant food plots in areas where food sources are limited.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Paul Winterman

9 | Watch the Downwind Sides for Cruising Bucks

Bucks love to cruise the downwind sides of CRP fields during the rut. It’s the same mindset as buck’s cruising the downwind side of doe bedding areas. Hang a stand in those areas to put yourself in position to get a shot at a passing buck.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Paul Tessier

10 | Pinpoint Funnels and Pinch-Points

Ah. We finally arrive at the common rut theme so frequently talked about. Well, there’s a reason for it. And if you don’t identify and focus on funnels and pinch-points, you’re missing out. Hunt on the downwind sides of them and experience more success this season.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock / William T. Smith

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