Prairie Whitetails

There’s an area of habitat in the central part of our country that is referred to as the “tallgrass prairie.” Often viewed as “non-traditional” deer habitat because of its lack of cover, this section of land is home to some of the largest antlered bucks harvested anywhere. Certainly, “normal” bowhunting approaches must be modified for success in this “wide open” habitat.

Eddie Claypool with trophy buckEddie Claypool

It has been my experience that mature bucks spend most of their time out on the open prairie, coming to the timbered waterways primarily at night, during the rut. Thus, it usually isn’t best to attempt to hunt these primary drainages where most of the “hot” sign is concentrated. I try to place my stands toward the upper ends of draws that feed into these main drainage’s, especially if these feeder draws serve as “crossover” points between major drainage’s. Such locations allow repeated, long-term hunting because they provide “low-impact” access and predictable and/or manageable winds.

Bowhunting mature prairie bucks is a long shot, requiring great patience and confidence. Speaking from experience, however, I can assure you that the rewards can be well worth the wait!

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Eddie Claypool provides weekly tips on bowhunting, with an emphasis on whitetails. Over the past dozen years, Claypool has harvested 23 Pope & Young recordbook whitetails. Six of the deer were taken on public ground, with the rest coming from private ground that he accessed through knocking on doors. He has not been guided on a hunt, or hunted on managed properties. He also has hunted many other species of game including elk and mule deer.

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