Understanding The Chase Phase: Part 2

Once you’ve identified the timeframe of The Chase Phase for whitetails in your area — about one week before the peak breeding period — you will need to know some hunting tactics to take advantage of this time.

Gary Clancy

Again, the chase phase is one of my favorite times to be in the woods. If you are in decent whitetail country, seeing deer is almost a sure thing, but that’s the easy part. Setting up so that one of those bucks saunters by within bow range is the frustrating part of hunting the chase phase. Whitetail deer are unpredictable critters most of the time anyway, but when you’ve got a bunch of sex-crazed bucks chasing unwilling, frightened does around, the unpredictability factor skyrockets. I don’t have any sure cures, but here are some of the things that have worked for me.

1. Use A Doe Decoy
I do a lot of hunting over decoys and usually I prefer a buck decoy, but during the chase phase, because bucks tend to rush up to every doe they see, I’ve found that a doe decoy or two draws more attention than a buck decoy. Be sure the doe decoy is easily visible. Field edges, clear-cuts, logging roads, natural woodland openings and tree-studded pastures are all good bets. The more directions from which a buck can spot the decoy and the greater the distance, the more bucks your decoy attract.

2. Use A Good Doe-In-Estrous Urine
I’ve had excellent results with Mrs. Doe Pee’s Fresh Doe In Estrous urine. Don’t put it right on the decoy, however. If you do, the odor will get on your clothing when you handle the decoy and you don’t want to be smelling like a doe-in-heat and drawing attention to yourself.

I like to jab a stick in the ground at the rear of the decoy and place a cottonball or scent wick saturated with scent on a stick. Some guys just pour the scent on the ground, but I think the cottonball or wick holds the scent longer. You don’t need the urine to attract the buck to the decoy, but the urine will hold the buck’s attention for a long time and allow you to get the perfect angle for the shot.

3. Hunt Funnels
That’s worn advice I know, but it is still valid. A buck may wander through the funnel in his search for does or a harassed doe may pull a buck through the funnel behind her. Either way, you are a winner.

4. Hunt Food Sources
If you know where the does are doing most of their feeding, that is the place to be when the chase phase is in progress. The bucks know these places, too, and although they could care less about eating, they will cruise through these whitetail cafeterias hoping to catch a doe or two chowing down. This is a great place for a decoy, too.

5. Do A Lot Of Calling And Rattling
Right now is prime time to grunt in or rattle up a buck. The bucks are going bonkers and it does not take much to convince them that they are missing out on some hot action when they hear what they think is another buck giving the tending grunt or two bucks fighting.

6. If You Can, Hunt All Day
Sure the action is most intense morning and evening, but bucks are cruising for does all day long during this period. If you are going to take a break, do it between about 1:30 and an hour before sunset. In my experience this is the period of least movement. I suppose the deer have to rest sometime, even during the chase phase.

For a fine selection of Big Game Hunting gear, click here.

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.