Landon Morgan’s First Deer

Youth Hunting Success | Landon Morgan’s First Deer Hunt

Isn’t it amazing how fast the years can pass by, especially when you’ve got kids at home? Add in work and a little play, and the years just seem to keep rolling by faster. But they say time flies when you’re having fun, so we must be having a lot of it. I sure had a lot of fun this week. It’s the beginning of the Pennsylvania deer hunting season, and our little man went on one of his first youth hunts this week. That is a time (as hunting parents) that you wait for from the day you find out you’re having a kid. Well, it finally happened, and we couldn’t be more excited for him. Here’s how his first youth hunt all unfolded.

As mentioned, we have been waiting for Landon to go on his first youth hunts for years now. At six years old, he is only able to hunt with an adult (a hunting mentor) right now in Pennsylvania. But he’s been practicing a lot with his Mission® crossbow and we were confident in his shooting abilities, so we felt like it was a good time for his first time hunting. That doesn’t mean we weren’t nervous about it – there’s a lot that could go wrong in any hunt, but especially with youth hunts. Even though we would be right there with him the whole time, there’s always that fear that he might not enjoy it or he might miss or wound a deer. Luckily, our situation didn’t play out that way, as you’ll see below. We were all able to go out and hunt for his first time as a family, which is a really amazing experience we were blessed to have.

For his first youth hunts, we set up one of our Ameristep® hunting blinds on a food plot behind the houseThe deer had been using it pretty steadily and the deer movement on our farm was consistent. We just hoped that one would come in and give Landon a chance to shoot one. Unfortunately, his first deer hunt didn’t come together that first night with all of us in the blind. I sat with Landon for another mentored deer hunt this week, and things went a little more according to plan. A nice doe came into range and Landon sat on my lap to get his crossbow ready. Check out the video below to see what absolute joy and excitement should look like in a child.

Of all the trophies, of all the big animals we’ve been blessed to take over our lives, nothing has ever meant so much to us as watching our little guy shoot his first deer. And from the way he reacted after the shot and walking up to the doe, it’s safe to say he was pretty excited by his first youth hunts. God is so good and we believe our little boy just fell in love with deer hunting. As hunting parents, there’s really not much that can top that feeling.

Levi Morgan’s Aggressive Whitetail Hunting Tactics

Bow Hunting Tactics | Aggressive Whitetail Hunting

I love the entire whitetail hunting process. From sitting in the deer stand to the never-ending battle searching for that mature buck, whitetail hunting has been at the forefront of my archery career. This passion has led me on hunts from Ohio to Oklahoma, Pennsylvania to Kansas, and throughout the whitetail’s range. However, this type of fast-paced hunting doesn’t come without its challenges. Participating in this type of run and gun” style hunting in several states requires a special type of aggression. When I show up to a new property or hunting lease, it often means I only have seven days to hunt. That’s only seven days to scout, plan, and execute a strategy. That doesn’t leave time for error. That is why I have to get aggressive with my bow hunting tactics.

Aggressive Tactics V.S. Season Long Tactics

The tactics for a quick hunt differs significantly from year-long investments you might make on your personal hunting property. With these quick hunts, you don’t have time to sit back and plan over the course of the off-season. You can’t be patient to the point of planning for weeks and wait for the right conditions to go hunt a particular buck. This means making mistakes is quite easy but disastrous once they are made. Being aggressive is important, but being too aggressive can push a deer off of the property. This deer may not return for weeks, a sudden end to a limited hunt.

Therefore, although I’ve found success going hard after these deer, I’ve also found the need to be patient and smart. Just like any whitetail hunt, you are going to have to find time to prepare and scout, while being able to capitalize on any opportunity you can.
When planning, keep in mind that every whitetail hunt is different. Factors such as weather, wind, time of year, food sources, and property details can dictate how to run an aggressive hunt. However, there are a few core principles that can always improve the odds of success in the field. These include:
  • Relying on your cameras
  • Observing information before acting
  • Being smart about access points
  • Choosing the right times to be aggressive

We smoked the oldest deer on the farm here in Illinois! He was a shooter 4 years ago and we’ve never gotten a daylight picture or seen this deer since! At 1:30 yesterday we saw him slipping through the thick stuff! Hit him with a grunt….he started ripping a tree apart! One snort wheeze later he walked a straight line to our tree and the big 7″ is dead … he has been a ghost and I really can’t believe it!

Utilize Cameras

When jumping from property to property, especially in different states, rely on your cameras to do the scouting for you. This is obvious to most hunters but it seems like the finer details to successful camera scouting can evade most hunters. When you reach a property, be sure to grab the cards, analyze your property’s history, and start determining what activity is happening where. This will be your best resource when analyzing deer quality, activity times, and locations. Writing detailed notes and mapping out these activities can reveal patterns to capitalize on.
Preparation is key! Put in the time, work on yourself, use the best equipment, and know and understand your equipment! That is the recipe for success in this game! Happy hunting everybody!
However, when doing this, it’s important to not be careless. Putting too much pressure on a core area once it’s identified can push your deer out of the area altogether. So how can you avoid this? By setting up your camera in easily accessible areas. Ideally, these are areas where you can pull your cards in the middle of the day. This helps you become as least intrusive as possible, but also lets you pick up on patterns in easy to hunt areas!
Therefore, a good place to start is on food. By setting your camera up over food, you’re able to get an inventory of how many deer are feeding, where they’re filtering into the field, and when they start to leave/enter. This also keeps excessive pressure away from core areas.
In addition, being able to access your cameras with a vehicle, rather than by foot, is also beneficial. Deer tend to relate humans to danger more than they do with vehicles. Therefore, being able to access your cameras by vehicle can present a large advantage or collecting cards by foot.
That’s why I often hunt the edges of a field and avoid bedding areas as much as possible. This helps keep the deer on the property rather than pushing them off immediately. Deer that get booted may not return to the same area for over a week or two (or even permanently). The goal is to keep the deer as comfortable and avoid letting him know you’re there.
If you do choose to set up a camera in a bedding area, be careful how often (if at all) you check it during the hunt. By limiting commotion in the bedding areas, you‘re increasing the odds of keeping your deer on the property.

Setup Observation Stands

If the cameras don’t show any promise, be sure to set up observation stands. My goal with hunting observation stands is in an effort to cover as much ground as possible. This means being able to see far. Don’t be afraid to put your time in scouting, despite how tough it may seem (especially with only seven days to execute).
Once you have a deer dialed in, make sure to put in the time you can and move when the weather and conditions are right (as right as they can be for a seven day period that is).

Watch Where You Access

You must also be careful of where you access your property. Keep in mind that bucks will pattern you just as much as you pattern them. Therefore, accessing the property without getting noticed is key to limiting pressure and having a successful hunt.
This also means using vehicles when possible (rather than walking) and avoiding critical areas as much as possible. There have been times when I’ve sat in a stand at night waiting for over an hour for a vehicle ride. This is to avoid pressuring the deer off the property when leaving.

Choose the Right Times

It’s important to choose the right time to go in after a buck. Choosing the right time means being aware of the weather and the time of year. Throughout my hunts, I’ve found sunny, high-pressure days to be the most successful. One of the biggest weather variables to monitor is wind. Make sure to play the wind like you would any other hunt. Try to execute when it looks like it’s going to be as right as it can be.
In 7 days it’s hard to be picky, but if I can I will be smart about when I go in. If I know of a buck’s core area, I may only hunt the outskirts for the majority of the trip, going into the area on the best day only to improve my odds.

Putting it Together

Short whitetail trips require a different level of preparation and aggression than home-based hunting. While the principles and information are the same as bow hunting tactics we follow throughout the season on a property at home, the level needs to be taken to the next level on a hunting trip. There is no break to let the property, the deer, or a tree stand rest. Each move has to be calculated and optimized for the highest likelihood of success.
Keeping it simple by avoiding over-pressuring deer, choosing non-intrusive access points, relying on your cameras for scouting, and making the move when it’s smart to do so. It’s also good to have stands in place early in the year. Cameras should be out year around and you should be keeping a history of the activity and patterns on the property if possible. This might mean trips in the off-season, or a local contact doing some of the work for you.
Aggressive whitetail tactics are often needed for bow hunting, but especially required for out of state trips. Speeding up the normal process of season long scouting, planning, and executing in just a few short days is an aggressive tactic in itself. The added tactic of moving into a core area quickly can be considered overly intrusive, but might be the only way to harvest a buck in 7 days!

Tips for Late Season Bow Hunting

Late Season Bow Hunting Tips

 The dream of November bow hunting has come and gone.  The craze of the rut and its pull on big mature bucks has passed.  If you’re a bow hunter with a tag still in your pocket the late season could be your chance at redemption. The tactics and techniques you have used thus far for fall will not work, so you will have to reevaluate and adjust your hunting specifically for the late season.   Here are some bow hunting tips and tactics to help you get within bow range of a late season mature whitetail and salvage your season!


The Best Hunting Is On Its Way!

Whatever the reason, the simple problem is that you weren’t able to fill your tag this fall.  We’ve all been there! The excuses or legitimate reasons can range from not enough time off from work or family to the more absurd like…”the rut never happened”. Whichever excuse you choose, go ahead and let the blame rest on your shoulders. Use the frustration to your advantage and fuel your drive to grab success during the final weeks of deer season.


The late season is the perfect opportunity for redemption. Why? There are several reasons: 

  • Overpressured bucks might be seeking refuge on your property 
  • Cold temperatures can force deer to more vulnerable patterns centered around food 
  • Fresh snow can create ideal opportunities for in-season scouting 
  • Funneling deer for shot opportunities or intel through trail cameras is easy to do with the help of food or cover 
  • Late season cold fronts are easy to identify and hunt around 


These are just some of the reasons the late season can be one of the best times to harvest a mature buck with a bow. Now you just need to know how to capitalize!

Start Fresh

First things first, it’s time to get a picture of what’s out there…literally!  If you’ve slacked off of your game camera routine throughout the rut it’s time to pick it back up.  Knowing what deer are in your area, when they are moving, and where they are moving to is key to success in late season bow hunting.  Start out with a quick and low-pressure scouting trip. Identify fresh sign, bedding areas, and major traffic areas centered on food and cover.  Bring your cameras with some fresh memory cards and batteries.  


Top Late Season Trail Camera Locations 

  •  Funnels and pinch points– where deer enter and exit food sources.  Setup cameras keeping prevailing winds, entry, and exit routes in mind so you can check batteries and memory cards without busting deer. 
  •  Water sources – can be critical in late season.  Locating a deer herd’s water source in frozen or dry winter climates is a great find.  It’s likely that few open water sources are available in sub-freezing temperatures. Hunters who can provide open water may find it as effective as any food plot.  Set cameras up to see who is coming and going at the watering hole. 
  •  Transition areas – from bedding to food sources are critical this time of year.  Calories are paramount in the cold and for recovering from the rut.  Deer are looking to conserve as many calories as possible, so locating a suitable bedding area near a quality food source can be a golden opportunity for any bow hunter. Putting a camera on a trail between bedding and feed is a great way to pattern a mature buck using the area.  If you don’t get the consistent pictures you are hoping for, don’t be afraid to move your camera until you find the deer’s travel corridor.


It’s important that you understand that some of the mature bucks in your core group may have been harvested by other hunters. It is also likely that some bucks may be busted up with broken racks from the rut. However, you will also start noticing new deer you have never before. They may have moved into your area pressured by other hunters or just need to recover from the rut.  It may seem like a waste of time this late in the game, but identifying the deer you will be hunting in late season is a great tactic. When you are running and checking your game cameras keep in mind you are hunting late season deer that have been pressured.  Hunt your cameras when you check them like you are hunting deer, wear scentfree boots and use the wind.  It’s better to skip a day or even a week without checking your camera than to blow deer out of your hunting area due to scouting under poor conditions.

Understanding Late Season Wary Bucks

Next, late season and the cold winter months of the post-rut mean one thing to a battle-worn bruiser buck…survival.  Bucks have spent literally weeks neglecting their body and burning calories trying to get a chance to breed as many does as possible.  Now that the rut is over and the temperature is dropping those bucks need quality calories to make it through the winter until the spring green up.



The acorns and standing crops the deer were feasting on in October and November are drying up quickly. For this reason, it is critical to identify the late season food source in your area. Some of these food sources may include: 

  • Winter wheat or cereal rye cover crop 
  • Recently or late cut corn fields 
  • Brassica cover crop or food plots 
  • Oak flats in a bumper year 
  • Standing crops (beans or corn)  

Spend some time behind a pair of binoculars and figure out where the deer are feeding and where the deer are bedding instead of limiting yourself to one stand location. If you can locate bedding cover near a quality food source, hopefully your scouting and some game camera pictures will confirm a quality buck in the area!


The bedding area deer are using during the day near the food source is key when hunting late season bucks.  Hunting a bedding area is always tricky, you must consider the deer’s travel patterns, the wind, and your entrance and exit routes to and from the stand.  It can pay to be aggressive when you are moving in on a known buck on your hit list, but be careful not to blow the deer out of your late season hunting area.  These deer have been pressured for a while now and the wrong move or the wrong wind may send them packing.  If busted, they might travel well beyond the nearby area without looking back, and settle into a new core area.  Don’t overlook a small patch of cover, brush, or tall grass that receives sun as a bedding area. This is especially true for any southern oriented topography.  

Bow Hunting Tips for Staying Deadly in the Cold 

Late season bow hunting has its own challenges and will require you to adapt your early season tactics.  Cold northern winds blowing frigid air and freezing temperatures make it tough on hunters, but those same conditions make deer get up to feed.  Layering warm clothing during late season bow hunting is an important part of your cold weather arsenal.  Loading your hunting pack with various fleece, wool, and shell garments to stay warm and comfortable will allow you the flexibility to stay on the hunt longer.


Keep in mind that heavy activity like walking through snow or climbing elevation can cause you to work up a sweat even in frigid conditions.  Be sure to use clothing layering to keep from sweating only to freeze as soon as you get on stand.  Chemical hand warmers can go a long way to keep you comfortable in the cold as well.  A hand warmer in the toe of your boots, in your jacket pockets and inside a layered vest can make the difference between an enjoyable late season bow hunt and misery. 

Moving to the Ground 

The conditions and environment of late season bow hunting can provide great opportunities when hunting from the ground.  The leaves are off the trees and cover in a tree stand becomes tricky in late season.  The deer are spending more of their time in winter feed fields and places to hang a tree stand may be hard to find.

When bow hunting late season whitetails, a ground blind in winter feed can be a great way to lay in wait for a buck.  Tucking a blind along the end of a row of hay bales, or in a depression of a weedy terrace provides an ambush point that tree stand hunting cannot.  Utilizing a lightweight, quick setup popup blind can also help you to be more mobile and access bedding edges when the wind is right.  Don’t overlook moving your hunting to the ground in late season.   

Keep Hunting!  

One of the biggest obstacles to late season hunting is getting in the field.  The days are short, and the challenges of hunting pressured deer in cold temperatures are real.  Chasing late season bucks can be emotionally tasking.  Be prepared to overcome some challenges and for some fantastic encounters. These late season bow hunting tips can help you capitalize on a great time to be in the deer woods!