In our national survey, 70 whitetail experts dish the truth on top tactics, great gear, gimmicks, and big-buck B.S. Plus, three of the country’s best and most outspoken pros share bold opinions and their deadliest early-season ambushes.
Part One: Gear
When it comes to deer hunting equipment, these guys have either used it or seen it used—and can tell you what works, how to use it, what to leave home, and what to never buy in the first place.
Part Two: Behavior
An outfitter sees more deer behavior in a season than many hunters do in a decade. Here’s what they know about big bucks that the rest of us only guess about.
Part Three: Tactics
You don’t stay a deer guide for long without knowing how to get the drop on big deer, again and again. Here, our experts share their top tips and early-season strategies—and weigh in on what you’re doing wrong.
Article written with help from Will Brantley, Adrienne Donica, Josh Honeycutt, and Dave Hurteau. Guide photographs by Michael Sugrue. The guides: Joe Gizdic (lead photo; left) has been putting clients on Illinois trophies for 19 years; Tom Indrebo has guided Wisconsin’s famed Buffalo County for 23 year; Ted Marum has two decades’ guiding in Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin.