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Every year thousands of hunters and sportsmen across the state of Tennessee head off into the wilderness in search of a trophy deer. Taking a trophy whitetail takes a lot of skill and patience, not to mention a lot of luck. Tennessee's whitetail deer population is the largest it has ever been, thus making for some really great hunting.

Tennessee offers many great locations to hunt. There are many public hunting lands that allow you to hunt with a permit. Some of the best public lands are in middle Tennessee. These include Willamette, Graham properties, and Champion paper products. All three of these offer permits for one year, with prices ranging from $15.00 to $35.00. There is also a lot of private land that people will let you hunt on with permission. The woodlands of Tennessee offer excellent hunting spots for the avid hunter.

Hunters use many different techniques to try and better their chances to bag a trophy whitetail. There are so many different and new products on the market for hunting it is hard to choose the right one. I've hunted the whitetail deer for many years and here are a few of my tips.

1. Always scout the areas you plan to hunt three or four months before season. Check for frequently used paths and good thick cover; deer always hang close to thick vegetation for good hiding.

2. Make sure there is a good water supply nearby. Check for tracks and signs around the watering hole.

3. Try to find as many scrapes and rubs as possible. Deer usually use the same areas year after year and statistics show they usually check their rubs and scrapes at least every three days.

4. I usually hunt all day when I hunt. Most hunters hit the stand early and leave around nine or ten. After most hunters leave the woods this is when the deer move. They change their patterns, so this gives you the opportunity to bag a mature buck. I have killed more trophy bucks around noon than any other time.

5. When you scout an area try not to disturb the enviornment. The same goes for when you go to your area to hunt. Always go directly to your stand, this way you don't spread your scent around.

6. I always use a cover scent on my clothing. This helps, but none are really good enough to cover the entire scent.

7. A doe in heat scent always works well for me. I put it out in four or five locations about 25 yards from my stand.

8. Lots of people like to use a grunt call or rattling antlers. I don't like to use these methods very often. My experience with them is that they scare off a lot of good size bucks.

9. I recommend using a heavy caliber rifle for hunting the woods of Tennessee. There is a lot of thick brush and most shots are within 50 yards. You don't really need a rifle that's going to shoot 300 yards, because with a light load a twig is going to knock it off target. A .30.30 works well with a heavy grain bullet.

10. A good pair of binoculars is a must. Even with perfect vision it is hard to see the deer in such thick vegetation.

Maybe some of these tips will help you bag that big Tennessee buck. I think any serious hunter would be pleased with what the state has to offer. So load up your rifle and hunting gear and take a trip to track down a whitetail.