John’s Note: Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, has guided for deer and turkeys for almost 3 decades at Bent Creek Lodge in Jachin, Ala. He’s been deer hunting for more than 40 years and is on several outdoor pro staffs. This week he’ll tell us how to find big bucks where no one is looking for them.
I have a friend I hunt with in Alabama, where I live, with 2,500 acres of family-owned property. When we’d leave his house to go hunting, the road that passed by his house went to a little church where on the left was a small patch of woods with a lot of privet hedge, red oaks and pin oaks. A pasture was on the other side of about a 25-acre woodlot. A house sat on the other side of this little spot. Every time we went down that church road we’d see deer. I told my friend, “You have to hunt that little patch of woods by the church road.” My friend said, “I’m not going to hunt that woodlot. I’d feel like an idiot, if I was sitting in my tree stand looking at my backyard.” Finally my friend asked, “Why don’t you hunt there?” I said, “Okay, I think I will.” My friend told me, “You’re not going to see a buck. There’s too much noise and too many people close to these woods. I think you’re wasting your time.”
But I decided to hunt this little 25 acres in the morning, because that’s when we had seen deer coming out of that woodlot. The first time I hunted that spot I saw several deer within bow range, however, I was hunting in October and November. Most of Alabama’s rut wouldn’t begin until January.
The second time I hunted this spot I took a doe. I wasn’t discouraged about hunting there, because I’ve learned that during the rut bucks will go to the places where the does always hang out. Every time my buddy and I went hunting, I’d tell him, “Look, I’ve got a lock-on tree stand in that little spot. You need to hunt that place.” He’d say, “You’re an idiot. I’m not going to hunt there.” However, I told him, “From your house, you can be in that stand in 3 minutes. You can hunt it anytime.” Again he shook his head and said, “There’s no way I’ll hunt that stand.”
On December 30th one year, I went to that spot behind the house and took a 5-1/2-year-old 7-point buck that would score about 114 points with my bow. Although not a monster buck, for me, he was a trophy. I knew that any buck that had survived for 5-1/2-years in Alabama had been hunted hard from October 15th until January 31 each season and had to be a smart old buck. I feel like anytime I can take a buck that old that has survived that long, especially with my bow, I’ve taken a real trophy. When I showed my buddy the buck, he was excited for me. But his parting words were, “I still can’t hunt that stand.”
I’d only hunted that spot for 7 mornings during that season. I took a doe the second morning I hunted it and then took this old buck on the seventh morning I hunted it. Since then, I’ve started looking for places where no one in his right mind will deer hunt – little bitty spots where a bowhunter even may be embarrassed to hang his deer stand.
To get John E. Phillips’ eBooks and print books on hunting deer, including his newest deer-hunting book, “Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big Bucks,” available at http://amzn.to/2bYwYOK/, and you can click on these books to learn more, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings.” Or, go to www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer. You also can find John’s books on Nook at www.barnesandnoble.com.
For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.