John’s Note: We all understand that bagging big bucks isn’t easy or else every hunter would take one each season. To bag a really-big buck this hunting season, you’ll have to disarm the buck by defeating his senses of sight, smell and hearing, or you’ll have to get lucky. When I take all the precautions to defeat the buck’s defense mechanisms, I’m much luckier than when I don’t.
A big buck’s keen ability to detect danger has enabled him to elude even the wisest woodsmen who’ve hunted him. However, if you know how to disarm a buck’s senses, you drastically can increase your odds for bagging that buck. Let’s look at the strategies required to take a trophy buck.
Often you may get too close to a trophy buck when you try to bag him, and then more likely, the buck will see, smell or hear you. The further you remain from a buck, the greater your opportunity of bagging him without him detecting you. Like an artillery gunner, you’ll find your best battle plan to defeat the buck is from long range rather than allowing him to get in close where his senses will defeat you. In the Gulf War in the 1990s, the United States troops won quickly and efficiently because of their air superiority and ability to take shots at the enemy before the enemy could see or hear them coming. When you hunt from long range, you too will have a better chance of defeating the buck’s defense system.
Hunters usually move far enough from a trophy buck to take him in one of two ways. They either get high or get back. Bowhunters pride themselves on how close they can come to deer before they take them. Generally a bowhunter has an effective range of 30 yards or less. But most bowhunters bag their bucks with their bows at 20 yards or less. One bowhunter told me, “The further I can stay away from the deer, the better my odds are for taking the deer. I can hit a tennis ball at 30 yards with my bow. So, when I choose a tree stand site, I try to pick a stand that will put me 25 to 30 yards away from the deer.
“I’ve also learned that the higher I go in the tree, the less likely the buck is to see, hear or smell me. If I can climb 30-40 feet up a tree and still have plenty of back cover to keep the deer from seeing me through the understory, then I want to go at least that high. I’ve moved on my stand, whispered, stood up and made noise before that would have spooked a buck if I’d been lower and closer to the deer. But I’ve found that by hunting high, even if a deer looks up, most of the time he won’t spot me. If I make noise, generally he won’t hear me. I also believe that being high in a tree helps my scent flow over the top of a deer, although the wind may change when a buck is coming toward me. I’ve enjoyed many more advantages to hunting high than I have to hunting low.”
This avid outdoorsman quickly emphasized that most hunters didn’t climb high in the tree because they feared heights. “No hunter should climb without putting on a safety harness as soon as he starts climbing his tree stand and move that harness up the tree as he climbs. “Also practice shooting when high. You’ll build your confidence and also your comfort and confidence level at those heights.”
David Hale, co-founder of Knight and Hale Game Calls (http://www.knightandhale.com/), also believes in hunting high when gun hunting, “Especially when you have to hunt with a bad wind. Everyone knows you shouldn’t hunt with the wind at your back. However, in some situations, if you don’t hunt with the wind at your back, you won’t bag a buck. When I find myself caught in one of those predicaments, I use all the odor-killing agents I have and climb as high as I can in a tree stand. I want to be as far away from the buck as I can shoot accurately. We don’t know exactly how a deer smells human odor. But I’m convinced the wind either may carry my odor above the deer, or my odor will dissipate so much by the time the deer smells it, he won’t be able to tell where I am, if I’m high and well away from the buck.”
Hale mentions he not only climbs high but also remains as far away from the place where he expects the deer to come as he can shoot accurately. A good marksman with a quality pair of binoculars and a riflescope can take a stand 100 yards or more away from where he anticipates the buck will appear. Many times terrain and cover won’t permit you to go a great distance away from the place where you think you’ll locate the trophy buck. However, if you’ll consciously stay as far away as possible from the site where you expect the deer to appear, then your chances of seeing and bagging that buck improve dramatically.
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/, 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 free 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.
Next: Defeat the Buck Deer’s Nose for Success