A deer in the field

Secrets for Taking Big Buck Deer Day 3: Use...

A deer in the field

Secrets for Taking Big Buck Deer Day 5: Hunt...

11/25/2021 Comments (0) Deer Hunting, Hunting Advice

Secrets for Taking Big Buck Deer Day 4: Change Times & Remember Croplands for Deer

A hunter with his downed deer

Editor’s Note: You too can have an opportunity to harvest a big whitetail by learning 10 secrets to better deer hunting this week. Although these aren’t all the secrets you need to take big bucks, these 10 make up the best ones I’ve learned in more than 50 years of deer hunting with some of the nation’s best deer hunters. If a big buck lives where you hunt, and you haven’t bagged him yet, try one of these tactics.

A deer in the fieldSecret #7: Change Shifts

Although most deer hunters hunt just before the sun rises until just after the sun sets, these hunters often don’t take trophy bucks because they work the old, dawn-to-dusk shift with a 2-4 hour break in the middle of the day. If you receive pay for deer hunting as your job and work the same shift that everyone else does, then you can expect to receive the same pay that everyone else does. However, if you work the shifts no one else wants to work, you’ll receive more pay – take more bucks.

Generally, these shifts pay the most big-buck dividends for successful big-buck hunters:

  • Go to your tree stand an hour before any other hunter moves to the woods.
  • Stay in your tree stand an hour longer than any other hunter remains in his tree stand.
  • Learn to go to and leave from your stand in the dark. (The hand-held GPS receiver solves this problem).
  • Remain in your stand all day. If you’ve prepared all year to take a trophy buck, you’re really going to feel bad if he passes by your stand when you’re not in it. Remember this equation: your butt in a tree stand often equals a trophy buck in the back of your pickup truck.

A hunter aims his bowSecret #8: Hunt Cropland Bucks

My longtime friend, Tad Brown of Warsaw, Missouri, has hunted the pastures and croplands around his home for more than 30 years. He’s developed strategies that regularly produce big bucks. “I love to hunt green pastures. On one hunt, I slipped up to the edge of a pasture where I’d seen deer previously. Using my binoculars, I spotted a group of deer at the other end of the field from me – about 180-200 yards away. Hunting with my Remington rifle, I picked-up a nice-sized buck in my riflescope. I let the crosshairs settle behind the deer’s front shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The buck went down immediately when my 130-grain hollow point bullet hit him.”

A deer in the fieldBrown sights-in his rifle dead-on at 200 yards. “By taking a long shot like this, the buck never sees, hears or smells me,” Brown explains. “The further you are from the deer, the more likely you will be to bag a big buck if you can shoot accurately.”

A vast majority of hunters prefer to hunt woodlots instead of fields, which means less hunting pressure exists around the edges of the fields than in the woodlots. Where you find less hunting pressure, you usually can locate more and bigger bucks. “When hunting in timber, I’ve seen numbers of deer before but haven’t gotten off a shot,” Brown says. “I either may spot a whitetail, a flash of antlers or a buck standing on the opposite side of a brush pile or a tree. But because of the lack of intense hunting pressure in croplands and fields, I can see more big bucks and have the opportunity for better shots than I ever have in the woods.”

Deer in the fieldBrown also has discovered another advantage to field hunting. When he sits in a tree stand 15-20 feet off the ground and uses his binoculars and his riflescope, he can see where the buck he’s shot falls or which way he runs when he’s hit. Brown then can find big bucks quickly and recover the animal much more easily than when he hunts in the woods.

Cover: Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big BucksTo learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Whitetail Deer and the Hunters Who Take Big Bucks,” available in Kindle, print and Audible at http://amzn.to/2bYwYOK. You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of this book for free and hear 10% for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book. To see more of John’s deer-hunting books, visit http://www.amazon.com/author/johnephillips. John’s latest book, “Elk: Keys to 23 More Hunters’ Success,” was just published in Audible on November 15, 2021, and is available in Kindle, print and Audible at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09B2H9V6Y/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i10.Elk: Keys to 23 More Hunters' Success

Tomorrow: Hunt Roads & Cattle Country for Deer

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