Dr. Robert Sheppard with his deer rack collection

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Deer in the wild

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Scout to Learn How Deer Move Day 2: Know Deer and Their Habits

Dr. Robert Sheppard deer hunting
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Editor’s Note: Dr. Robert Sheppard of Tuscaloosa Alabama, who has taught schools about bowhunting for deer, hunting with blackpowder for deer and rifle hunting for deer, averages hunting white-tailed deer more than 40 days each year. Because of Sheppard’s medical training, he studies the sport of deer hunting with a researcher’s eye year-round and often sees overlooked details most deer hunters miss, which can make the difference in a successful and an unsuccessful hunt.

Dr. Robert Sheppard with his trophy deer

To be a consistently, successful deer hunter, you must adopt a philosophy which dictates that scouting is far more important and critical to hunter success than shooting. The effective hunter will spend 80% of his time in the woods scouting and trying to determine where and when a deer  should show up and only 20% of his time in an attempt to take a deer.

Deer in the wild

Some hunters will spend 80% their time wandering around in the woods or sitting on a tree stand because they find a few deer tracks or some deer droppings. Then these same men only will spend 20% of their time trying to predict where the deer will show-up.

But as a hunter once told me, “The most-important deer tracks to the hunter are the ones the deer is standing in when the hunter is ready to shoot.”

Deer in the wild

In most areas of the country, you will find several consistent hunters who seem to always bag their bucks within the first two hours of the opening day of deer season. Although luck plays a role in their success, if you question them closely, you’ll find out that before the season opens, they have spent days and weeks studying their deer, picking their stand sites and paying close attention to the details that result in their taking bucks.

(They use apps like onX Maps, HuntStand and DeerCast as well as their GPS – both hand-held and on their phones – as well as journals to keep their notes).

Dr. Robert Sheppard in his car with his binoculars

But there are no shortcuts. To regularly take deer year after year, you have to spend more time scouting than you do trying to shoot a deer. Three times of the year are the most productive for scouting – before the season, during the season and at the end of the season. We’ll learn more about that information during the rest of the week.

To learn more about deer hunting, see John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions.

Check out John’s book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions.

When you click on the books, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of these Audible books for free. On the right side of the page for each book and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.

To see all of John E. Phillips’ books on hunting and fishing, visit www.amazon.com/author/johnephillips.

Tomorrow: Scout Deer Before the Season

Cover: How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro

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