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Secrets for Taking Big Buck Deer Day 1: Locate Big, Unknown Buck Deer

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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 #1: Locate Big Bucks Where You Hunt

By studying the Boone and Crockett Club’s “Records of North American Whitetail Deer,” (https://www.boone-crockett.org/Trophy-Whitetail-Deer) you easily can see where many of the big bucks in this country live. You’ll identify too the best soil types for producing trophy bucks with big antlers that also have some of the most-restrictive hunting seasons and bag limits located in the Mississippi River drainage system or the Bread Basket of the nation. Lightly-populated areas in the Northwest along the Canadian border also home habitat where big bucks live.

The four states where I’ve learned I may have the best chance to bag a monster buck include Kansas, Illinois, Texas and Montana. I’ve hunted all these states and either have seen or bagged big whitetails in each of them. Also, Idaho, Washington and Wisconsin home huge bucks and have limited hunting pressure and plenty of high-quality agriculture.headshot of a hunter

Because of the increased availability of knowledge about deer management and deer nutrition, and hunters’ willingness to spend time and money to produce healthy deer on the properties they hunt, big bucks also can show-up in many other states. Follow these secrets for discovering big bucks in your region.

  • Ask the owner of the land you hunt if he ever spots big bucks during the spring, summer and fall before hunting season begins. Find out where he sees the deer, and what the deer will be doing during this time of year.
  • Talk to a rural mail carrier. More than likely, the mail carrier sees quite a few big bucks and knows where to locate the big bucks and who owns the property where these big bucks live.
  • Ask the farmers who lease lands to hunters where and when they see big bucks.
  • Become a friend of your local conservation officer, who’s in the woods and travels county roads daily and nightly. He can tell you where he’s spotted big deer, and who owns the land.
  • Talk to the deputy sheriff and highway patrolmen who work the 3 pm to 11 pm and the 11 pm to 7 am shifts in your area. These officers travel the county roads at night and see many big deer. They also know the places in highways where cars have hit big bucks.

All these people can help you find that buck of a lifetime on or around the land you already hunt.

Two hunters chat next to a tractorSecret #2: Find the Bucks No One Knows About

If you want to take a trophy buck, you have to ask yourself two questions. “Do I want to hunt in a state where I have an extremely-high chance for taking a monster buck? Or, do I want to grow monster bucks on the lands I already hunt?” Regardless of which answer you chose, you’ll need to invest time and money to bag the buck of your dreams.

In my opinion, finding the big bucks that no one else knows about pays the best buck dividends. Bigger, older-age-class bucks have outsmarted all the hunters who’ve tried to take them. They know where hunters enter the woods, eat their lunches, smoke cigarettes, spit tobacco or dispose of their candy wrappers and sandwich bags. Their noses tell them everything they need to know about the hunters in their woods and how to dodge them. You can’t simply hunt bucks in the same places where you and everyone else have hunted before and expect to encounter a trophy buck.

To bag these bucks, you must develop a method to hunt in spots where no one else hunts. You may have to wear waders, carry a canoe and paddle to remote spots and/or cut brush in the summertime to get into thick-cover areas. You may have to hunt behind the club house, within sight of a major interstate or a small patch of cover out in the middle of a 100-acre cow pasture. Usually you’ll have to work harder than you’ve ever worked before to bag a big buck. You’ll also have to develop new and better tactics than everyone else has used to find and take these deer.

Cover: How to Hunt Deer Up CloseCover: 13 Deer Recipes You Can't Live WithoutTo learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, available in Kindle, print and Audible versions, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” (http://amzn.to/11dJRu8) and “13 Deer Recipes You Can’t Live Without,” available in Kindle at “http://amzn.to/12AiyI9.” 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 the book for free, and you can listen to 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: Develop Game Plans – Create Places for Deer

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