Editor’s Note: Michael Perry of Vinemont, Alabama, a longtime, successful public-land hunter, says, “I don’t want to give the impression that I think I know everything there is to know about how to hunt and take mature public-land bucks successfully. However, my family has been hunting public lands for over 50 years and has taken some nice, older bucks. I’ve learned how to scout to find these mature bucks, how and when to hunt them and get older, heavy, well-racked bucks out of remote areas. Most of the big bucks I’ve taken on public lands, I’ve never even seen before until I’ve squeezed the trigger on my mechanical release, my muzzleloader, or my granddaddy’s .30-06 Mauser.
“In the 2021 deer season, I took a buck scoring 195-6/8 inches on a state WMA. In 1998, my brother Matthew had taken a 180-1/8 inch public-land buck. And a friend of my dad’s took a 170-inch buck in the 1970s on public lands. Over the years, I’ve taken 38 public land bucks, 8 points or better. I’ve kept meticulous records in my journals about how we’ve hunted these bucks, where we’ve hunted, and what has made us successful in taking older-age-class bucks on public lands. I hope my information will help you learn tactics to become more successful on the public lands you hunt in any state.”
Because Michael Perry didn’t want anyone to know where he was hunting or where he took the Bench Buck (see Day 2), he drug this big deer for about an hour before getting his wife and calling three friends of his to come and help him get the Bench Buck out of the mountains. Luckily, his friends also were hunting the Black Warrior WMA. However, they still needed two hours to bring a deer cart and the water to stay hydrated through the rugged terrain.
“The five of us then loaded the Bench Buck into the deer cart before starting the trek back to my vehicle,” Michael Perry says. “But then, a pin that held one of the cart’s wheels together broke. We had to stop, build a makeshift pin to put the wheel back on the cart and continue pulling and pushing the cart with that extremely heavy deer through the rough mountains and over five big hills for two hours.
“Kathy carried the water bottles we needed in her backpack for all of us. After loading the monstrous buck into my truck, we then took him to the check-out station where wildlife biologists aged him at 6.5 years, a truly old buck for a whitetail that lived on public land. They estimated his live weight at 225 pounds. The Bench Buck later measured 195-6/8 inches with 14 G2s and 6-inch bases. He was designated the Alabama State Record for Whitetail Deer Taken with a Muzzleloader.”
Even More of Michal Perry’s Scouting Tips:
- “I walk 40-50 miles on public lands after deer season ends to locate fresh deer tracks, rubs, deer trails, and deer droppings after a rain.
- “I wear rubber boots and move through water when possible to keep deer from hearing, seeing, and/or smelling me.
- “I put trail cameras out in February and March, once deer season ends, leave the cameras out until July or August, check the pictures in the cameras then, install new batteries and leave the cameras up through hunting season. But I don’t generally check them again until the season’s over – figuring those photos will lead me to new deer for next year’s deer season.
- “I use trail cameras in places like creek crossings, funnel areas, bluff gaps and edges and pinch points – never over bait or food plots – after spraying each camera’s straps with Sawyer’s Permethrin to keep bugs and spiders out of the lockbox – mainly to learn whether bucks are using the places where I have cameras set-up.”
How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties
In this book, you’ll hear from 14 hunters who either have gained permission or leased properties as small as six acres to as much as 250 acres, and how they consistently take older-age-class bucks off these little lands.
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Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting Deer
Using a black magic marker and a gray work jumpsuit, Jim Crumley of Buchanan, Virginia, drastically changed the nature and purpose of hunting camouflage when he created the first sportsman’s camouflage – Trebark. Crumley’s love of bowhunting and his desire to be more invisible changed hunting clothing forever.
In this hunting guide, he shares the wisdom that he’s learned throughout his lifetime about how to be a hunter, how to find a deer lease, how to scout for deer, and more.
Special features include how to:
- Have a magic 60 acres to hunt
- Decide the best equipment to use
- Find deer year-round
- Locate land to hunt
- Know the best place to put your tree stand
- Get bucks within bow range
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How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro
How do you know if the land you hunt has a trophy deer on it? Wildlife manager Bob Zaiglin, of Uvalde, Texas and Jim Crumley, the father of modern-day hunting camouflage, tells you how to find out. GPS can make finding and taking that trophy buck easier. This hunting guide will teach you how to hunt big bucks where no one else can find them, how to call deer, and how to become versatile as a deer hunter, so that if one deer tactic doesn’t work, another one will.
In the chapter, “How to find Bucks at Scrape,” Dr. Keith Causey, retired professor of Wildlife Science at Auburn University, describes the best way to hunt a scrape.
Brad Harrison of Neosho, Missouri, is a nationally-known videographer, professional deer hunter and master at calling deer. Another master is Will Primos of Primos Game Calls. These two experts will tell the best deer calls and when to use them in this book.
And for over 20 years, Bo Pitman, lodge manager of White Oak Plantation, has been studying deer movement patterns. He explains what types of conditions are best for predicting deer movement.
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In Chapter 10, Jacob Lamar tells you his tactics for consistently taking older-age-class bucks on public lands in several states. Chapter 11, Bob Walker explains how to find places on public lands where you can hunt that 99 percent of the other hunters never have considered hunting. The Bonus Chapter with David Ramey tells you how, where, when and with what equipment to take big Kansas bucks on public lands by hunting in 100-degree weather when others won’t hunt.
Chapter 13, Mark Drury, his family and his guests take mature bucks every season by having more small places to hunt rather than one large property. Drury explains the strategy of having satellite farms to hunt that only may be 50-150 acres each or less. Chapter 15, Pat Reeve, who hunts far-northern states and Canada, says, “I don’t like hunting for mature bucks until the weather is 20 degrees or less.” Chapter 4, Dr. Larry Marchinton says that funnels are the most-reliable stand sites to hunt for big bucks and tells why.
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Tomorrow: Not Worrying about Getting Public Land Deer Out