Editor’s Note: You can scout for the perfect spot for taking deer, put up your stand and camp out to wait for deer to come along. But all your work will do you no good, if you’ve picked an obvious place that other hunters also will choose. The trick to bagging big bucks is to think outside the box like other hunters don’t. Here are some tricks I’ve learned through 50+ years of deer hunting that have helped me overlook the obvious and take more bucks.
I’d scouted intently and located a white oak tree producing acorns on the edge of a swamp about 1/2-mile away from an old logging road deep in the backwoods. Absolutely certain I’d found the very-best spot in the woods to hunt, I arrived at my tree stand well before daylight and waited for the sun to come up. Off in the distance, I heard what sounded like a buck snorting.
As the sun rose out of the fog, I heard a deer moving in the leaves. I readied myself for the shot. The deer moved close, really close. As the thick woods and the macabre-looking swamp lightened, I braced my rifle on the shooting arm of my portable tree stand. I waited for the deer to step out from behind the bushes. Because I’d spent my time finding the most-productive place in the woods to hunt, I thought I’d most likely find this hunt one of my shortest ever.
The deer rustled the leaves and took a half step. I looked through my rifle scope, astonished at what appeared there. I spotted a blaze-orange vest and hat coming toward me, as some idiot walked right through the middle of my hunting site. “Hey, buddy, what are you doing? I’m trying to hunt here,” I said angrily. Then to my surprise, not 60-yards away from where I thought I heard the deer grunt, I heard someone say, “Yeah, me too.” Looking midway up a scaly-bark hickory tree, I saw another hunter sitting in a tree stand. As my mind raced back to when I’d heard the deer grunt, I now realized that I’d actually heard this hunter clearing his throat.
Apparently, all three of us had pinpointed the same good-looking hunt site to take a deer. The hunter on the ground had come into the land with the wind at his back. He probably didn’t even know which way the wind blew, however, he’d moved in from the direction I’d expected the deer to walk. Now like the other two hunters, I had to climb down from my tree and search for another spot to hunt. During that hunt so many years ago, I learned to overlook the obvious and not to hunt where other hunters hunted.
Define the Problem
Hunters often don’t bag bucks when they go into the woods to hunt because they hunt like all the other hunters there. But successful hunters move past the obvious deer sign and search for the obscure.
If you’ll consider that a trophy buck has lived long enough to grow large antlers and obtain a heavy body weight, while hunters have harvested the younger bucks, you’ll realize that the trophy buck doesn’t act like most other bucks do, or else he won’t grow to a monster size. Sure, you accidentally may take a trophy buck during the rut when that buck does something stupid such as show himself in a clearing where he usually never appears at any other time of the year. However, in most sections of the country, the rut only occurs for a few days or weeks at best, generally when you don’t have vacation time or a day off. To bag a trophy buck at any time of the year other than the rut, you’ll have to use different tactics than all the other hunters do who don’t take these superior animals. Let’s look at the 10 keys to successfully take a trophy buck by thinking outside the box and overlooking the obvious.
John E. Phillips’ latest deer book “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro: Volume II,” just was published on Amazon in print at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BGSP3QPB/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tpbk_p4_i4
The Audible version should be available by December. Since deer hunting and deer hunters are drastically changing each year, John interviewed some top deer hunters like Mark Drury, Dr. Larry Marchinton, Dr. Bob Sheppard, Pat Reeve, Gene Wensel, Cody Robbins, Ernie Calandrelli, Brian Murphy and Luke Brewster, who took the world’s largest whitetail, to learn their up-to-date techniques for successfully hunting deer and having more places to hunt.
You can learn more of the tactics small-property owners have used successfully by checking out John’s book, “How to Hunt and Take Big Deer on Small Properties” at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OOC2T0Y, available in Kindle, print and Audible versions.
You may have to copy and paste these links into your browser. When you click on these books, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the Audible books for free. On the right side of the pages and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.
Tomorrow: Know Other Hunters’ Locations