Bucky Hauser from Claudville, Virginia, is a longtime deer hunter who primarily bowhunts.
I took a big buck on November 4, 2015. The company I work for had booked a hunt for some Under Armour clients with Trey Teague and Johnny Davis at Backwoods Outfitters (http://www.backwoodswhitetails.com). They manage 10,000 acres in Clark and Edgar counties in Illinois. During the hunt, we had some pleasant weather with the morning temperatures in the mid-20s and in the 50s during the day. My stand was in a draw right off a soybean field, about 150-200 yards in the woods from the field’s edge. This draw seemed to be a natural funnel for deer that wanted go out into the field and feed. We arrived in camp on Saturday and started hunting on Sunday. Although I’d seen a few deer the first couple of days, I hadn’t seen a shooter. Then on Tuesday afternoon at 4:34 pm, I spotted movement to my left.
The outfitter wanted us to take bucks more than 140 inches. But when I’m traveling and hunting, I’m looking for a 150-inch-plus buck. Since I’ve already harvested about 40 bucks, my standard for the type of buck I want to take often is higher than many hunters. But I need to pause right here and explain that a trophy deer isn’t just a buck with antlers scoring 150 or more. Over my hunting career, I’ve taken deer with antlers as small as spikes to antlers that would score more than 160 inches. A trophy deer is what you believe a trophy to be. When I take my daughters hunting, there aren’t any limits on how big or what sex the deer are that they take. I get much more pleasure and satisfaction from watching my daughters take a doe or small buck than I’ve ever experienced taking a 160-plus-class big buck. So, I never put down anyone who takes his or her trophy buck, even though the trophy may not be the same trophy I want to harvest.
On this hunt, I was facing down the draw with the wind coming from behind me and blowing right in the direction of where I’d seen the deer move at 4:34 pm. This deer was coming from downwind below me, and I was expecting the deer to come from upwind above me. Earlier in the day, I’d spotted a coyote coming down a deer trail above me. Later in the morning, a nice buck came down that same trail. When the buck reached the spot where the coyote had crossed the trail, the buck whirled and ran away from me.
Once I identified this downwind buck as a shooter, I was fairly certain that he would smell me before he got to within bow range, because he was straight downwind of me. I was using an odor-eliminating product called The Ghost (https://ckeinc.com/theghost/), a product I was field testing. Plus, I had scent control in my Under Armour (https://www.underarmour.com/en-us) garments; I had bathed in scent-free soaps; and I was using Ozonics (http://ozonicshunting.com). I believe the Ozonics played a major role in eliminating my human odor. Having said all that, I still had a hard time believing that this mature buck wasn’t smelling me before he got into bow range. The buck was about 60 yards from me when I first saw him. He came up to a brush pile that had been created when the outfitters had cut shooting lanes. As soon as the buck stepped out from behind the brush pile, I knew for sure he was a shooter.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, Print and Audible versions, at (http://amzn.to/YpoQHA). 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).
Tomorrow: More on Bucky Hauser’s Hunt for His Big Buck