John's Journal...

How to Hunt Bucks Under Pressure Like Those in the Late Season

Big Bucks Under Pressure and How to Take Them and the HuntVe

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note:  To bag big, smart deer late in the season, you must do something that everybody else isn’t doing.

The more hunting pressure that’s exerted on deer, particularly by the end of the season, the more difficult they are to bag, and the more skilled the hunter must be toClick to enlarge take a trophy buck. Or, at least that’s what I’ve always believed. However, I met a man several years ago who told me he did nothing to take big deer in heavily-hunted areas. The overall-clad man had taken two trophy 8 points, and when I asked him, “Where did you find two nice bucks like that?” he answered, “Both were on a state wildlife-management area. I always take one or two nice bucks from management areas each season.”

As I continued to fire questions at this master woodsman, he dodged each one with the skill of an escape artist. Finally weary from my questioning, he reluctantly said, “Well, most folks won’t do what I do to bag big deer. So I’ll go ahead and tell you. First of all, you must understand how most people hunt, if you want to take big bucks where there are too-many hunters, for instance at the end of the season. Because sportsmen have read magazine articles about where trophy deer are supposed to be, they go to these spots looking for deer. However, when these hunters reach thick cover, deer trails, feeding sites, funnel regions, scraping areas or creek crossings, they already will have spooked the bucks – if any bucks were there originally – that they were attempting to take. Perhaps they were making too much noise, had the wind at their backs, didn’t remain long enough at that place or moved when the deer were close by. Because the public doesn’t know how to hunt properly on public-hunting areas, all day these folks will be moving and spooking deer. Before long, the smart, older bucks learn how to miss hunters by constantly staying on the move.” Although every word this outdoorsman had said so far made sense, he still had not told me how to regularly harvest large bucks on heavily hunted lands. “To bag big, smart deer, you must do something that everybody else isn’t doing,” the old man explained. “And for me that’s doing nothing!” The veteran hunter stopped Click to enlargespeaking and smiled like a cat that had swallowed a canary. Although he had given me the answer, I couldn’t understand what he meant. After a long silence, he finally continued, “Since the deer and the hunters on public-hunting lands are moving in the woods most of the day, I get into my tree Click to enlargestand on the edge of thick cover before daylight and sit until dark. I have to fight with myself all day long not to change to another place if I’m not seeing deer. But, I’ve learned that if I just remain in my stand for 12 to 14 hours per day for 3 days, I usually can bag a big buck.”

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Tomorrow: Tips for Taking Big Bucks in Public-Hunting Areas in the Late Season and Wearing Longleaf Camo

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Hunt Bucks Under Pressure Like Those in the Late Season"

Day 1: Big Bucks Under Pressure and How to Take Them and the HuntVe
Day 2:Tips for Taking Big Bucks in Public-Hunting Areas in the Late Season and Wearing Longleaf Camo
Day 3: How and When Deer Respond to Hunting Pressure and Using Preston Pittman Calls
Day 4: Productive Late-Season Hunting Sites and How to Locate Them and Carry-Lite Decoys
Day 5: Equipment for Taking Big Bucks


Entry 543, Day 1