John's Journal...

How to Hunt White-tailed Deer When the Heat’s On

Day 1: Know the Wind Direction to Successfully Hunt Deer

Editor’s Note: Deer do strange and unpredictable things when the hunting pressure builds-up over their range. But you can modify your hunting tactics to adjust to the situation and take deer.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe old, wide-antlered buck had been spotted by several hunters for 2 or 3 years. But all that had been seen were his white tail and his broad antlers as he escaped. The buck was smart. He seemed to be able to read every move that hunters made and anticipated each step they took. And, the size of the buck’s antlers proved his wisdom. However, big deer and older deer aren’t without their Achilles heels. They can be patterned. And, once you know what makes a big buck move and why and where he moves, you can take him.

My friends and I once hunted a majestic buck that only was seen when hunters were entering the woods. This buck always was heading in the opposite direction from the hunters. Finally one day, Richard Sharp laid the game plan to try and outsmart the wily whitetail. Sharp got up at 3:00 am, came in behind where the deer usually was seen and waited on the buck to escape. Sharp’s game plan was a can’t-miss scheme to take the old buck when he escaped from hunting pressure. But Sharp overlooked one critical ingredient in mastering an ole buck – wind direction. The wind that morning was coming from his back. He failed to realize that his scent was being swept into the section where he expected the big buck to move.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThat same morning Jimmy Shipman and myself also hunted the big buck. We eased into the woods where we thought the deer might be. Since Sharp had the deer’s retreat cut-off, we felt that the worse we could do was to drive the deer in Sharp’s direction, so he could take the big buck. What we did not know was that the wind brought Sharp’s scent into the deer’s range, and we were approaching from the opposite direction. The big buck buried deep into the thickest cover available.

I walked into a briar thicket hoping to jump-up a smaller deer when suddenly the sky filled with ivory-colored antlers and the wide, brown back of a magnificent buck. With my Remington 1100, I fired in the center of the deer’s back. The 00 buckshot broke the animal’s back and drove him to the ground. He was a trophy – the deer of a lifetime – and a buck I always will remember.

For more deer-hunting tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,”
"How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” and “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” or to prepare venison, get “Deer & Fixings.” Click here on each, or go to ", type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Human Odor – What Deer Fear Most about Hunters

Check back each day this week for more about How to Hunt White-tailed Deer When the Heat’s On"

Day 1: Know the Wind Direction to Successfully Hunt Deer
Day 2: Human Odor – What Deer Fear Most about Hunters
Day 3: Tactics to Use to Eliminate Human Odor When Hunting Deer
Day 4: Where Deer Hide to Avoid Hunting Pressure
Day 5: More Unlikely Hideouts for Deer to Use to Escape from Hunter Pressure

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Entry 745, Day 1