John's Journal...

Try These Last Resort End of the Season Big Buck Deer Tactics

Day 1: Hunting Deer Backwards at the End of the Season for Success

Editor’s Note: On the last week of deer season if you haven't taken your buck, what can you do to insure your success? How can you bag the biggest buck of the season? At this time of the year, the older bucks know more about what you'll do than you do. To take them, you must do the unexpected.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewMany years ago on my first hunt at White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, Alabama, I found the lodge had divided the land into approximately 500-acre squares for stalking. Each hunter had 500 to 800 acres to stalk in the morning and the same amount of territory to stalk in the afternoon. White Oak had cut a road all the way around each block of timber to allow the hunters to easily walk the roads and look for deer. After my first morning's hunt, I analyzed where I had spotted most of the deer sign in my assigned square at the very end of the road. I knew hunters and deer both generally used the easiest routes of travel through any terrain. Also they habitually would take the same routes every day at about the same times. I realized I could pattern hunters as easily as I did whitetails, and that a trophy buck would know within 2 days after the opening of deer season where hunters usually entered the woods and preferred to hunt. I determined that most of the deer moved during the morning hours on the back side of the property, and that by the time the hunters arrived there every day, the deer already had fed and gone to their beds.

On the following morning, I asked if I could hunt the same area I had hunted the previous day. But this time I went into the property the opposite way. In the dark, I walked about 1/4-mile to where a clear-cut dropped off the side of a hill into a hardwood creek bottom. Then I left the road and moved about 100-yards down the creek bottom on the edge of the clear-cut. This tactic allowed me to hunt on a part of the property where deer seldom had seen hunters at a time of day when hunters historically didn't hunt this side of the property.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewJust at daylight, I watched two 8 points, one spike and two does come out of the clear-cut and begin to feed down the creek. When the deer stood about 50 yards in front of me, the two 8 points started sparring. Once the biggest deer had pushed the other 8 point off his feet, I took the big buck. Probably I wouldn't have seen any of the deer if I'd gone into the woods and walked the circle as all the other hunters had done all season.

If you hunt at the end of the season, move into the property from a different side than everyone else has during the season. Also hunt the back side of thickets in places where deer never have spotted a hunter before. To survive, the deer must remain in the regions where they seldom encounter hunters. If you'll frequent those places the last days of the season by hunting backwards, you may find your buck of a lifetime.

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 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: You’ll Have to Work Hard to Take a Big Buck in January

Check back each day this week for more about Try These Last Resort End of the Season Big Buck Deer Tactics"

Day 1: Hunting Deer Backwards at the End of the Season for Success
Day 2: You’ll Have to Work Hard to Take a Big Buck in January
Day 3: How to Blast Deer Out and Make Them Nervous to Get Them Out of Thick Cover
Day 4: Rattle the Deer Out and Become a Night Hunter at the Last of Deer Season
Day 5: Hunt the Slack Times and Out-Hunt the Green Field Hunters in January

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Entry 752, Day 1