John's Journal...

Click to enlargeTWO ON BUCKS

The Dilemma

EDITOR’S NOTE: What would you do if you discovered where a trophy buck lived? Would you bet that this older-age-class deer wouldn't die or get killed before the next hunting season? And, if you didn't bag this big buck yourself, would you willingly share him with a buddy? Many hunters face these questions each season when they hunt big bucks. Before you answer, consider some of the reasons buddy hunting is better than hunting alone.

Here's the dilemma. When a buck becomes 4-years old or older, the likelihood of his dying from natural causes drastically increases – especially if he dominates the other bucks in that area. Just like the heavyweight champion of the world, a dominant buck has proven time and time again that he can whip any opponent that Click to enlargecomes against him. However, even the champ can't fight every adversary every day and still come out a winner. More than just considering other bucks in his home range, the dominant buck in any region has to...
* find food to eat,
* locate a safe bedding area,
* breed as many estrous does as he can,
* stay on the move looking for does,
* battle the bucks that come into his region from outside areas and
* avoid and outmaneuver hunters.

This hectic, survival-of-the-fittest routine decreases the chances of a 4-year-old buck making it to his fifth year. A dominant buck may get severely wounded in a fight with another buck and perhaps die from either one or all of the wounds that he receives during hunting season. Too, even if you locate an older-age-class buck and plan to hunt him, you don't know if the deer will pass by your tree stand. Click to enlargeDuring an entire hunting season, you only may get one or two opportunities to spot this buck. Also, by the time a deer reaches his fourth year, he probably understands more about how to dodge you than you know about how to find him. Remember, this buck has lived on the land many more days than you've attempted to hunt him. He has familiarized himself with the terrain, the food sources and the cover.

Intelligent and cautious older-age-class bucks make difficult game to hunt on your own. You can roll the dice on a 4-year old, and maybe you'll win an opportunity to hunt him another year. But, to bag a trophy buck this season, instead take your buddy with you, and then you can have more confidence that the buck will ride home with one of you that day. "I feel sure that hunters can see and take more deer when two people hunt together than when one person hunts alone," says Larry Norton of Butler, Alabama, who has hunted deer all his life. "When I hunt a bedding area where deer meander in and out, I always prefer to have a buddy with me. I like for him to set up about 60-yards away in a tree stand parallel to me. This way, we can cover more ground and take Click to enlargeany deer that crosses our kill zone. If my buddy sets up in a tree stand nearby, we both accurately can shoot 30 yards to our left and 30 yards to our right. Together we can cover 120 yards of ground, plus we have four eyes looking for deer instead of just two. Using this tactic, both my buddy and I consistently get more shots and take more deer each season."


Check back each day this week for more about TWO ON BUCKS

Day 1: The Dilemma
Day 2: Buddy Hunting the Giles Island Monster
Day 3: Double-Calling Bucks
Day 4: Hollow Hunting Bucks
Day 5: Other Advantages of Buddy Hunting



Entry 334, Day 1