106, Day 1
DAN PEREZ'S DEER-TAKING TACTICS
Different Ways to Hunt White-tailed Deer
NOTE: Dan Perez of Bowling Green, Missouri, has bowhunted deer for
the past 35 years and has taken 17 official Pope and Young bucks. He also
has several more racks not yet scored that will surely make the P&Y
record book. With outdoorsmen everywhere getting ready for fall and the
beginning of deer season, I talked with Perez about some of his unusual
QUESTION: Dan, how long have you hunted deer?
ANSWER: I've hunted white-tailed deer for 35 years.
QUESTION: How many Pope & Young bucks have
ANSWER: I've taken approximately 17 deer that have been scored
and four others that haven't been scored. Of course, unless the buck has
been scored, it isn't officially a P&Y buck.
QUESTION: Tell me about one of the weirdest ways
you've ever taken a buck.
ANSWER: I don't know if the buck was weird or if the way I took
it was weird. But ever since I bagged a buck with a sledgehammer, particularly
when there's a hard freeze, I'll break the ice on a pond or a creek with
a sledgehammer to provide an easy watering hole for the deer. I don't
think this method is weird, but someone else may consider it unorthodox
QUESTION: Let's talk about the deer you took and
the method you used when you first sledgehammered your way to a deer.
ANSWER: After an unsuccessful hunt one morning, I got down from
my tree stand and walked down to the agricultural field nearby. Although
the time was the middle of November and the rut was kicking in pretty
good, I hadn't seen many signs of rutting activity. I checked out the
field that morning looking for what I call buck-chasing-doe tracks --
big tracks with wide-spread toes just behind sets of smaller deer tracks.
Those tracks were all over the field, so chasing had gone on there a lot.
I dropped off to the end of the field where the timber paralleled the
field. As I reached the timber, I saw a creek about 20 yards away. Water
had been hard to come by that season, and now the creek water was frozen.
I went down to the creek and saw a spot where the deer had tried to paw
the ice to get to the water. I went back to my pick-up truck, got a shovel
and busted a big hole in the ice. I hung a tree stand downwind of that
little spot, and then vacated the area.
QUESTION: Why did the deer paw at the ice?
ANSWER: To get to the water beneath the ice. Everything was frozen.
The deer couldn't get a good lick of water other than the moisture from
morning condensation. I busted a good hole so they could access the water
easily. The next day, I hunted other spots during the morning. I didn't
want to go into that field for fear that I would scare the deer off. I
went back in to the field about 10:30 a.m. Between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00
p.m., several does followed by seven different bucks came down to get
water. Then just before 2:30 in the afternoon, two does came down to get
a drink. Pretty soon a nice 10-point buck with 20-inch-wide antlers came
over the levee. When he put his nose up, he could smell that neither one
of those does was in estrus. So, he walked down the levee, crossed the
creek and came back up the other side. I didn't let him get far before
I shot him about 15 yards away from the watering hole. He wasn't the first
buck I'd taken using this method of hunting.
Was this creek close to a field?
ANSWER: Yes, it was close to a field. Fields are good food sources.
Does come out of the timber to feed in the fields, and bucks follow the
does into the fields during the rut. In the rut, fleeing does and pursuing
bucks need water. When everything freezes up, deer have a hard time getting
water. Busting the ice is a surefire method for taking deer. But no deer
hunter runs around in the woods with a sledgehammer like I do. So, many
hunters think carrying around such a tool while hunting is pretty weird.
QUESTION: What was the deer's score that you killed?
ANSWER: He was a Pope & Young buck. He scored in the 140's.
TOMORROW: FUNNEL-FORCING BIG