John's Journal... Entry 222, Day 1
FIVE MOST CRITICAL INGREDIENTS FOR BAGGING A BUCK WITH A GUN
Notice The Wind With Dick Kirby
Editor's Note: The five most-critical ingredients for taking a buck with your gun at any time during the season include the wind, the weather, hunting pressure, food availability and the rut. Most hunters will tell you one of these factors has more importance to successful deer hunting than any other element. However, you'll need to consider all these ingredients to develop a successful hunt plan. This week we'll talk with some of the nation's best gun hunters about their ideas. Dick Kirby, the founder of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York, hunts all across the country taking white-tailed deer for the videos he produces each year.
The wind is the most-critical ingredient for deer-hunting success. Although a deer's No. 1 defense against the hunter is its nose, a hunter also can use the wind to lure a buck to him. You'll also find the wind deceiving. If the wind fools you, you'll lose the opportunity to take that buck of a lifetime. A few years ago when I spotted a big buck in Iowa, I believed he would walk down an old logging road where I had seen several scrapes and watched him working one scrape. But I also realized that if I set my stand up where I wanted to, the buck would pick up my human odor and wouldn't come in close enough for me to bag him. I usually didn't have much confidence in deer scents and lures. However, I had to make this buck move off the logging road at the right angle to keep him from smelling me. Then he had to offer me a shot. I took two strips of cloth, dipped them in doe-in-estrus lure and tied one rag to each of my rubber boots. I walked from my stand directly to the road, dragging the rags behind me, and then walked around two scrapes on the road. Next I walked back up the same road and down the same trail I had used to go to my stand.
As soon as I climbed up in my tree, two small bucks came into the scrape, picked up the doe-in-estrus scent and followed it to under my stand -- just as though I had them on a halter leading them along. The bucks circled out of sight before returning to the scrape and twice walking the scent trail I had laid. The next deer feet I spotted under the bushes near the first scrape I'd walked to belonged to a tremendous 8 point that had followed the scent trail just like the younger ones had. He had come down the logging road, turned at a 90-degree angle and walked in front of me at 20 yards. I took that buck. I'm absolutely convinced that if I hadn't used the deer lure to make the buck walk where he hadn't walked before, I wouldn't have had a shot at him. When you can't hunt a stand because of the wind, perhaps you can lure in a buck without his smelling you.
On another hunt, I located 13-huge scrapes in a valley off the edge of a mountain. But after four days of hunting, I'd only seen one small buck. Although I thought I was hunting with the right wind, I used a simple powder wind checker and realized I was hunting in a bowl. The wind in my face blew past me and then swirled and went out the bottom of the hollow, carrying my scent back in the direction from which I'd expected the buck to come. I moved my stand out of the valley and hunted from the side of the ridge near the top where the wind remained more constant on the fifth day. Then I took an older, mature buck there with my rifle.
Just because you hunt into the wind, don't assume your human odor hasn't moved in the direction from which the bucks will come. The wind you feel on your face also may circle behind you and take your scent to the deer. Remember to choose four likely places where you can bag a buck according to how the wind blows. If the deer's walking down a trail, put one tree on one side of the trail, another on the other side and one on each end of the trail. Always approach your stand from downwind to keep from spooking the buck. By expecting the wind to blow from the wrong direction on the days you hunt and by having tree stands facing the four-different points on the compass, you probably can hunt the buck any day at that site.
To learn more about Quaker Boy Game Calls, visit www.quakerboygamecalls.com.