John's Journal...


The Camp House Buck

Click to enlarge Editor’s Note: Ray Eye has hunted deer for more than 30 years and has been a member of Hunter's Specialties Pro Staff since 1985. This week Eye will tell us about weird places where he's found big bucks. To take a trophy buck, you need to locate a big buck in a region where nobody else is looking for him. Many times these little overlooked spots can and will produce that dream buck you've searched for your life. After reading about where Eye has discovered big bucks, start searching for overlooked honey holes this season to take the buck of your dreams.

I had an old farm house that I used as a camp house to host media hunts. Every year I'd bring in writers to stay there. Then we'd take them from the camp house to stands we'd put up in the woods. We were Click to enlargehunting this area with numerous creek bottoms and agricultural fields and also a good number of big deer. Several pastures with a lot of open ground in them were right by the camp.

One morning when I returned to camp after putting out my hunters, I saw a really nice buck walking right behind the camp house and the barn where there was a small patch of trees and a pond. That area was so close to the camp that I was sure there wasn't a deer there because a buck could see, smell and hear us in the camp house. But evidently this buck was bedding in a little patch of willows right beside the pond. In the mornings after he saw us leave camp, he'd get out of his bed, walk along that tree line, cross the road and go into our neighbor's agriculture to feed. Since we didn't have permission to Click to enlargehunt the neighbor's property, the buck was safe there all day long.

An old fence that was down provided the only cover to the buck's bedding area to the place where he crossed the road to go to our neighbor's field. I noticed that as long as the buck stayed on the edge of that fence line he was just under the hill where the camp house sat. Therefore, when we were in camp, we'd never be able to see him as he moved from his bedding site to his feeding site. I found a tree along the route where the buck traveled from his bedding site in the willows to where he stepped through a gap in the fence and stood to watch the road in the neighbor's field before he crossed the road and went into the field. I set my tree stand up so that the buck would come up behind me. Then when he walked out in front of me and stopped to watch the road, he'd be less than 30 yards from my tree stand. The morning after I set up my tree stand, when all the hunters left camp to go to their hunting sites, I just walked from camp, climbed up in my tree stand and waited for the buck. He did exactly what I needed him to do. After he came through the gap in the fence, he stopped and was watching the road when I drew and took the shot. The buck scored 155 points on the Boone & Crockett scale.

To me, one of the secrets to getting a tree stand set up and being able Click to enlargeto get into and out of the area without the buck's smelling me is because I wash all my clothes with Scent-A-Way Soap. I keep them in a Scent Safe bag, and I spray down with Scent-A-Way before I leave camp and right after I get into my tree stand.

I really believe that plenty of big bucks live within rock-throwing distance of many deer camps. The reason is quite simple. They can quickly and easily learn when and where you hunt and don't hunt. An old smart buck is better at patterning you than you are at patterning him. And, many of those older bucks learn that the closer they live to where you eat and sleep in hunting season, the less likely you are to find them. For instance, the camp house buck bedded-down less than 100 yards from our camp house.


Check back each day this week for more about WEIRD PLACES I'VE FOUND BIG BUCKS WITH RAY EYE...

Day 1 - The Camp House Buck
Day 2 - More Weird Places to Find Big Bucks with Ray Eye
Day 3 - The One That Got Away with Ray Eye
Day 4 - The Backward Buck with Ray Eye
Day 5 - Trolling for Bucks with Ray Eye


Entry 269, Day 1