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Night Hawk Stories... Entry 36

What About Gimme Trophies

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: How much does taking a trophy buck cost a hunter? You may not truly want to know. If you calculate the prices of transportation, food, lodging, a lease, a hunting license, time away from work and other expenses of taking a trophy white-tailed buck, you'll find that the average hunter spends a minimum of between $2,000 and $5,000 a year - whether he's hunting with a bow, a black-powder gun or conventional weapon. Since often a deer hunter will hunt for five to 20 years attempting to take a trophy buck, that buck can cost from $25,000 to $100,000. Think about how many years you may hunt without bagging a big buck. Then you'll realize how much money, time and energy go toward that one opportunity to bag the buck of lifetime with your bow.

You won't encounter any stupid bucks at the Ford Ranch. Although you'll find a tremendous number of trophy bucks there, to have success, you still must use the hunting strategies you'll follow anywhere else when you're hunting with your bow or your gun.

click to enlarge"I use Scent Shield to control my human odor when I hunt out here," Kirby said. "I don't want to have the opportunity to take a buck of a lifetime and then spook the deer if the wind changes."

Before each hunt, Kirby wet his hunting clothes with Scent Shield and hung them outside to dry. He also sprayed his boots with Scent Shield's Earth Scent to mask his foot odor. He applied Robinson Laboratories' grease paint to camouflage his face. As a first-timer at the Ford Ranch, I followed Kirby's lead since he had hunted there before. We both took trophy bucks.

"Just because the Ford Ranch has a high number of bucks to hunt," Kirby emphasized, "doesn't mean you can leave your hunting savvy at home."

click to enlargeEven when you hunt ranches with as many nice bucks as the Ford Ranch or the Quinn Ranch, often the bucks just won't move.

"I've never had much confidence in rattling or grunting until I've worked at the Ford," one of the guides at the Ford Ranch told me. "But when the bucks aren't moving, I take my hunters to thick-cover areas and rattle and grunt. Most days, we can pull big bucks out of their bedding areas, even when deer normally don't move. Rattling up bucks is one of the most exciting ways to hunt here at the Ford.

click to enlarge"Just like any other deer tactic, rattling and grunting don't always produce a trophy. But when deer aren't moving, you may get the chance to see a 130-class buck come to rattling antlers, all bristled-up with his ears laid back and walking stiff-legged, which makes for an exciting hunt. And we usually can make bucks appear by using rattling and grunting, even when the deer aren't moving much."

You can contact the Ford Ranch at (915) 286-4572 and the Quinn Ranch at (915) 597-2647.

Tomorrow: Why Hunt the Ford and the Quinn


Entry 34-Where You'll See Numbers of Unbelievable Bucks
Entry 35-Why So Many Trophy Bucks
Entry 36-What About Gimme Trophies
Entry 37-Why Hunt the Ford and the Quinn
Entry 38-Why This Area is a Video Paradise

Night Hawk Stories