Looking to harvest that elusive big buck? Are you sold out to getting one or do you just dream about it? There is no education better than being out in the wilds seeing, experiencing, reading signs, adjusting to seasons, weather and other factors. You must understand that your ability to harvest a big buck will completely rely on your willingness to adjust your thinking, your tactics and your determination to find and ultimately harvest that animal you have your mind set on. Let start:
1. Taking Big Bucks Requires Exceptional Tactics. You will not bag a trophy buck by using standard techniques like everyone else. In fact, it probably does not matter if there are big bucks in the area you hunt. The truth is that if you’re using all the normal tactics you will not get the monster. The really BIG bucks are old bucks. They do not grow old by falling prey to the normal tactics the majority of hunters use. Make sense?
2. You must hunt where big bucks live! It is so obvious, yet how many days or seasons have you spent hunting in areas where you never saw a really big buck? You must realize that not all areas hold even one really big buck, let alone a few. But it is a fact that some parts of different counties in the country hold many large bucks within a given area due to quite a few factors. Things like cover, food sources and other nutrition, hunting pressure, and genetics play a huge role in finding areas that hold big bucks. We sometimes deceive ourselves. We HOPE they are there. If your overriding goal is to find that monster – you need to find out where they are and hunt there. You cannot shoot what does not exist.
3. Be selective in what you shoot – do not shoot small bucks. Think about this – in most cases after you harvest your buck you are done for the season – so if your goal is to shoot a monster why do you harvest a smaller one? Let the smaller ones go, let them mature into bigger bucks, and wait for your monster to appear. Most veteran hunters that shoot big bucks will tell you that the larger bucks follow the smaller ones out – the big ones are much more weary. That is how they get to be monsters. If you are satisfied with shooting a smaller buck than you set your goal to shoot, then you are compromising and your interest and desire are lacking. If you are committed to taking the big one, do not take the first buck you see unless it meets your goal!
4. You will find that big bucks will frequently have wet feet. Huh? Yep – find areas where there is a creek bottom or lowland wet areas such as a swamp and other wetlands. Talk to the experienced hunters who have shot big bucks…. most of them will tell you that big bucks like to frequent the heavy cover and are loners in these areas. They like the thick cover the wetlands produce because it gives them security. Also, deer are excellent swimmers. It is nothing for them to swim major rivers, let alone creeks and lakes. When pressure increases the big bucks head for cover.
5. Let the experienced and successful hunters be your role models. It is no different than any sport or avocation. If you want to be great, if you want the big prize, if you really want that big buck you need to learn and do what other successful whitetail hunters have done to harvest their big bucks. While no situation is identical, remember that the 1% or 2% of the top deer hunters are very disciplined and have developed methods and skills that work consistently. They know and talk to others about deer locations, sightings, behavior, etc. Luck has helped some over time but by and large the hunters who take the big ones year after year know things you do not. Or perhaps they are more persistent.
6. Big, Old Bucks are unique and you must adjust your hunting accordingly. Some say you have to treat them like a different animal or a different species if you’re going to take one. Besides being older, they are wiser, heavier, more mellow, slower, and much more deliberate in their actions. The fact that they got to 4, 5, or 6 years old is an indication that they found a safe way to exist and avoid the hunters. These big boys will not typically run at the slightest pressure – they may hold tight. I have heard story after story about how smart the old bucks can be – they will swim, crawl, hold tight in cover, and use their natural color and stealth methods to avoid even the most experienced hunters. You must use different tactics for these big boys.
7. Hunt long and often. There is no exception to this rule. Big bucks are seldom taken by hunters who don’t spend lots of time in the field. If you only hunt a couple hours in the morning and a couple more in the evening you’re missing some of the best hours to bag a big buck! Lots of B+C bucks are taken in the late morning and noon hours. Surprised? Also, during the rut lots of big bucks have been seen checking their scrapes during the noon hour.
Get out in the field, scout those areas, then plan your approach and tactics. There’s so much more to deer hunting tactics and methods but these 7 Hot tips are a start.