Everyone wants to be able to get that buck this season. We’re here to help you do that. Whether you’re tracking down a trophy buck that you know is out there or you’re just itching to put meat in that deep freeze, we got you covered.
These tips will help you land a buck in any weather, in any place, and under any circumstances. Trust me, it’s not enough just to know where the bucks at. You gotta outsmart him too.
Want more than just general stuff? Don’t worry, we’ll get there. These are just some basic things to remember. When you read them you might say “Yea, I knew that, already.” But sometimes you forget what you know and you don’t yet know what you don’t know. So read on:
A.) You want to make sure you only shoot within your comfortable range. The bucks 400 yards and you’re comfortable at 250? Let him walk.
B.) Look up on google maps the area you’re hunting before you hunt it so you can locate funnels and pinch points. Funnels should lead to your pinch point which is where you should be waiting.
C.) To keep moisture out of the muzzle of your gun just cover it with electrical tape. Why? Moisture in the muzzle can affect accuracy. Worst, it can rust your gun. Don’t worry – the bullet passes right through the tape on the shot.
D.) Try to not alter your hunting area. Cutting down bushes and trees can be helpful to give you a clear shot – but Big Buck knows when somethings not right. Keep it natural.
E.) Keep your gun and bow within easy reach. Remember, you might need to go to the bathroom. Or you might set it down to eat that protein bar. Don’t be that guy that’s got the story but no rack to show for it.
Scouting The Area Before Season:
An expert hunter always scouts his hunting grounds before he’s actually on the hunt. All predators know their territories. Whether it’s wolf, mountain lion, or man.
A.) Take note of dense, heavy vegetation and thick underbrush. This is where the does and bucks will be bedded down. They’re always going to be in the place you don’t want to go.
B.) It’s good to keep your area a secret if you can. More hunters mean less deer. It’s not selfish, it’s just logistics.
C.) While you’re scouting you’ll be able to find the area the deer bed down. It’s important to take note of this on your map and make sure to choose an entry point into the woods where you are downwind of the deer when you go on the hunt.
D.) Notice your physical strength while scouting. Tired from scouting? Then you’ll be tired while hunting. Better hit the gym!
E.) Use tick repellant during the summer and early fall season when you’re scouting. They’re nasty and you don’t want ´em, trust me.
Scouting The Area D
uring Hunting Season:
A.) When it’s rut season and you’re hunting the bucks will be scraping often. Look for these scrapes in the deep underbrush.
B.) If there is snow on the ground you can find signs of deer where they paw their hoof at the snow to uncover mast which is the shrubs and vegetation that they eat.
C.) If you meet other hunters, talk to them! Some are willing to share secrets or even trade secrets. You can even go as far as getting involved in online hunting forums where secrets are often shared.
D.) Don’t be afraid to branch out to new hunting areas. You might be attached to one spot but remember – the deer learn the hunters and will re-pattern their traveling behaviors to avoid known hunting grounds.
Controlling Your Scent:
No, we´re not saying you need to take a bath. Okay, well maybe you do. But it’s because the deer get easily spooked by the smell of humans. They don’t really like us much cause, well, we eat them.
A.) Wash with scent free soap for yourself. Use scent free detergent for your clothes. Use a towel that you use just for hunting when you bathe – not the one you’ve been using all week. You can even go as far as scent eliminating breath spray. A non-smelling human is a stealthy human.
B.) Use your odor eliminator before you walk to your tree stand AND after. Your perspiration can weaken the effects after you walk but you want to make sure the buck doesn’t smell you on the way there.
C.) On the drive up, wear different clothes. You can put your hunting clothes in a plastic bag or in some other container and just change when you’re going out to hunt. Some hunters even put dirt and leaves in with their hunting clothes to keep it natural.
D.) You can find rubber boots that are even better than standard hunting boots to eliminate odor if you want to take that extra step. Get it? Ya, we’re funny. Movin’ on.
Here are some details on a proper de-scenting regimen you can follow in video form:
Your Tree Stand Game:
A.) Practice setting up your tree stand and getting in and out of it. You want to be quiet, so as not to spook any bucks that might be nearby.
B.) As a safety measure, it can be a good idea to have a full body harness for getting in and out of your tree stand.
C.) Understand thermals and wind direction when setting up your stand. This will help you understand where to place the stand to have the best effect. Thermals cause the air to lift up and roll over hills when the sun starts to heat up everything, so you might be downwind of the buck until thermals kick in and wind direction is important so you’re staying upwind of the bucks. This is again why it’s important to have a good scent control regimen.
More on thermals and wind direction:
D.) If you need to move, move super slow. Movement is a red danger signal to any deer.
E.) Use a rangefinder to mark your yardage beforehand. It’ll give you faster reflex time when the buck walks within your range.
F.) Deer will eventually figure out where you are if you use the same route to the tree stand so don’t be afraid to change it up.
G.) It’s a good idea to bring a bottle to pee in. You’ll be really annoyed to get up in your tree stand to realize you need to go all the way back down to pee and risk spooking the deer.
A.) Use tree stand blinds to blind out the entire tree stand. Max concealment is always best if you can manage it.
B.) Here’s a good one – be patient. It’s easy to understand when there’s no deer – but when the buck comes, make sure it’s a good shot. If not, wait. If the shot doesn´t present itself – let him walk.
C.) Be conscious of the sounds you make. No coughing or sneezing! You know, if you can manage. The big one is to turn off that cell phone or at least mute it.
D.) If you can see the deer’s face, odds are they can see yours. Cover up your face with some camouflage paint to blend in. You’ll feel like you’re on a special ops mission, too, so that’s cool.
E.) Anything that’s on you that’s reflective or shiny make sure to cover it up. You can get camouflage tape to cover it up. It really is that easy. F.) Stalking deer on a windy or rainy day can actually play to your advantage. Ya, it’s rough. But it’s actually rough for the deer too. It’s harder for them to smell and see you.
Scouting The Buck:
A.) A common hobby of hunters is shed hunting. Yea, bucks shed after rut season which is after you’re done hunting them. What I’m saying here is that you want to look for the sheds pre-season because odds are the same buck is sticking around that area for the upcoming season. Sheds from the previous season will lead you into bigger bucks. As long as there aren’t a ton of other hunters around.
B.) Sheds are often found where a buck has to jump. I.e: a fence or a creek. It’s also good to check southern facing ridges where the bucks go to absorb up some sun.
C.) You can also set up some incognito game cameras that send you an MMS picture to your phone when it detects movement. Make sure to bring batteries with you when you go to check on the cameras so you don’t have to check them as often.
Also, the direction of your camera is important. Face it north if possible, or at least south. But not east or west – you’re gonna get hit with a sunrise or sunset and glare out the picture.
Strategic Buck Hunting:
A.) Let the small bucks walk. Why? You want the big trophy bucks, right? A good hunter knows that the small ones grow into big ones. Let ‘em walk.
B.) Hunting with a bow? Deer will jolt or “duck the arrow” when they hear the bowstring. It’s better to aim a little lower to compensate for this.
C.) If you’re hunting on you’re property then make a safe haven for the deer. Plant some vegetation for a food plot and some apple trees. All sorts of stuff they’ll like and they’ll be sure to stick close by. Then post keep out signs so no curious hunter wanders in. This is deer-only-zone where no human goes in. Yes. That includes you.
D.) Watch the deer’s reaction after you hit him. It can give you info on where you hit the deer. Also, take note of the direction the deer runs and point out landmarks in your mind to follow as you track the deer. Things to look for when tracking: Blood on the bushes, broken branches, deer tracks.
Attracting The Buck:
A.) If the big trophy buck comes in but the shots no good – let him walk. I know…I know…but let him walk.
B.) Know when to use doe estrus or dominant buck scent. Itś only gonna work during the primary rut and you can use it if you see fresh buck scrapes or even a buck chasing a doe.
C.) You can also use a deer decoy. Genius, huh?
D.) Use a grunt call during primary rut season. If you don´t see any bucks you use 2-3 grunts every 30 minutes or so. See a buck? Use one or two long grunts to try and get his attention and turn him your way.
If you get him to turn your way it´s best to use a tending grunt. These are short little grunts with the call your using. A buck will do this when it is tending a doe and essentially saying ¨Stop, so we can breed.” It will bring that other buck coming right for you. Don´t grunt at a buck that´s already coming at you though, it´s more successful to just let him keep walking until he´s in range.
Not sure what I mean with the grunts? This video really helps break down the different grunts I´m talking about so you can hear them:
E.) You can also do a snort-wheeze call, which is an aggressive call that tells another buck ¨I´m here, what are you gonna do about it?”. You want to use antlers or a rattler tool to do the rattling antlers sound too if you got them. Here´s a video for the snort-wheeze sound so you can hear it:
F.) The last thing for attracting the buck is not to overuse the scents and the deer call. You really got to feel it out and just know that every buck is different. A less dominant buck will get scared off by the snort-wheeze call, just as an example.
For the grunt call, every 30 minutes is good if you don´t see a buck around and if you do see one then you´re gonna have to feel it out with the buck. It´s you and him now.
You Shot Him!
Here are some good tips for when you actually land the shot. You´ve been through Hunter´s Ed so you already know where to shoot the deer, but how do you know if you got him in the right spot?
A.) Brown hair and pink or red blood with bubbles in it is a good sign. You probably got him in the heart or lung. If you watched the direction he ran, then he should be about 100 yards that direction.
B.) Brown hair and thick dark blood means your shot was too far back. Probably hit him in the liver. This gives him about 200 yards before he beds down his final time. Not terrible.
C.) White hair and watery blood is bad news. This means you got a gut shot deer. This sucks for the deer and for you. You´re in for the long haul now. The general consensus is to wait about 12 hours before you start tracking.
The deer can live for 48 hours or longer. They´ll be in shock. Don´t approach it if you find it and it´s wandering around – it´s a wounded animal. It´s good to know that the deer will go near water and usually bed down to die around there. When you find it – poke its eye with a stick or the barrel of a gun to make sure he´s dead. If you got this far you´re an honorable hunter. Thank you for your determination. Hoo-rah.
I Tip My Hat To You…
Thanks for reading through the tips! Now you got a whole wealth of information where this seasons going to be awesome for you. I wish you the best of luck and may the wind be always in your favor. Happy hunting!