Are you a deer hunter with the dream of killing a trophy buck?
You must understand that consistently harvesting a big buck will completely rely on whether you are willing to throw your old small buck mentality and normal tactics out the window to ultimately shoot the buck you have set your mind on killing.
Here are some tips:
Change Your Small Buck Mentality!
You won't bag a trophy by using the same techniques that you have been using on the smaller bucks and does. Regardless of whether there are big bucks in the area you hunt. The truth is... that if you're using all your old small buck tactics, you are probably going to miss out on bagging a monster buck. ALL really BIG bucks are old bucks and it only makes sense that they don't grow old by falling prey to normal deer hunting tactics. You must use big buck tactics to consistently bag the monster bucks. You notice I said consistently. Even some lucky novice hunters have accidently wandered upon and killed a mature buck. But to consistently kill older more mature bucks you must think like an old buck.
Hunt Where The Monster Bucks Live
Sounds simple huh? Yet, how often do hunters spend hunting in areas where they never saw a really big buck? If you want to bag a monster you have to maximize your chances of finding one. Some areas don't hold even one really big buck, let alone a few. Here are a few factors to remember when looking for a big buck area.
Cover - mature bucks like plenty of cover. Places like thickets and hard to reach places are usually a good bet.
Food Source - bigger bucks need to eat to prepare for the long New York winter after breeding. If you
find a good food source next to good cover you might have a winner.
Hunting Pressure - Monster bucks aren't real fond of being pursued by hunters and the more hunting pressure there is the harder the big bucks will be to find. Plus, with heavy hunting pressure comes more human scent which is a hunters worst enemy. A sure way to get the big boys to hole up tight.
These factors might seem obvious - but we sometimes deceive ourselves into hoping there are big bucks in the area. If your goal is to find real monster bucks - you need to find out where they are and hunt there. You can't shoot a ghost that doesn't exist.
Be Selective in What you Shoot
Don't shoot the small bucks! If you take a four or six point buck every year on opening day at 7am, you have harvested your buck and are done for the season. So... if your goal is to shoot a monster buck, why would you harvest a smaller one? Is your goal really to find the big monster bucks? If so, let the smaller ones go to mature into bigger bucks. There is a reason that most larger bucks follow the smaller ones, because the big bucks are much more weary. That's how they get to be big bucks. So, if you continue to shoot a smaller buck than you set your goal to shoot, then you are compromising. That means that your true desire to shoot a big buck is lacking. If it's a trophy buck that you truly desire you will take as long as it takes to achieve your goal.
Monster Bucks Love Swamps and Wetland Areas
Any experienced big buck hunter will tell you that mature bucks like to frequent the heavy cover around these areas. They like the thick cover the wetlands produce because it gives them security. Deer are excellent swimmers. It is nothing for them to swim accross a big body of water. The more the pressure, the deeper big bucks head into this kind of cover. Even small patches of land in the middle of water will hold a big buck when the pressure is on. It is the perfect vantage point for him to see any approaching predators
The farther away from other hunters the better. The more human traffic in a given area the less chance you have of finding that big monster buck. Small, heavily hunted areas usually don't hold the monster bucks. Remote areas or land that has limited access for others are best. The Adirondacks are a good example. I know many big buck hunters that track the remote parts of these mountains by themselves and have filled there walls with trophy bucks. You must think of increasing your odds if you're going to find that big one and staying away from others in the field will help you do that. Be a loner when you hunt for big bucks.
Learn From Successful Big Buck Hunters
Like anything else you want to be good at you need to learn and do what other successful whitetail hunters have done to harvest their big bucks. Take the best ideas and the ideas that fit you and try them. 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 don't. Or perhaps they are more persistent.
Big Mature Bucks Are a Different Animal
and you need to treat them as such. They are older, wiser, heavier, more mellow, slower, and much more deliberate in their actions. Just the fact that they have made it to a ripe old age indicates that they have found a safe way to exist and avoid hunters. They don't typically panic and run at the slightest sign pressure and may often hold tight and wait for the hunters next move. The younger, less experienced bucks will usually flee sending them into the path of another hunter. Mature bucks have learned to swim, crawl, hold tight in cover, and use their natural color and stealth methods to avoid even the most experienced hunters. It will take all of your senses and an adjustment in your usual methods to get close to even seeing and shooting one.
Older Bucks Aren't Predictable
You shouldn't be Either. It just doesn't make sense that if monster bucks were predictable that they would live long. So, don't plan on patterning the big bucks too easily. And like the big bucks you need to make sure that they can't pattern you. Avoid going to the same area a lot. Hunt different areas now and then. Big, old bucks learn and adjust. You must do the same. Change up your plan of attack, the way you enter an area, etc.
Put in the Time
There is no exception to this rule. Older bucks aren't on a schedule. They don't have to be anywhere at any certain time. If you only hunt a couple hours in the morning and a couple hours in the evening you might be missing your opportunity to bag a monster buck! You can't kill a big buck from the diner or from the comfort of you livingroom couch. It only stands to reason that the more hours spent in the woods the better your chances of seeing a monster buck. If you don't have the time or won't take the time, there is a good chance that you will never have a big buck mount hanging on your wall.
You can't do the same things over and over and expect to get different results. Remember there are no rules, just tips, ideas and experiences. Sometime the most unorthodox thing creates success when it comes to killing big bucks.
I once tracked a buck for two days. Both days reaching an empty bed with running tracks making their way out the end of the long finger of woods I was hunting. On the third day I decided to approach the woods off the track from a different direction only to come to the same empty bed. Only this time I made my mind up that I would run after the buck, on the track that left the bed, to a ravine that was located at the end of the finger of woods. Hoping to catch the buck on the other side of the ravine for a shot. Sure enough after a tiring run through the snow I reached the ravine and looked across to find the handsome 10-pointer standing on the other side about 100 yards away. Shortly after I was dragging him to my truck. Thinking outside the box is sometimes the best monster buck hunting method.