To Kill A Big Buck,Try Going Back To The Basics

Written by TheDeerwhisperer on Sunday, January 18, 2015


Like anything we do in life, the more we do it, more we read, hear, and learn, the more we tend to overthink things as its human nature to do so. As hunters, we tend to follow this path as well, the longer we hunt, the more we chase big bucks, we begin to overthink situations when hunting them. One trick I learned when I felt like I was overthinking things, was to slow down and start to ask myself “what would I do if I were the deer” and begin to simplify my thinking because believe it or not, there isn’t a whole lot of differences between how they go about their daily lives and how we live ours.

Think about it…we try to take the road of least resistance, young men and women usually do without thinking first, older we get the more cautious we get, females distract us in ways that could easily get us killed, as we move through life we learn from our experiences , identify trouble quicker, and avoid it if possible, and as we get later in age, we become more set in our ways and move a lot less, but when we do it is with purpose, all which applies to a deer’s life…also,deer are lazier than you might think by nature specially the older ones.

Deer really are simple minded animals, and when we stop over analyzing them and trying to make them larger than life, we tend to have more success in the deer woods even when we don’t realize it. How many times have you seen/heard newcomers to the sport killed a big buck? I hear it all the time and the first thing I used to say was “it had to be dumb luck” and although luck plays a role in it because you do have to be in the right place at the right time, they are also too new to overthink things, and tend to hunt by the basics and keep it simple. How many times have we banged our heads against the wall trying to decide what stand to hunt and after we over analyzed everything in our heads, the deer went to the stand we didn’t hunt even though our guts told us to go to there in the first place? When we are rushing from work or just late into the woods so we jump in a stand we don’t expect to see anything in, but it was the best option for being late and BAM, a good one shows up. Or the hunter who doesn’t care about big bucks just out there meat hunting, but kills a good buck every few years? I’m sure you can all add to this list as we are our own worst enemies and take ourselves out of positions to kill a big deer more often than big deer outwit us….think about it, deer don’t have the ability to have the tank battles that we do, in their heads haha.

Another example, whether private or public land most hunters try and figure out where the deer go to get away from pressure. Sometimes those spots are small and much closer then we think but again, we tend to overthink things and in some cases, we move ourselves further from the deer, because the deer never moved all that far. In some cases they do move further than we think, but they will usually stay within their home range as they are comfortable there and the older a buck becomes their home range usually shrinks. Hardest deer to kill are 4-5 year olds in my opinion as they move more at night and have pretty large home ranges still making them difficult to pattern. 5yrs old and up, they become much easier to pattern and kill as their home range shrinks a ton. 

Big bucks absolutely have different movement patterns in most cases then the rest of the herd, but with that said, they still move every day and they have basic needs to fill like every other deer in the woods. 

Here are the main things a big bucks needs to survive:
• Cover/security
• Seasonal food sources
• Water
• Women to breed

As you can see, not a really complicated list of things and food and water being the two most important, as like humans, they can’t not survive without them. This time of the year they want their greens, winter wheat, alfalfa, oats, and clover for example, as these will remain green when the deep frost hits unlike grass, and will keep their internal furnace going strong, so if you have the ability to hunt these types of food sources, they will give your best shot in the late season at locating a big boy.

Bottom line, big bucks are not magical, they can’t fly, or create underground tunnels to escape us. What they have to their advantage is not only the lack of property lines, but they lack the gift to overthink situations and live with simple needs to survive in mind. We as hunters are limited a lot of times by the property lines sure, but unfortunately, we tend to overthink everything while chasing a creature living a simple minded life, making it easier for them to survive. As they do their day to day routine and we run all around like cracked out squirrels trying to find the ghost that is going about its simple life shaking his head at us ahaha. So when you find yourself chasing your tail, feeling burnt out and banging your head against the wall, take a deep breath and go back to the basics you learned early on when starting out hunting and you might find yourself back being more successful…more importantly having more fun.

Also, you "can't kill what isn't there" so in many cases we just know a big boy has got to be there, reality he isn't, but thats a different write up for another time.

About The Author

A master of finding and harvesting big New Jersey whitetails with 5 NJ Pope & Youngs to...

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