To Take a Buck

At age ten (1945) I asked my uncle Jack how to hunt a big buck. “You have to be at the right place at the right time,” he said. Though confusing at first, early in my later whitetail studies I discovered this was a very good answer no matter what class of whitetail you wish to take.

It’s simple. The “right place” is a trail or site being used by a big buck (or other deer) during any day of a hunting season, which will very likely be same trail, site or vicinity the deer will pass through or spend time in during the next three whitetail feeding periods—unless alarmed by a hunter, including you, in the vicinity meanwhile. The right place” will be made evident by very fresh tracks and/or droppings of a walking deer (differing sizes of tracks and droppings reveal classes of deer that made them).

 The “right time” is simple too. Whitetails are most active (during hours they can be hunted), doing almost everything they do in addition to feeding and drinking water, in the morning between first light and ten AM and in the evening between two hours before sunset until dark. If you know how various factors such as differing weather and the five phases of the rut alter these hours, you can narrow it down further.

 The problem is, how can you get close enough to the right spot at the right time for an easy shot before the deer there realizes you are approaching and sneaks away unseen and unheard or bounds noisily away with all possible speed, thereafter avoiding the site? This is the part of deer hunting that requires knowledge of whitetail habits and behavior during hunting seasons, special (wolf-like) hunting skills afoot, alertness, patience and the ability to make it very difficult for nearby whitetails to discover and identify you via airborne and trail  scents, sounds characteristic of hunting humans, motions and your unique human silhouette. Sometimes you get lucky, but over the long run you generally get what you earn via your application of your level of knowlwedge and skills in whitetail hunting.

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