Making Changes

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Time and again I run into hunters who are looking for success or are just plain waiting for success to find them. They dream of harvesting a trophy buck, but they just don’t know how to get started. It’s like the “big buck” is barely out of their reach. They are waiting for a break-through or a new and unique product that will revolutionize their hunting world. They have the misconception that if they can just hang in there long enough succ ess will find them. Sadly, it rarely works this way. The truth is, waiting for success to find you is like waiting to be struck by lightning. The odds are it won’t happen.

We must be willing to change ourselves and the way we hunt if we expect to change our results. I hope that you will join me as I uncover the truth about trophy hunting, what it takes to achieve consistent success.
Jim

The General Season is Here

Imagine yourself taking the biggest buck of you life this fall. Can you feel the excitement, the thrill?

With the general deer season just around the corner, you’ll want all the information you can get to ensure success this fall.

That’s why I wrote “BUCK NAKED, The Straight Dope on Trophy Whitetails”. I want to help you to become a more successful hunter.

You can purchase a copy of my book from Amazon.
Jim

http://www.amazon.com/Buck-Naked-Straight-Trophy-Whitetails/dp/1466498234

Who you hunt with….

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with.
And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes.
And the changes are what you become.
Change the outcome by changing who you hunt with..
The fastest way to become a better hunter is to start hanging out with better hunters.
You’ll only be as good as the average of your 5 best hu nting friends. Maybe you should make some new hunting friends?
Jim

Estrus Bleats

Photo courtesy Apple Creek Ranch

I have heard a lot of does bleat during the rut; the vast majorities were yearlings experiencing their first breeding season. The poor little darlings don’t know what to expect. All they know is that the buck keeps coming for them relentlessly. They feel the urge of blood calling to blood and they’re scared to death.
The doe lead s the buck into thick cover in an effort to escape him, not to find a cozy place where they can be alone.
As hunters we often try to impose noble human attributes to the animals we hunt. But there is nothing noble or gentlemanly about a whitetail buck, especially during the rut.
The estrus bleat is truly a rape bleat. The young doe is panicked. This sound is worth imitating because when an old buck hears this sound, he’ll know that some other buck is up to no good. He will think another buck is tending a young doe and will come in and attempt to steal the doe.

Jim

http://www.amazon.com/Buck-Naked-Straight-Trophy-Whitetails/dp/1466498234

Rut

Apple Creek Whitetails

There’s only one rut. That being when the does are receptive to the bucks.

Simply put, the rut takes place each fall over a couple of week period. Within that period, there is a narrow 4 to 6 day window where the majority of the does, let’s say 80%, are bred.

When a doe is experiencing her special moment, there will be bucks around. Usually there are several bucks hanging around.

Remember, if you are not seeing bucks, then you need to be looking where the action is.
Jim

http://www.amazon.com/Buck-Naked-Straight-Trophy-Whitetails/dp/1466498234

The 7 Deadly Sins of Whitetail Hunting

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

The 7 Deadly Sins of Whitetail Hunting

1) Lack of Scouting

The number one cause for failure in whitetail hunting is the lack of scouting. The second greatest cause for failure in whitetail hunting is not knowing what to look for while scouting. Proper scouting is for more than just seeing big deer. We must learn to differentiate between deer sign left by does and deer sign left by bucks. Furthermore, we must be able to differentiate average buck sign from exceptional buck s ign.

2) Lack of Scent Control

Too often hunters enter the field with little regard to their scent. Scent control requires more than simply wearing clean unscented clothing. We must be aware of wind direction at all times and how the morning and evening thermals drift our scent through the forest. Cover scents are nice, but seldom do they put venison in the freezer.

3) Lack of Awareness

We must stay focused on the task at hand. If we allow our thoughts to drift elsewhere, when the buck shows we won’t be ready. Hunting trophy deer often involves many hours of boredom. Keeping our minds in the now is crucially important. One way to help accomplish this is to focus on our breathing whenever we find our thoughts wandering away from the hunt.

4) Lack of Shooting Proficiency

Practice, practice, practice. We should be so familiar with our bow or rifle that shooting it and shooting it accurately is second natur e to us. A hunter fiddling around with a weapon he is unfamiliar with has saved the lives of more big bucks than just about anything else.. Our focus needs to be on seeing dear. The shooting should be automatic.

5) Lack of Whitetail Knowledge

Deer are not people. We tend to attribute human characteristics to the deer. Unfortunately, deer view the world completely different than humans do. An understanding of how deer react to different stimulus is critical. We need to understand both a deer’s physical needs and which type of habitats deer prefer.

6) The Inability to Adapt to Changes in Deer Behavior

Nothing in nature is static. Everything is in constant flux. Weather and wind direction can change rapidly. A food source that was available weeks ago has now dried up. We must constantly evaluate changes in the environment which affect deer behavior and adjust our strategies and tactics to adapt to the current situation.
7) Lack of True Intent

Odds are you will only harvest a buck as big as what you are willing to settle for. Hunters with a good visual image of the buck they want generally harvest bigger bucks. Simply stated, everyone wants a big buck, but if you’re willing to settle for less that’s what you’ll get.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,

Jim

http://www.amazon.com/Buck-Naked-Straight-Trophy-Whitetails/dp/1466498234

The Lifeblood of Hunting

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Of all the skills you can learn to be more successful, scouting is by far the single most valuable skill you could ever master.

Although it seems a daunting task, scouting is one of the easiest and fastest skills to master. It’s also one of the most misunderstood skills.

In fact, if you are a hunter or thinking about becoming one, you will need to develop your scouting skills, and fast. Don’t for even a minute start thinking your hunting style is different and you will never have to do any real scouting.

Your success in hunting will depend directly on your ability to scout deer effectively.

Scouting is the life-blood from which all your hunting dreams and goals are accomplished. So how can you learn to scout better without working so hard at it?

Good Luck and Good Hunting,

Jim

Hunt Rub Lines

I prefer hunting over rub lines as opposed to scrape lines. First off, bucks make rubs, does don’t. Secondly, bucks rub trees for three months each fall, while ground scrapes are limited to a few of weeks during the rut. Thirdly, scrape lines almost always follow rub lines. You can take it to the bank. Most important, it is far easier to tell the potential size of a buck from a rub than from a scrape.
I’m looking for a tree with a rub length of 24 ” or more.

Hunting rubs is more effective earlier in the fall before the urgency of the rut sets in.

Jim

Antler Rattling

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Rattling is most effective immediately prior to and immediately after the prime rutting period. Even though I’ve rattled and several whoppers, it’s not my favorite method of calling. Horn rattling can be a little too aggressive for the more timid big buck.

Big bucks are increasingly wary in areas where a lot of hunters are pounding antlers together. However, in areas with little hunting pressure it is still one of the most effective w ays to harvest a big buck. Just remember the buck always approaches from downwind in hopes of catching the scent of the bucks he believes are fighting. It’s important to have a good shooting lane downwind from your rattling position.

I begin by crashing the antlers together. Then I twist and work the antlers together in an effort to imitate the sounds of two bucks sparring. My entire rattling sequence only lasts about 15 seconds. I try not to rattle more than once every 10 to 15 minutes because the last thing I want is a buck to catch me rattling. It’s happened more than once and every time the results have been less than desirable.

Today, I rely more on bleat calls and grunt calls. I still carry rattling horns with me, but use them more as a last ditch effort.

Many times I’ll have a big buck approaching my stand and for no good reason at the last minute he’ll turn and walk out of range. As soon as he is out of sight, I’ll crash the antlers together for a few seconds. Often, if the buck is not on a hot doe’s trail, he’ll immediately return to investigate and I’ll be waiting.
Jim

Stand Placement

Apple Creek Whitetails Picture

Morning stands are generally more productive than evening stands. With the exception of early-season hunting in mountainous terrain. In those instances an evening stand at the base of the mountain is for more productive since it utilizes the evening air thermal direction.

For the rest of the season morning stands rule. I try to keep my stan d on the highest ground possible. There is more deer activity in the bottom lands during daylight hours, but the danger of the daytime air thermals lifting your scent and spreading it for several hundred yards in all directions is just too great. Always opt for a stand high on the ridge.

Throughout most of the United States the prevailing wind direction comes out of the southwest. Approaching from the east keeps us from stinking the whole place up before we even start to hunt. I like to keep my stand, whether it’s a tree stand or a ground blind, on the eastern side of the funnel for the same reasons.

It’s hard to find a perfect set up, but the basic principles of wind direction, undetected approach and concealment hold true no matter where you hunt. Having the prevailing wind in your face and an undetected approach to the stand are crucial for consistent success.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,

Jim