Taking Advantage of the Buttonhook

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Big bucks have the nastiest habit of looping back on their own trails in order to see if anything is following them. I only had to be button hooked by big bucks a kajillion times before I figured out what they were up to.

Eventually and with some reluctance on my part, I discovered if I paralleled the deer’s trail 30 to 40 yards on the downwind side I had a much greater chance of intercepting him. It doesn’t wor k every time, nothing does, but for a change I was putting the odds in my favor.

The first time I tried this technique I killed a big 4 x 4 buck lying in his bed at seven yards. He was watching his back trail, expecting to catch me following him and was totally unaware of my presence until it was too late. I’ve been able to trail and harvest several big bucks over the years with this technique.

You can learn more about this and other techniques in my new book, Buck Naked; The Straight Dope on Trophy Whitetails. Available in bookstores and on the Internet.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,
Jim:

The Buck Communication Hot-Line

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Most communication between mature deer is through the use of scent. Every hunter knows about scrapes and some even understand their importance in buck hierarchy. While scrapes are important, they don’t start showing up until immediately before the rut. This leaves us wondering where the bucks are the rest of the year.
While all scrapes are used to communicate a bucks presence to other bucks, all scrapes are not equal. The scrapes which are most important are the ones with a well used “licking branch” above them. These are the scrapes which will be visited by several bucks.
The most important roll of scrapes to a hunter is in helping him to locate these “licking branches”.
To a deer, a licking branch has more meaning than a scrape. Bucks use “licking branches” throughout the entire year. Licking branches hold scent better than scrapes. Urine deposited in scrapes dissipates quickly. Pre-orbital scent on licking branches stays considerably longer.
One way to really get the a buck’s attention is to remove a licking branch from one area and place it over a scrape in an area where you plan to hunt. It won’t take long for the bucks to notice an intruder is in their area.
Licking branches get way more attention than scrapes.
-Jim

The Truth About Luck?

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Luck has been in my corner since day I shot my first whitetail buck.

I was extraordinarily lucky to be born in Idaho into a lower-middle class family with six children.

I was lucky enough to have parents, who worked hard for very little money, which has given me a good work ethic.

I was lucky to grow up in a time when hunting was a necessity, not a luxury. And boy was I lucky to have went to grade school with patches on my knees.

I’ve also been lucky to make friends with some of the best hunters in America. Lucky to have a father that would rather be hunting or fishing than at work.

What about your luck? Have you lucked out and been fortunate to have gone through similar struggles? Have you been given the inspiration to hunt harder than ever?

I can only hope you’ve been as lucky as I have over the years. And the old saying is true, you know, “The harder I work, the luckier I get”.

You can greatly increase your luck by learning from my mistakes and getting a copy of my book, Buck Naked.

Jim

Look for Easy Travel Routes

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Big bucks prefer to travel the easy way. Often they will follow a trail or abandoned logging road. When standing over a road or trail always set up on a curve. Deer can’t see around the bend and will often be in range when he comes into view.
Jim

http://jimcollyer.com/

Always Assume a Buck is Nearby

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

When calling deer, always assume a buck is nearby. Hunters are always looking for that buck to come charging in, but this doesn’t happen very often. Normally the largest bucks sneak in silently downwind of your location. Always make sure you have a good shooting lane downwind from your stand.

Jim

http://jimcollyer.com/

Where will the Deer Leave the Crop Field?

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Deer prefer to leave a crop field with the wind at their backs. I believe they do this naturally in order to detect any predators which might be following them. A change in wind direction will change where the deer leave the field. There’s no sense waiting for deer to leave the field unless the wind is directly in your face.

-Jim

http://jimcollyer.com/

Beware of the Bottoms

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

I try to keep my stand 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.

-Jim

http://jimcollyer.com/

Proficiency

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

The key measure of hunting success is the hunters proficiency. Your ability to locate game, remain undetected, and shoot straight are the measures of a woodsman. These skills have to become second nature to you.
-Jim

http://jimcollyer.com/

Identifying Primary Scrapes

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Primary scrapes are used by several deer and are generally reopened season after season. They are often found on high ground, in funnels, and where one buck’s territory intersects that of another. Primary scrapes always have a licking branch above them and several rubbed trees in the vicinity. I’ve seen primary scrapes as small as 3 feet in diameter and as large as a sheet of plywood.
-Jim

Patience

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

In a society that demands instant gratification, patience is a skill lost to most hunters. Few hunters can win a stare down with a buck. Fewer yet can wait patiently enough to harvest a good buck. Learning to be patient is a far more valuable skill than learning the right moves. Patience is the central requirement for you to become an ever more accomplished hunter.

-Jim