Do you know the way to bigger bucks?

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Here’s an exercise for you; imagine that it’s possible for you to harvest bucks much bigger than you currently are. If you’re taking 120″ bucks, imagine for a moment that it’s possible for you to take 150″ bucks consistently.

The first reaction of most people to that exercise is to smile briefly and then to begin thinking about why it isn’t possible. One man said to me, “If you knew how hard it’s for me to harvest the quality of bucks I’m currently taking, you wouldn’t be suggesting that I could start harvesting larger bucks consistently.”

Well, my response to that is “Don’t sell yourself short.”

Mark Twain once wrote: “there are a thousand excuses for every failure but never a good reason.”

The truth is, the average American hunter has the potential to harvest far bigger bucks than he or she is doing currently.

That’s why I created a special book for you called “Buck Naked.”

Increase your hunting potential today,

Jim

Hitting Running Deer

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

If you can’t hit a running animal, you’re missing a lot of action.
Why is it shooting at a standing bird (ground sluicing) is considered un-sportsman like, while shooting at a running deer is un-ethical. For the life of me, I can’t see the difference.
Hitting running deer can be a daunting task even for experienced shooters. However, there are a few tricks, which will greatly improve your shooting performance at running deer.
There are two schools of thought on hitting running game with a high powered rifle. They are the swing through and the sustained lead.
Swinging through the deer is the same as swinging a shotgun at a flying bird. The hunter moves the cross-hairs through the target and squeezes the trigger when the cross-hairs pass the intended target.
Sustained lead is just that. The hunter leads the deer with his cross-hairs and hopes the deer runs into the bullet. Unfortunately, this rarely works out.
A rifleman with a good swing is about 5 times more successful at hitting running game than one using the sustained lead method.
Here’s how to master the swing:

Mounting the Rifle
One common mistakes most hunters make is properly mounting the rifle. The tendency is to bring the butt of the rifle up to your shoulder. The butt of the rifle can easily get hung-up on our heavier hunting jacket making it difficult to get a consistent mount. It’s best to practice pushing the rifle away from your body and then bringing it straight back to the shoulder. Good shooter practice their mount before they go to the range.

Gripping the Rifle
Learning to mount your rifle properly will ensure a good solid anchor of the rifle to your shoulder. Equally important is learning how to properly grip the forearm. A good shooter will extend their index finger and aline it with the barrel. Where the finger points, the barrel also points. This makes it a lot easier to follow the deer with the muzzle.

Trigger Pull
A good trigger pull will greatly improve your shooting at all game, moving or not. Factory triggers tend to be stiff, have excessive pull or both. A hunter should never have to force the trigger. If you have to put too much pressure on the trigger or there is too much slop in the pull, you’re likely to slow or even stop your swing causing a miss. The rifle should go off easily when the hunter wants it to. I like my hunting trigger to be crisp, with a pull between 2 and 3 pounds. Any gunsmith can help you adjust your trigger to the proper pull.

Swing and Follow Through
A good swing and follow through is a lot like playing baseball. The batter keeps his eye on the ball and doesn’t stop his swing when he hits the ball. He follows through. Likewise, a batter has to time his swing to make contact with the ball. If he gets excited and swings too fast or too slow, he’ll miss the ball all together. These same principle apply to shooting.
Our natural tendency is to stop the swing once the rifle goes off. This inevitably causes our shot to land behind the deer. If we swing too fast or try to speed up our swing, we’ll shoot in front of the deer. Practicing your swing and follow through is essential if you want to become an accomplished shot at running game.
It’s best to keep the rifle moving at the same speed as the deer and slowly increase the speed of the muzzle and squeeze the trigger when the cross-hairs pass through the deer.
Just like a batters focus is on the ball and not the bat, our focus should always be on the deer not the cross-hairs. If we shift our focus between the deer and the cross-hairs, our swing will be erratic and we’ll miss.

Hitting running deer isn’t easy. It never is. However, if you follow these four simple tricks, you’ll greatly improve your odds at hitting the running buck.

Jim

Look for secondary food sources

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Don’t focus all of your attention on primary food plots. While we see a lot of does and smaller bucks in the fields at dawn and dusk, the big bucks will tend to visit these locations only under the cover of darkness.

We are better of finding secondary food sources such as mast crops in heavier cover. Bucks often go to ma st before entering the primary food source. Look for acorns, apples, berries, honeysuckle, and other soft browse in your area.

Jim

Shy Old Bucks

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

A lot of hunters don’t realize that, as a buck matures, his core area often shrinks. A big bucks living quarters can be as small as 150 acres or 1/4 square mile. Theses are small sections of land which receive little or no human contact. Oddly, a lot of these secluded tracts are near heavily populated areas. All that’s required is feed, cover, and little human interference.

Bucks which inhabit these areas have become experts at avoiding human contact. They are skittish and wary. The good news is-these bucks generally try to return to these secluded patches of cover daily, even during the rut.

Once you’ve located a bucks core area, the best way to hunt him is to stay with his does and wait for him to make an appearance. Since these shy old bucks tend to check their does at night, some careful scouting will be required. I like to setup between the buck and his does and as close to his core area as possible without disturbing it.

Jim

Stuck in a Rut

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Nearly every time hunters are successful, they think they have discovered a “Gold Mine” for hunting trophy bucks.

We tend to over hunt an area or over use a tactic to the point where we are educating the buck as to our presence. Wary, old bucks learn to pattern hunters better then hunters learn to pattern wary, old bucks.

Once a good deer is located, a void hunting him until conditions are perfect. Even then, we should avoid approaching the stand from the same direction every time we hunt. It’s best to change things around a bit and keep that buck on his toes or hoofs.

Jim

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

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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

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

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