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,


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.


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.


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.


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.

Feeding Patterns

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Ambushing deer on their way to a primary food source is one of the best ways to harvest trophy animals. However, a hunter who understands a deer’s feeding pattern during the middle of the day will be more successful year in and year out. Take time to find out what plants the deer feed on during the day and plan to hunt those areas this fall. If left undisturbed the deer will bed right in th e middle of these spots. It’s always best to play in front of the deer and getting into these spots before the deer do is essential.


The importance of scrapes

Whitetail bucks are very territorial. Scraping activity has more to do with letting other bucks know he is in the area than it does with attracting does, think of it as very similar to how male dogs mark areas belonging to them. I’m sure that you have seen how the pooch lifts his leg on the corners of buildings, bushes, car tires, and fire hydrants, and then how the next dog to pass by will leave his own little remembrance in the same locations. It’s as if whoever pees last wins.

Bucks will check out scrapes to see if there are other deer in the area. If you want to hunt over scrape, just be sure it’s in an area where the buck feels comfortable during daylight hours.


The Houdini Effect

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Bucks seem to appear out of nowhere and vanish into thin air. It’s so common, we expect it. Houdini couldn’t preform such magic or could he?

The magic isn’t in the buck’s movement. In reality, it’s a problem within our own minds. Understanding how we see and what we don’t see can greatly improve your hunting success. More often than not, the deer moved in plain sight. We just failed to see it.

A deer’s eyes are on the sides of its head to help in the detection of movement. Our eyes are located on the front of our faces to ad in depth perception and focus. However, we are only able to achieve sharp focus in about 1/1000th of our entire field of vision. Everything outside of our center of vision becomes blurry and darkened. It’s a loophole in our brain and the deer take advantage of it. This ability to focus keeps us from seeing a lot of what’s going on around us. It’s the same tactic magicians use to fool us with “sleight of hand” tricks.

Let me explain:

Have you ever seen the magician’s trick where he hides a ball under one of three cups? Quickly, he moves the cups around and we are to guess which cup the ball is under. We get it wrong almost every time. While we focused on the cup the ball was originally under, the magician slides the ball to another cup. We missed it. This happens because our minds have trained our eyes to focus on objects and not on the gaps between objects.

Humans focus in extremely high resolution. This leaves our peripheral vision capable of only low resolution. Our minds can only focus s on one thing at a time. We draw associations of where we expect the deer to appear or re-appear, when the buck doesn’t show where we expected, we sharpen our focus and miss any movement in our peripheral vision. A lot of this movement is in plain sight, believe it or not. An enhanced field of vision is an illusion.

The more we concentrate our focus, the less we see in our peripheral view, and the more action we miss. This tendency to focus on objects, rather than the gaps between objects, is called unintentional blindness.

As hunters, our eyes focus on trees, rocks, and limbs. We wait for a deer to appear and miss a lot of going on in the gaps. Those gaps are where the deer are moving. We just missed it. The brown color of the deer just makes its escape easier.

Try not to let your mind see what it expects to see. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll see, if can lose this concentration and become more aware of everything around you. It doesn’t matter if you are still hunting, tracking or stand hunting, if you ease up on your concentration and instead look into the gaps, you’ll see a lot more deer.


Keep the Sun at Your Back

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Always approach deer or place your stand where the sun is at your back. A face bathed in sunlight is just too easy to be seen by the buck. I often use one stand for morning hunts and another for evening hunts to take advantage of the suns angle.

Bucks on Does are Tough Customers

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Most bucks will not leave a doe to respond to calling. Try calling in areas where more than one buck is present or in funnels where the lone buck feels comfortable traveling during daylight hours.