I get numerous questions regarding this and that, so I thought I would just post my outline, which is a summary of scouting and hunting down big bucks. If it helps you, great! If not, disregard it and use your own technique. I can’t seem to find a faster, more informative way to spell it out, so I hope you get something out of it!
How it’s done:
1. Locating early season, big bucks using 200-yard rule.
A. Locate water, bedding and food source all within 200 yards. JUST A STARTING POINT!
B. Micro scout the land in person. Look for big buck sign (early season sign) and adjust.
C. Locate staging areas.
D. Look for faint trails to and from food and water sources FROM BEDDING AREAS. Look for faint trails in the middle of hills. Big buck favorites!
E. Know habits of mature bucks and look for sign accordingly, i.e., a recluse, unsociable, a hermit, etc. Doesn’t want to be bothered.
F. Place trail camera (s) in strategic locations.
G. Rotate trail cameras back every 2-3 weeks from where the buck CAME FROM.
H. Map his route. Expect to see him once every 4-7 days on this route.
I. Remove or leave camera alone two weeks before season opener.
2. Plan the hunt.
A. Use thermals for elevations/ time of day. Cool times (in morning and evening) lower elevations. Heat of the day (usually around noon to late afternoon), higher elevations.
B. Type of habitat for increment weather. Extremely windy days = lower elevations. Fronts/driving rain = heavy cover, downed trees, etc.
C. Use different entry and exit paths daily.
D. Control your walk/sounds.
E. Scent control and camo. Blend in with surroundings. Great scenario for the Guille suit! Use carbon wash for scent control.
F. Deer DO see color! Humans have trichromatic sight (red green and blue) and deer have dichromatic sight (green and blue). Deer do see UV’s because they fall in the blue category. Deer have less cones (color receptors) but more rods (light and movement receptors). Use UV wash if needed.
G. Use a carbon mask if possible.
H. Hunt all day and refrain from multiple entries and exits.
3. Execute the hunt.
A. Use ears and eyes to detect sound and movement. Listen for sounds of the other animals in the woods! They can tell you what to expect.
B. Control your movement to a minimum. Move only when wind blows if possible.
C. When bow hunting, draw behind a tree or when the animal has its head turned away from you. Always draw and point the bow in the area where you EXPECT the animal to walk into! If you draw and then follow him with your bow, he may detect your movement and bust you.
D. Always kneel or stand next to a tree that’s larger than you or, if in the brush, remain on your knees. Make sure there is no gap between you and the tree as to “blend into” the tree and conceal your silhouette.
E. If too close to the animal, allow the deer to move past you and draw on him once he is quartered away from you. This is the most lethal shot anyway!
4. Prep the deer.
A. Once the deer is down, field dress and cool down the meat immediately. Leaving the entrails in the carcass will only create bacteria and taint the meat flavor. If mounting the deer, cool down the hide as fast as you can to ensure no slipping of the cape.
B. Always remember to tag the deer right after the kill.
C. Check the deer in!
A. Stick tongue in mouth.
B. Wipe off as much blood as possible.
C. Take picture as soon as possible.
D. If deer has to be quartered out to be removed from location before photo op, (or if deer has to be left for a period of time), try popping in glass eyes to make picture look better.
6. Public land.
A. Cut tongue out and take with you.
B. Tag immediately.
C. Field dress and stick a broadhead deep into carcass where it will be inconspicuous.
Note: To prevent a possible argument from someone claiming your deer, you can always show the game warden the tongue that came from the deer. You also can remove the buried broadhead from the carcass identifying your equipment in comparison to the person claiming the deer.