How To Hunt Deer On 30 Acres

iowa bow giant 2013

I got an email from a guy who landed permission to hunt a 30-acre block of woods. He had 2 questions. Is that spot big enough to kill a good buck, and if so how should he hunt it?

First, hell yeah, 30 acres or even 20 is big enough. Monsters are shot in small habitats like that every year.

On any new property, you’ve got to find out what kind of terrain and vegetation you’re dealing with. Right now is time to check the property. Spend a day and walk every inch of it; carry an aerial map or consult Google Earth as you go for reference. Walk and look for funnels, edges, little ridges, etc. where deer will move onto and off the land. Don’t worry if you spook some deer, they will be back.

Check the treetops for green acorns. When the nuts start falling, deer will find them, so look for an afternoon stand site close by. While the timber on the 30 provides some cover, the more thickets in there the better. If the whole place turns out to be basically one big thicket that is okay, it will be a great place for morning hunting, especially if there are crop fields nearby.

Set out at least 2 cameras on trail or funnels on either end of the 30, and check it regularly to get an idea not only of the bucks there, but also deer travel patterns.


A big key to hunting 30 is not to push deer out when you go in. Look for easy, quiet, downwind routes that won’t take you busting through thick cover where deer bed. Plan your in and out routes to skirt spots where deer will likely be.

My favorite stand on a small spot is off-wind of a super trail on a ridge or near a creek that cuts through the entire property. Watch the main highway enough and you will see some bucks.

Hunt in early bow season, but don’t overdo it and burn out the 30. The November rut is the best time to kill a monster. Also, you have a great opportunity when gun season opens later this fall. Climb into your best stand on the 30 and sit all day. When other guys swarm and shoot on lands all around, some bucks will flee to your little spot, especially if it’s thick. I guarantee that without even seeing the land.

12 Giant Road-Kill Bucks

I saw the first one below today on Twitter, and it got me to thinking about all the huge road-kills I’ve seen and posted on BIG DEER over the years. What a shame these magnificent animals had to die this way, unceremoniously whacked by a car or truck. I’m sure hunters had most if not all of the bucks on camera:

pa roadkill 2018

Pennsylvania, Mifflin County, 2018

va buck hit may - Copy

Virginia May 2018

IN roadkill

Indiana 2018

oa roadkill 2017

Oklahoma 2017

KY raodkill

Kentucky, Fort Campbell, 2017

iowa tital

Iowa “Titan”

KS roadkill

Kansas 2015

alabama roadkill

Alabama 2016

OK 2012

Oklahoma 2012

MD double drop

Maryland Double-Drop 2012

Va 2012

Virginia 2012

bear eats deer

Pennsylvania, Warren County, 2010

How To Scout A Big Buck In Late Summer

spotting milk river compressGuest blog w/great tactical information from my friend and traditional bowhunter Luke Strommen, a charter member of the Big Deer Hunt Team:

One time I spotted a gnarly 6×6 during my scouting and glassing routines in the summer. The mature whitetail used his primary core area throughout July and August. I saw him many times and took some distant digital images of him from one of my tree stands. He would browse in an irrigated alfalfa field, and having completed his evening ritual, he’d sneak off to spend the night in a 20-acre corn field nearby.

He continued this pattern into the early archery season in September, consistently passing by one of my stands, but late. I waited for the wind to be right and sat the stand 3 times in early September, only to have the buck come by on the 16-yard trail just after legal shooting light.

This “12-point” as my Eastern friends would call him wasn’t the largest buck I had seen that summer on the Milk River here in northeastern Montana, but he was a much sought after trophy. A clean 6×6 is hard to come by, especially for a recurve hunter like me.

As the season progressed, the buck’s pattern changed, and he became less visible and more unpredictable. He would spend a week or 2 in different “sub-core areas” as food sources changed with the fall weather patterns. Remember that, because any big deer you find now might do that in a few months.

But ultimately the buck came home to his familiar primary core area where I had spotted him all summer, to the place where he felt most dominant and comfortable. I figured he would do that and I was right. I spotted his 12-point rack whirling and twirling early in the afternoon of November 1. He was warding off inferior bucks, posturing his antlers like weapons to the stubborn invaders of his domain.

Since I had scouted this area so much, I knew how the buck used the place, where he liked to travel. It paid off. That was back in the mid-2000s when there were a lot of deer on the Milk, and when I was guiding a few bowhunters on our farms.

I put a bowhunter from Texas in the same where I had spotted the 6×6 several times in low light in September. On the 2nd of November, with the pre-rut kicking into gear, the buck was a lot less cautious as he strode by the stand with 45 minutes of shooting light to spare. The hunter placed a sharp broadhead right through his oxygen tank.

The big lesson: Scouting early and often in the late summer pays off, even if you can’t connect on big buck during the first weeks of archery season. You might “lose” your mature deer for a few days or even weeks, but the rutting phases of the fall will generally bring him back to his primary core area, where one day he might finally make a mistake. One day in late October, November or even December you might finally kill the buck from one of the stands you hunted in the first week of bow season.

Deer Rifle Sale: Get A Remington Model 783 For $300 At Cabela’s


If you are in the market for a new deer rifle for 2018 head to the nearest Cabela’s or Bass Pro until August 26 and grab a Remington Model 783 for a tad over $300 with tax. This is an unbelievable deal for one of the most accurate and dependable deer rifles I have shot in the last 6 years.

I was the first blogger/hunter to shoot and test the Model 783, back in the fall of 2012. Later that November my friend John, who at the time worked for Remington, shot the first buck ever with the 783 on a hunt with me in Saskatchewan. We filmed the hunt for that 160-inch giant for my show Big Deer TV on Sportsman Channel.

When I posted my first review on the Model 783 in January 2013, I had shot the rifle in .30-06 quite a lot, but I had never killed a deer with. I have since shot 10 bucks with the 783, 4 with one chambered in .30-06 and 6 with my favored .270.

north texas buck

I tell you from experience that the no-frills Model 783 is a functional, reliable, accurate and affordable rifle that is designed: 1) to shoot MOA groups all day with Remington or Barnes factory ammo; and 2) put venison on the table. At $300 it’s the best rifle bargain I’ve seen in years.

Click here to research the Model 783 and see the specs before you buy.