Across America, whitetails are accustomed to seeing and living around houses, roads and people, but they’re still wary animals. Say you’re hunting a small area and catch a buck crossing a trail or gas line between two thickets. If you walk away from the deer, he’ll often continue on his way, watching you out of the corner of his eye. But the second you stop and move toward the buck, he’ll spook and flag away. Car exhaust, barbecue smoke, barking dogs… Deer that live under our noses put up with all sorts of nasty smells and sounds. But when you step into a small patch of woods to scout or hunt, you’d better be quiet and clean and play the [...]
I met Saskatchewan farmer Oneil Baillargeon on a hunt up North several years ago, and immediately knew the guy was a great hunter. It runs in the family. Oneil and his wife, Taylor, watched this tremendous buck for years and hunted his sheds every spring near their farm. A few days ago their history with the animal came to an end. "Sad but good," said Oneil. The buck walked by Taylor's blind at 25 yards and she smoked him with a muzzleloader. The 7.5-year-old whitetail had a thick rack with 13 scorable points. The rack was going downhill, but it still scored 168. BTW, this girl is a killer of big deer. Check out Taylor's 2020 buck pictured below.
When a deer is quartering away from you, aim for the heart/lung vitals behind the shoulder you can see, then slide the scope’s crosshair back, pin it on the ribs and press the trigger. The harder a buck is quartering away, the farther back you aim on the ribcage—6 inches to 8 inches to even a foot. The physics is for the bullet to punch through the deer’s ribs, angle forward through the lungs/heart and either lodge in the opposite side front shoulder or exit it. Think out a shot before it happens. Say you’re stalking on a ridge: What if a buck jumps out of that draw? Which way will he run? Is it 150 or 200 yards across [...]
When bowhunting large cut corn or alfalfa fields, I often have a buddy drive a truck or ATV through the field and drop me off and pick me up after dark as close as possible to my tree stand. If deer are out in the field or close by in the surrounding woods, they obviously run off, just as they would any normal day when a rancher or farmer drives by. They are used to farm vehicles. I have my driver park and idle right there until I slip out and climb up into my stand. When he drives off, deer will eventually pop back out into or near the field like nothing ever happened. With some setups hard on [...]
You can’t go wrong hanging tree stands in these spots this month: Break Line: Look for a linear strip where pines, cedars or hardwood trees come together with brush, tall grass or second-growth saplings. Deer walk and browse on these edges; bucks rub and scrape on the lines as the rut approaches. Oak Ridge: A narrow hogback with acorn trees within 100 yards of a corn or bean field is one of my favorite spots. Deer cut around points, ditches and gullies on a ridge; hang stands on these terrains to funnel bucks close. Bucks will stage, eat acorns and browse in ridge thickets not only in the evenings, but in the mornings as well. Creek or River Crossing: Water [...]