Location: Jameson, Missouri
Time of Year: November 5, 2016
Almost every deer hunter dreams of killing a big, mature buck. That’s just part of it for most hunters. Understandably so, though, as the allure of a big-racked whitetail walking through the woods puts quite a hold on us. That said, not everyone kills big deer. In fact, it almost seems that the big bucks are being killed by 10 or 20 percent of the hunters. And those who kill big deer, seem to do just that almost every season.
So what’s their secret?
Well, it’s likely they have many “secrets.” Years of experience, proven tactics and an understanding of deer behavior play into this. But there’s one more thing that is almost as important — maybe more than — than those things. And that is that smart trophy hunters study deer in an effort to determine the most killable of the mature bucks on their radar.
Jason Patterson of Whitetail Properties understands this concept and puts this knowledge to use. He knows to consistently kill mature bucks, picking off the easier of the targets is a great way to do that.
“We had pictures of this buck all over our farm, all the way back to June,” Patterson said. This buck was very visible. In fact, another hunter injured him with a crossbow bolt to the neck just two days before I harvested him. He appeared to be un-phased by the injury and was cruising for does when he was taken.”
As you can see, Patterson wasted no time putting this tactic to use. The buck he was after was a serious daylight walker. It frequently showed up in places it shouldn’t during daylight, making it more vulnerable than bucks that stayed bedded longer during daylight hours. So when Patterson killed it on the day of the hunt, he wasn’t quite as surprised as if it had been a more reclusive buck.
“We have a small area that we hunt, situated between two sanctuary bedding areas,” Patterson said. “We set up a bow stand with excellent cover and stealth access, right in between the sanctuaries.
“[As mentioned], the stand was situated between thick cover to the east and west,” Patterson continued. “As he emerged from the east, I made a quick decision to draw and he only went about 60 yards after the shot.”
It all happened so fast that Patterson didn’t realize what buck he’d shot until after the fact. He just knew it was a big one.
“This buck appeared much larger on the hoof than he did on trail camera,” Patterson said, “Even though I had watched him all summer, I failed to recognize him until the recovery.”
So if you’re on the hunt for a big deer, and mature bucks are your thing, start hunting the bucks that offer the best opportunities. Use Patterson’s testimony as proof, and take my word for it that you’ll experience more success once you do.
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