7 Expert Big Game Hunting Tips from the Pros

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Real hunting tips learned from real success and failure

Mike Stroff — Hunt the Early Seasons

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1 | Mike Stroff — Hunt the Early Seasons

Mike Stroff, co-host of “Savage Outdoors,” likes hunting the early season. That’s part of his game plan each year.

“I like the fact when you see one buck this time of year you typically see a group of bucks,” Stroff said. “A lack of pressure this time of year really has the deer acting different than they do in November. Plus, green is gold. I like food plots with greens on these early hunts. A good clover patch is hard to beat. In many cases, they will bed very close to their main food and water source this time of year. Spend the time glassing and running cameras. Bucks are showing themselves this time of year, so you don't have to bother them much to find them.”

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Photo Credit: Savage Outdoors

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Chad Schearer — Monitor Changing Patterns Throughout the Season

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2 | Chad Schearer — Monitor Changing Patterns Throughout the Season

Chad Schearer, co-host of “Shoot Straight TV," is all about results. Part of that is monitoring changing patterns throughout the season.

“Never quit scouting just because the season has already started,” Schearer said. “For instance, many states have longer seasons. Tactics can change depending on pre-rut, rut or post-rut activity. When hunting open-country whitetails, I will dedicate a half day away from a stand or blind to glass and scout other areas. I do this in case I need to make another game plan to adjust to the changing patterns.”

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Photo Credit: Shoot Straight TV

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Michael Pitts — Connect the Dots

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3 | Michael Pitts — Connect the Dots

Realtree Pro Staffer Michael Pitts tries to connect the dots. And, in true Pitts fashion, he likes to have fun.

“As an avid bowhunter, if you can find a mature deer’s bedding area and food of choice, you are way ahead of the game. No pun intended,” Pitts said. “Furthermore, I think this is overlooked a lot in today’s mentality, but for me, the most important thing is to have fun.”

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Photo Credit: Michael Pitts

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Daniel McVay — Think Small

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4 | Daniel McVay — Think Small

Daniel McVay, part of the “Buckventures TV” team, thinks small and formulates a game plan.

“Don't look past the small details,” McVay said. “Every step you take in chasing mature animals matters. Have patience. Wait for them to make the mistake. Hunt them where they are going to be, not where they are. Let the wind dictate which stands you hunt. Pushing the issue on wind direction rarely is successful.”

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Photo Credit: Buckventures

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Marsha Schearer — Don’t Force It

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5 | Marsha Schearer — Don’t Force It

Chad Schearer and “Shoot Straight TV’s" better half, Marsha, tries not to force it when hunting big game.

“One thing to remember is if the wind is wrong, don’t force the stalk,” Schearer said. “Many times, when hunting western big game, we have to wait several hours or even until the next day before making our move to get within shooting range. Just last season, we spotted a really good bull elk in the morning. However, the wind was totally wrong and not in our favor. We knew there was a storm blowing in later in the day that would change the wind patterns and this would be to our benefit. Knowing this, we backed out and waited several hours until the wind changed. We then moved back into the draw. The bull stepped out and gave us a shot we likely wouldn’t have gotten without patience.”

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Photo Credit: Shoot Straight TV

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Keith Beasley — Toss a Tater

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6 | Keith Beasley — Toss a Tater

The eldest of the “Canada in the Rough” brothers, Keith Beasley likes to pack taters to the woods with him. And not for munchin’ on.

“When hunting with aggressive tactics (rattling and grunting), carry a potato, apple or corn cob in a side pocket that’s easy to reach,” Beasley said. “It's something you can throw out the back of your treestand to create rustling and movement in the leaves when the buck is holding up 80 to 100 yards out and won’t close the distance.”

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Photo Credit: Canada in the Rough

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Michelle Bachman — Do All-Dayers

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7 | Melissa Bachman — Do All-Dayers

Bachman is all about spending time in the tree. She encourages more days and hours spent in the deer woods.

“Hunt all day,” Bachman said. “I’m a firm believer that success is directly linked to the number of hours spent during each hunt. The more time on stand, the better your odds. This goes for any type of big-game hunting, but especially for deer. Not only does it increase your odds but it lowers the amount of pressure you’re putting on your hunting property significantly. Why? You’re not going in and out for lunch. That’s a trip in and out that's eliminated, plus you can often reap the benefits from other hunters getting up and moving at midday. They often spook game, with or without knowing, and push deer your way.”

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Photo Credit: Winchester Legends

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The experts. They know a thing or three about bringing down big game. That’s why we’ve tapped into the Realtree pro staff to dig into their knowledge of the animals they pursue. Here are seven top tips for hunting the big ones.