3 Places to Shoot a Buck Thanksgiving Weekend

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The long holiday gives you one of the season's best chances at killing a big whitetail

There’s a big hunting weekend coming up. You and millions of other guys and gals have a few days off, and for many of you this is the last best chance to get a buck. After stuffing your face Thursday, get out there and try these three tactics. 

Hunt a “Dumping Ground” Stand

In farm country, head for a strip or pocket of timber that borders a corn or bean field. Inside those woods, look for an inner structure where two or three ridges and draws converge and peter out into a creek bottom. The thicker the cover in the draws and down in the bottom, the better. With food, water and bedding, a spot like this is a dumping ground for whitetails that come and go. 

You can hang a stand or, with a rifle or muzzleloader, go old school and wait out a buck while sitting against a tree. Bill Konway / Realtree Media Image

You can set a treestand or ground blind on a ridge side that looks down into the convergence of the hills and draws. Or, since most of you will hunt with a gun this weekend, you can go old-school and simply wait against a tree with good visibility and shooting lanes into the bottom. Camp out here for two or three days and I can almost guarantee you’ll see a buck. Making the shot is up to you. 

Revert To a Rut Corridor  

By late November, bucks are tired and beaten down from the frenzy of peak rut, but they still run on a last jolt of testosterone. Many bucks continue to blaze rubs, so look for fresh ones. 

While bucks generally don’t paw scrapes this late, at least not heavily, they do cruise back through creek bottoms and draws where they scraped and rubbed trees weeks ago, and where they made contact with hot does back then. Go back and hunt a stand that you hung in a sign-blazed funnel earlier in November, and you might catch a buck working it now.  

Switch It Up 

In most regions rifles have cracked for a week or more by now, and the hoard of gun hunters that flood the woods over Thanksgiving will only triple the heat on deer. Numerous studies have shown that whitetails do not flee pressure by leaving their home ranges entirely. Rather, most bucks continue to live in the same general areas, but they do seek out thick, hidden spots where few if any people ever hunt. 

That is why switching it up is so important now. Think “out of the way.” A beaver swamp beside a gravel road, a 3-acre thicket behind a neighbor’s barn, a deserted, overgrown hog lot just down the road on an abandoned farm … any hidden little spot like that is where an old 8- or 10-pointer might hide in hopes of riding out the season. Find such a spot, hang a treestand on the downwind edge of it, and hunt it through Sunday. 

Lastly, if you have a few vacation days left and have an understanding boss, push it and take off November 29 through December 1 or 2. Late in the season and during the weekdays, you’ll have the woods pretty much to yourself, even on most public lands. Bucks that hunkered down in the pressure of Thanksgiving week will feel a little more secure moving a bit, and you might get one yet. 

(Don't Miss: 3 Awesome Stands for Gun Hunting the Rut)