The 8 Easiest Mature Buck Personalities to Hunt

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Which of These Deer Are Your Favorite Targets?

“Mature bucks” and “easy to hunt” are two phrases rarely found in the same sentence. That’s why we published a piece not too long ago on the hardest mature buck personalities to hunt. Mature bucks of any age class are difficult to bring down. Their uncanny senses and unwavering ability to detect danger prove their adeptness at staying alive. Many have said it, and each of them are correct — the whitetail and the mature whitetail buck are two incredibly different animals. So, while there isn’t really an easy mature buck to hunt, there are personality traits and habits that make bucks more vulnerable than others. In-the-field scouting and trail cameras (especially in video mode) can help determine what category (or categories) they fall in. Think about these things not only in terms of personalities but also certain situations and scenarios you might find yourself in. These are some of those.

The Daylight Walker

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1 | The Daylight Walker

This one might seem a touch obvious. And in reality, it essentially encompasses most of the other seven personalities on this list. But at the base level, a daylight walker (a deer that travels lengthy distances from its bedding area during daylight) is significantly easier to kill than a buck that travels only a short distance from its bed during legal shooting hours.

How to Recognize: This deer is easy to see. You spot him when scouting from afar, from the treestand, and especially on trail cameras. Simply, if the deer ventures out in daylight, it’s a daylight walker.

Plan of Attack: Just because this buck is a daylight walker doesn’t mean it’s predictable or on a consistent pattern. Use a combination of scouting from afar and trail cameras to learn about this deer. But be careful. Just because it moves frequently during daylight, doesn’t mean it is overly tolerable to pressure and human intrusion. Once you have a solid plan in place, move into the area that you feel is the best spot to target the buck.

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Photo credit: John Hafner

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The Predictable Deer

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2 | The Predictable Deer

This buck is both moving in daylight and on a regular pattern. You can’t ask for anything better, really. I mean, the deer is pretty much handing itself to you on a platter. You just have to make sure you don’t screw everything up.

How to Recognize: This deer uses the same bedding area, food source, watering hole and/or trail consistently. Regardless of which one(s) of these “your” deer is doing, it still takes work and effort to realize the deer is in fact a predictable one.

Plan of Attack: You have to learn a buck in order to learn its habits and weaknesses. Don’t hunt this buck too soon. But don’t wait so long that its patterns change, either. Because they will alter behavior eventually if only because of changing, seasonal food sources. Spend a few days scouting the deer and then strike when conditions are right.

Don’t Miss: 8 Bedding Habits of Mature Deer

Photo credit: Russell Graves

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The Homebody Buck

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3 | The Homebody Buck

This deer is not a wanderer. It might have a small home range, but it definitely has a small core area. For a buck to qualify as the homebody type, it has a core area of 30 acres or less — in which the deer spends 75 to 80 percent (or more) of its time.

How to Recognize: This buck shows up on trail camera a lot — both day and night. It might hit one of your cameras periodically throughout the day and/or night. Or it might hit numerous trail cameras within a small area within a 24-hour period. Regardless, the deer is living there and you need to learn as much about this deer as possible.

Plan of Attack: This is the perfect time to deploy the tactic I call blitzing a buck. Position multiple trail cameras around the buck’s core area to determine how this deer is moving about the landscape. After a week or so, plot all trail camera appearances on an aerial map. Note the time of day and direction of travel with each sighting. You might also note the historical wind direction, temperature and any weather event that occurred at the time the trail camera photo was taken. Then observe the information you have. This will paint a picture on where the deer is likely bedding, feeding, how it uses the land and key situations/times it does so. Make your stand accordingly.

Don’t Miss: How to Blitz a Buck

Photo credit: John Hafner

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The Potbelly Pig

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4 | The Potbelly Pig

Food is king in the world of whitetails. Most deer behavior revolves around it. And while food is priority No. 1 for all whitetails, some of them seem to be more controlled by their belly than others. I can relate . . .

How to Recognize: This deer is seen feeding more often than other mature bucks. You’ll witness it feeding primarily in early afternoon hours. But you also might spot it on a food source during morning hours and midday as well.

Plan of Attack: Focus on food. This deer is obviously venturing out of its bed during daylight hours. So don’t risk pressuring the deer by pushing back into cover to hunt it. Wait for the deer to come to you since it’s moving so far during daylight. Set up on the food source it’s predominately keying on. And remember food sources change. Deer follow the transition in available food sources. Until you tag the deer, you’ll have to transition your stand locations as well.

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Photo credit: Shutterstock / Jim Cummings

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The Curious Buck

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5 | The Curious Buck

Most all deer are inquisitive by nature. But some deer are over the top. This type is attracted by just about everything. It seems to investigate nonstop. And I’ve even witnessed on one occasion where a particular buck was much less afraid than other deer, and instead of fleeing, was curious about things that other deer would naturally be afraid of.

How to Recognize: It’s constantly checking things out. You might see this deer — whether in person or on trail cameras — nose up to things. It might react more often to calling and rattling than other bucks. This deer might even be the last to leave when something causes deer to clear the field. But one thing remains the same — it’s inquisitive.

Plan of Attack: This might be the time to get aggressive with calling, rattling (at the right time of year) and even scents. I’ve never been big on using scent drags. But they have their place, I suppose. I really like mock scrapes for this particular type of buck, though. Better yet, if you can easily access the mock scrape without pressuring the area or alerting deer to your presence, freshen up the scrape around the same time each day (preferably a few hours after daylight or a few hours before dark). I’ve noticed that some bucks will naturally deduce that the new “intruder” buck is visiting that scrape at a certain time (when you freshen it) and try to intercept it on its “pattern.”

Don’t Miss: How to Make a Mock Scrape

Photo credit: Russell Graves

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The Immature Whitetail

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6 | The Immature Whitetail

This is one of my favorite buck personalities to hunt. Most bucks will be in bachelor groups until late September or early October. Most of them will be grouped with bucks close to their age. But every now and then you’ll see a mature buck grouped with one or more 1½- or 2½-year-old bucks.

How to Recognize: It’s been my experience that this type of mature buck is susceptible to falling in line with the behavior of the younger buck(s) and move more during daylight. Typically, it’s as if the younger deer is/are a bad influence on the older one, instead of the older buck being a good influence (in terms of less daylight movement) on the younger whitetail(s).

Plan of Attack: Pattern the bucks and determine where they’re moving most during daylight. Hang a couple stands for two different wind directions and wait until the time is right to move in and hunt.

Don’t Miss: Hunt This Type of Buck to Kill More Mature Deer

Photo credit: Russell Graves

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The Bully Buck

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7 | The Bully Buck

Like people, some bucks are just pure bullies. They run around beating up on all the other bucks. They might even be seen pushing does around. It happens. But the fact remains — these deer are aggressive and primed to do battle.

How to Recognize: This type of mature buck is common in all age brackets. But it’s especially notorious among the oldest and biggest-bodied deer in the herd — especially in areas with a balanced age structure. As for spotting the deer, it postures frequently, walks rigidly around other deer, makes bluff charges and is ultimately quick to confront other whitetails. It engages in fights with others and will typically exhibit extra aggression, even when it’s apparent the opponent is merely attempting to spar.

Plan of Attack: Aggressive tactics such as calling and rattling are key. But don’t do it without a plan. Bully bucks are still smart and will likely circle downwind of your setup after the calling sequence. Make sure your stand location is positioned in such a way that limits their ability to get your wind. Or at the very least, be able to intercept them and get a shot off before they do.

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Photo credit: Russell Graves

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The Breeder Buck

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8 | The Breeder Buck

Again, this is the most common deer on the list, especially during the rut. But allow me to clarify one thing — there is no such thing as a breeder buck in the sense that they breed all of the does. Studies have proven that while mature bucks will breed all or most of the first does to enter estrus, during the peak of the rut, younger bucks get in on the action, too. This is especially common in areas where buck-to-doe ratios are skewed with more does than bucks. All said, some mature bucks are more apt than others to spend daylight hours searching for estrus does. These are easier to kill.

How to Recognize: This deer might not have moved much in daylight during the early season. But the tail end of the pre-rut has flipped his switch and he’s moving more than ever in daytime. You might see the deer cruising from the stand. If so, pay attention to where the deer is coming from or where it’s going. A bed-to-feed or feed-to-bed trail/pattern will look different than one where a buck is checking scrapes and searching for does.

Plan of Attack: Your approach will vary depending on the stage of the rut. If it’s the pre-rut, set up just outside the buck’s primary bedding area on a scrape line. Get as close as you can to the deer without bumping it. If the rut has started, but the bulk of does haven’t really started entering estrus, set up near the known doe bedding area that’s closest to the buck’s bedding location. Once the rut has kicked in gear, set up in traditional rut stand locations such as saddles, benches, pinch-points and funnels.

Don’t Miss: How to Hunt the Phases of the Rut

Photo credit: Russell Graves

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