Tips on how to bag that monster buck this year
Outdoors By JOHN PHILLIPS
With the hurricane arriving, you may have the
opportunity to read by lamplights or kerosene lamps some of your
bowhunting magazines, since the season starts within six weeks.
I talked with my friend, Toxey Haas about what to do to bag a monster
Rule No. 1: Hunt An Area That Homes Big Bucks:
"Regardless of the tactic you use, if no big buck lives on
the land you hunt, you can hunt there for the rest of your life
using trophy-buck tactics and never arrow a trophy buck," Haas
Many archers have the misconception that because an area homes
a number of deer a trophy deer should live in that region. But scientists
have found this assumption not necessarily true.
Haas explains that, "You can find a trophy buck on public
lands. But you have to scout more and work harder than the other
hunters who'll settle for taking any buck, if you want to find and
bag the really big bucks."
To locate trophy bucks on private or public lands, search for these
big deer in places inaccessible or overlooked by most hunters.
"In heavily-hunted regions, older-age-class bucks often will
discover that the closer they bed to spots people frequent but don't
hunt, the fewer hunter encounters they'll have," Haas says.
"Even on busy public-hunting areas, you often can find those
little overlooked pockets of thick cover that will hold a trophy
buck. If you learn how to hunt these places, you can arrow the bucks
other hunters never see."
To see a trophy buck during the season, Haas learns the deer's
preferred food sources during July-September. When the deer go to
these preferred foods during these warm months, they won't act as
cautious and often will come out into open fields, knowing the hunter
presents no danger.
Using his binoculars, Haas looks for the bucks he wants to plan
to hunt in October and November. "In Alabama where I primarily
hunt during October and November, I spot trophy bucks feeding on
soybeans, poison ivy, honeysuckle and some late-summer clovers during
July-September," Haas says.
Rule No. 2: Prepare To Hunt A Trophy Buck: "You
have to assume that you may have only one day all year long to take
a trophy buck," Haas says. "You'll find your odds for
bagging a really-big buck with a bow the best the first time you
hunt that deer. Therefore, plan and prepare for that first day you
hunt the deer as though you'll only hunt him that one day. You only
may see that trophy buck within bow range once before he dies of
Haas begins his preparation for hunting a trophy buck in the late
summer months. He spots the buck, patterns the buck, finds the deer's
bedding area, puts up his tree stand and waits for the best wind
condition and best weather conditions to go to that stand site.
Before he goes to the stand, he does all he can do to eliminate
odor and noise. Much like the knights of old preparing for battle,
Haas studies his adversary, cleans and polishes his equipment, has
his bow fine-tuned and noise-free and his broadheads sharp and takes
every precaution he can to ensure success on the day he goes afield.
"Once you get in the tree, pick the spots where you can make
a shot if the deer appears," Haas explains.
Haas mentally sets up a boundary for a trophy buck. Once that big
deer crosses that boundary and comes into the area where Haas knows
that if he makes the shot he can down a buck, Haas takes the first
good shot the deer offers. He doesn't wait. He doesn't hesitate,
because he realizes that he only may get one shot.
Rule No. 3: Become a Scent Fanatic: "I've
become a scent fanatic," Haas says. "I realize more bowhunters
spook the deer they try to take because the buck smells them than
for any other reason."
Haas believes that odor elimination begins first with your diet.
"Two or three days before you plan to bow-hunt, don't eat spicy
foods or a lot of red meat. Try to eat a bland diet. Then when you
sweat, you won't give off a strong acid smell."
Haas also scrubs his body with an odor-killing, odor-neutralizing
soap as if his life depends on his body being clean and scent-free.
Next he puts on his camouflage. As an extra precaution, Haas sprays
his outerwear from head to toe with scent eliminator. He also chews
chewing gum to try and clean his breath.
"If you don't try and eliminate the odor coming from your
mouth and nose, then you don't effectively eliminate odor,"
Haas explains. "Often the most odors you emit, especially if
you have sinus problems, come from your mouth and nose." Haas
also cautions you to never go into an area where you think you have
a chance to take a big buck without the wind in your favor.