John's Journal...

Hunting Pressure: Key to Big Bucks

Hunt the Stupid Places and the 2-Wheel Advantage

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: A deer hunter who consistently takes big bucks has to know those trophy bucks’ thoughts and determine what the buck will do before he does it. White-tailed deer more than 2-1/2-years old have gone to school on deer hunters. They’ve studied the hunters’ habits and schedules and have become masters of hunter evasion. “We had a group of wildlife biologists and deer hunters hunting a certain piece of property for several years and studying the deer there,” Dr. GraClick to enlargent Woods of Reedsville, Missouri, one of the nation’s top deer researchers, says. Woods’ team of wildlife biologists and deer huntershad set up hunting areas in grids to determine who hunted where over several years. “We learned that deer set up travel corridors to avoid places where the team was hunting. These deer managed to outsmart these trained wildlife biologists and some of thebest deer hunters anywhere.” The olderthe buck, the less likely that you’ll locate him where you expect to see him, if that’s where all other hunters hunt. A hunter needs to understand the effects of hunting pressure and learn where a buck retreats when he experiences that hunting pressure.

Hunt the Stupid Places:
Dr. Keith Causey, a retired professor of wildlife science at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and an avid deer hunter, says, “I let everyone in my hunting club choose their stand sites first, and I hunt the places no one else wants to hunt. I like to hunt what other hunters consider the stupid spots where Click to enlargeeveryone’s convinced you can’t see a deer. But I figure those places are where the better bucks have to live to survive during intense hunting pressure. Several years ago, researchers in Mississippi used airplanes to search for where big bucks stayed during daylight hours when the hunting pressure was high and were amazed to see big bucks bedded-down out in the middles of cotton fields. But that holding site made perfectsense. Everyone thought that those fields were so open that there was no way a buck would be there. However, that’s where they were.” Expert deer hunters suggest you buy an aerial photo of your hunting area and mark all the spots where everyone else hunts. Generally you’ll find the places where no one hunts too thick, surrouClick to enlargended by water, too hard to reach, too open or even too much human pressure present. That’s where you can identify places that older-age-class bucks will hold during high hunting pressure.

The 2-Wheel Advantage:
Since more states have gated-off public lands from vehicle access, and few hunters want to walk 2 to 4 miles in the dark to reach a hunting site before daylight, today many enterprising hunters ride their mountain bikes into regions away from high hunting pressure. Some hunters purchase carts to pull behind their bikes to put their tree stands in and hopefully the bucks they take to get their deer and equipment in and out of these remote locations. Too, other hunters unknowingly will drive deer to the bike-and-cart hunter who’s waiting for the nice bucks to flee hunting pressure. Today hunters have learned to use hunting pressure to their advantage. If hunters will spend as much time learning the routines of other hunters as they do studying deer, then they can pinpoint the locations of the big deer. Yes, the rut, the amount and the kind of food sources, the location and the amount of water sources and bedding sites all critically impact where trophy bucks flee. But an older-age-class buck primarily concentrates on staying alive by dodging hunting pressure.

Tomorrow: How Hunters Can Reduce Hunting Pressure and Increase Deer Sightings

Check back each day this week for more about "Hunting Pressure: Key to Big Bucks"

Day 1: How Hunting Pressure Affects Deer Movement
Day 2: The Tools You’ll Need
Day 3: Hunt the Stupid Places and the 2-Wheel Advantage
Day 4: How Hunters Can Reduce Hunting Pressure and Increase Deer Sightings
Day 5: More on How Hunters Can Reduce Hunting Pressure and Increase Deer Sightings


Entry 487, Day 3