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Hunting Pressure: Key to Big Bucks

More on How Hunters Can Reduce Hunting Pressure and Increase Deer Sightings

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. Click to enlargeThey’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. Grant Woods of Reedsville, Missouri, one of the nation’s top deer researchers, says. Woods’ team of wildlife biologists and deer hunters had 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 the best deer hunters anywhere.” The older the 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. Click to enlarge

Brad Harris, a well-known midwestern deer hunter who’s been featured in numerous videos and on TV shows, mentions that sometimes outdoorsmen exert too much hunting pressure on the deer before hunting season opens. “Even scouting creates hunting pressure. Once I’ve spotted the buck I want to bag,I’ll wait until the week before the peak of the rut to attempt to take that deer. That’s when bucks are usually moving the most and are the easiest to locate and bag. Scouting from long range reduces hunting pressure and Click to enlargeincreases your odds for bagging a buck.” Dr. Bob Sheppard, a deer-hunting instructor and avid deer hunter from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, prefers to hunt high-pressured bucks the last week of the season. “Before bow season, I cut shooting lanes inside each thicket. Then the last week of the season, I move into these thickets with a favorable wind and watch the shooting lanes. The older-age-class bucks have to be in the thickets to survive. Sooner or later, they have to cross those shooting lanes. When they do, I bag them.”

Dr. Keith Causey, a retired wildlife science professor at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, recommends that you also reduce the speed at which you move to reduce hunting pressure, since deer pick-up on movement quickly. “To prevent deer from hearing from you, wear soft clothing, and be careful where you step. Wear camouflage too, and stay downwind of the animal.” Wearing thigh-high rubber boots means you’ll leave far less odor from not only your feet but also your legs in your hunting area. Eliminate as much scent as you can from your body, your clothes, your boots and your equipment before you trek into the woods by using odor-elimination products. If you can wade a small creek or a branch to reach your stand, you’ll make less noise, leave less scent and come from an unexpected direction, all of which will help to reduce hunting pressure on the area’s whitetails.

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 5