John's Journal...

Beating the January White-Tailed Deer Blues

How to Fool January’s White-Tailed Bucks

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Several states enjoy deer hunting that lasts until the end of January, particularly some of the southern states. But deer hunters often find hunting miserable during most of the month of January because the deer know more about you than you do about them. The deer know ...Click to enlarge
* what time you go hunting,
* what time you break for lunch,
* when you'll return to the woods,
* where you've located your tree stands,
* where you hunt most often,
* where you seldom hunt,
* how and where to get you to waste your time hunting, so they can go on with their daily routines. To sum the situation up, the deer have psyched you out and outsmarted you. However, if you think outside the box (or blind), there’s still time for you to bag a quality buck.

Now that we know that older-age-class bucks primarily move during daylight hours when they think no hunters will see them, we also can use the deer's fear of the hunter to put him where we want him. Many hunters find January a perfect month to bag an older-age class-buck with an unconventional deer drive. Having grown up and lived in Alabama most of my life, the words, deer drive, conjure up images of barking dogs, screaming hunters and plenty of racket in the woods. I've learned from my dog-hunting, deer-driving days in south Alabama that as long as an older-age-class buck knows your position, he'll stay bedded-down and hidden and let you walk right past him. Click to enlargeHowever, as the late Mr. Clyde Beard of York, Alabama, the huntmaster at Tombigbee Hunting Club, once told me, "When you come up to those thickets where you think a deer may be bedded-down, hush up, be extremely quiet, wait, and look. When a buck doesn't know where you are, he'll get nervous. And if you wait long enough, he'll jump up out of that thicket and either run out where you can see him or begin to sneak out looking for you."Click to enlarge
In Mississippi when I hunted with Donald and Jody Spence of Monticello, Mississippi, I listened as Donald explained, "Jody and I put on very effective two-man drives. We look for small thickets that may be only one or two city-blocks long. Jodie will, as quietly as possible, get into her tree stand on the downwind side of the thicket. Once Jody's in her stand, then I'll move to the upwind side of the thicket and begin to walk a zig-zag pattern from one side of the thicket to the other. I'll attempt to move as quietly and as slowly as I can. Occasionally, I'll break a limb or clap my hands together one time sharply. I want the buck to be able to smell me coming toward him and hear me making noise occasionally, but never really know where I am in that thicket. By my using this tactic, the buck will become nervous. Generally the buck will sneak out of the thicket rather than run out of it. Jody and I both have taken quite a few nice bucks as they've been sneaking out of thickets, while stopping occasionally to look back for the drivers." The Spences use their own human odor in this quiet, sneaky form of driving, to move big bucks often late in the morning and early in the afternoon, when the older-age-class bucks have to hold in thick cover to survive.
You can bag older-age-class white-tailed bucks in January, usually the toughest month of the year to take big deer. Once you understand what those big bucks know and how to use that knowledge to penetrate their defenses, you drastically will increase your odds for bagging January’s trophy bucks.

Check back each day this week for more about "Beating the January White-Tailed Deer Blues"

Day 1: Why Smart Bucks Live
Day 2: How to Bag an Older-Age-Class White-tailed Buck During January
Day 3: How to Find Bucks in January
Day 4: When to Hunt Big Bucks in January
Day 5: How to Fool January’s White-Tailed Bucks


Entry 493, Day 4