John's Journal...

The Challenges of Hunting End-of-the-Season Big Bucks

Realize the Potential of Clear-Cuts

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Hunters alreadyClick to enlarge have harvested many of the young bucks before January arrives. But the older, trophy-sized bucks have holed-up and moved only after dark to dodge hunting pressure. However, with the onset of the rut, which takes place at various times from October – February across the United States, even the dominant bucks will move during daylight hours at this time and become vulnerable to hunters.

Even during the rut, the older-age-class bucks don't lose their minds at that time. The bigger bucks have learned to survive in thick cover, especially clear-cuts. Sportsmen prefer to see and take their bucks in the open woods, but most of the hunters who bag trophy bucks during the late season have learned that to hunt clear-cuts where big bucks that have survived more than two seasons will spend most of their time you need to:
* climb high in a tree with a climbing tree stand, and use either binoculars or a spotting scope to look downinto the clear-cut for a nice buck. Although bucks bed-down in clear-cuts during daylight hours, they also will stand-up, stretch, feed and walk in that clear-cut. If you use quality optics to look into that clear-cut, often you can spot the buck of your dreams in the thick foliage.Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
* travel access points like creeks, drainage ditches or paths into a clear-cut, which seldom contain solid foliage from one side to the other. When you go into these regions, you'll rarely take a shot of more than 30 yards. Walk only a little, move slowly and quietly, and look carefully. You may find a shotgun with open sights more appropriate than using a rifle with a scope for hunting these thick-cover regions.
* make your own access into a thick-cover area or a clear-cut if there's no access. Use a small handsaw. From a ground blind you've set up, cut shooting lanes 30- to 40-yards long and 2- to 3-yards wide, spoking out in three directions. Set-up this thick-cover shooting-lane system at least two to three weeks before you plan to hunt from it. Then the bucks will have an opportunity to return to this region after the odor you've left from cutting your shooting-lanes dissipates.

Tomorrow: Remember Trophy Bucks Pattern Hunters at the End of Deer Season

Check back each day this week for more about "The Challenges of Hunting End-of-the-Season Big Bucks"

Day 1: Searching for Those End-of-the-Season Big Bucks and Using Code Blue
Day 2: Hunt the Does and Hunt the Varmints with Remington Rifles
Day 3: Study Scrapes to Locate Trophy Bucks and Use Moultrie Trail Cameras
Day 4: Realize the Potential of Clear-Cuts
Day 5: Remember Trophy Bucks Pattern Hunters at the End of Deer Season


Entry 545, Day 4