John's Journal...

How to Bag a Buck Deer Every Season

Day 3: Dale Faust Reveals His Deer Scouting Techniques

Editor’s Note: To bag a buck every season, you not only must outsmart the buck you’re trying to take, but also you must hunt more diligently than the other hunters who are after that same buck.

Click for Larger ViewDale Faust of Brewton, Alabama, has bagged more than 100 bucks with a bow, taken several hundred bucks with a rifle and harvested some bucks with his pistol. The lengthy deer seasons, large yearly bag limits and the abundance of deer in the South have helped to account for his phenomenal record. Faust is also a master woodsman and a deadly hunter too. “Because deer are smart animals, when you scout for them, you must scout on the sly,” Faust reports. “I’ll scout thoroughly one day a week beginning a month before deer season starts and continuing throughout deer season to learn what the deer are doing in the woods.” Like James Bond (see Day 1), Faust observes from great distances the individuals he’s trying to take. Click for Larger ViewHe learns when and where the buck eats, the trail he takes on his daily route and the intersections he must cross. However, like 007, Faust exercises extreme caution to never let his presence be known. “Just scouting one day a week prevents me from leaving much scent in the woods and spooking the animals I hope to bag,” Faust says. “Once I find the deer I want to bag, I constantly must stay aware of the changes that occur in the deer’s environment during deer season. I must know when that buck changes the trails he’s using, because he’s depleted a food supply or hunting pressure has caused him to change the paths he takes.

“Before the season, the trails the deer use to go from feeding areas to bedding regions to creek crossings may not be the same trails they’re utilizing once the season starts. More than likely they’ll not be the trails they’ll travel during daylight hours when they feel hunting pressure. If I discover a well-defined trail that goes in a straight line from Point A to Point B, I generally won’t hunt that trail for two reasons. If it’s a direct rout, usually this trail is the one the deer use at night to get quickly from one place to another. They probably won’t be utilizing it during daylight hours. Also if the trail’s well-defined, every other hunter on the property may be hunting that trail and spooking deer on it. Click for Larger ViewI like to hunt a food source with tracks meandering in from several directions with no well-defined trail.” If Faust finds a feeding site where deer have been eating acorns and have left the hulls on the ground but also sees acorns on the ground that haven’t been eaten yet as well as more acorns on the trees, he’ll quickly move out of the area. Faust won’t return to that site until he’s ready to hunt, because all the signs point to this being an active feeding site. “Another way to locate a deer hot spot is to find fresh deer droppings. If the droppings are soft and mushy, you know deer are actively using this feeding site.”

Click for Larger ViewBecause Faust scouts so diligently, often on the day he’s hunting, the deer will appear exactly at the spot he’s expected the deer to be. “I pick out the individual deer I want to take and decide I’ll learn all I can about that specific animal,” Faust explains. “Then I can pinpoint the exact place where I’ll take the deer.” Knowing when not to hunt is just as important to Faust as understanding when to hunt. If the wind is blowing at his back and carrying his scent in the direction Faust expects the deer to come from, he won’t hunt that region. “More hunters don’t bag their deer each season because they spook the deer they’re attempting to hunt,” Faust mentions. “Either the deer see, smell or hear the hunters before they have the opportunity to bag the animals. If there’s a chance of spooking the deer on the day I’m hunting, then I’ll hunt that deer on another day.”

Faust prefers to hunt where he’s hunted before for the most success. “Knowing the lay of the land and the way the deer move on that land is another factor critical to taking a buck every season. If I can choose to either hunt on a piece of property with a large deer population where I’ve never scouted or on land I’m familiar with that homes a very-small deer population, I’ll choose the land I’ve hunted before. I’m convinced my chances of bagging a buck are much greater on land I know.” If Faust is in a new hunting area on opening day, he’ll spend that day searching for a place to hunt and scouting the territory rather than hunting.

Tomorrow: Longtime Avid Bowhunter Jerry Simmons Tells his Scouting Techniques for Deer Hunting Success

Check back each day this week for more about "Hunt Your Buck Deer Indian Style for Success with Bowhunter Larry Norton"

Day 1:Evaluate How to Bag a Buck Deer Every Season
Day 2: Longtime Deer Hunter Kelly Cooper of Pennsylvania Scouts Before Other Hunters Even Think About Deer Hunting
Day 3: Dale Faust Reveals His Deer Scouting Techniques
Day 4:Longtime Avid Bowhunter Jerry Simmons Tells his Scouting Techniques for Deer Hunting Success
Day 5:The Importance of Aerial Photos and Good Equipment to Successfully Bag Bucks with Nationally-Known Deer Hunters Dr. Robert Sheppard and Dr. Larry Marchinton


Entry 581, Day 3