John's Journal...

How to Bag a Buck Deer Every Season

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

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 ViewDr. Bob Sheppard of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a longtime archery instructor and well-known deer hunter, carefully studies aerial photos to improve his chances of success in taking a buck each season. On one occasion, he drove up to a camphouse where he’d been invited to hunt, walked in, looked at an aerial photo of the land he was to hunt and was back with a nice buck within 3 – even though he’d never hunted this area before. “That day while looking at the aerial photo in the camphouse, I saw a natural funnel where two large woodlots were necked-down by a creek and a clear cut,” Sheppard recalls. “I decided to take my stand at the point where the woods were the smallest like the neck of a bottle. I’ve learned through the years that deer move along natural corridors rather than changing terrains or different types of habitat. In these bottlenecks that can be spotted on aerial photos, I regularly see more deer and bag more bucks throughout the year than by hunting over food sources or scrapes.” Click for Larger ViewTo learn more, read Dr. Bob Sheppard’s new book, “Whitetail Strategies: An Unprecedented Research-Driven Hunting Model,” or listen to his free audio book digital download. Visit to learn more. The book is available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon and Dr. Sheppard. Contact Dr. Sheppard at

Dr. Larry Marchinton, a retired wildlife scientist at the University of Georgia, and an avid deer hunter, explains that, “Because more deer move through natural funnels than feed-on a particular food source or bed in a specific area, the hunter generally will see more deer in a funnel region than he will at either feeding or bedding sites. During the rut, a funnel is even-more productive if you can locate a scrape line running through that funnel area.”

Click for Larger ViewEquipment failure is another reason hunters don’t bag their bucks each season. If a tree stand squeaks, a rifle misses, a bowstring twangs or a blackpowder rifle misfires, all the scouting, planning and hunting a sportsman has done is for nothing. That’s why a hunter must spend time before deer season testing his equipment and his ability to use that equipment. “When I’m hunting in thick cover, I only may be able to see a part of the buck – his head, his rack, his ears or the white patch of hair under his neck,” Dale Faust, expert woodsman and deer hunter (see Day 3) mentions, “But by using a quality pair of binoculars, I should be able to see that deer clearly 50- to 100-yards. To bag my buck, I must be confident that when I put those crosshairs on that small, white patch of hair under the deer’s neck that the bullet will fly straight and true and bring the deer down. The only way I can develop the confidence required to make that shot is to spend hours at a shooting range practicing that type of shot. I want my rifle so fine-tuned that I can put five shots in a bull’s-eye at 100 yards and cover all five shots in the paper with a silver dollar.”

Before James Bond – Agent 007 - leaves his home base in England (see Day 1) to pursue the latest threat to mankind, he receives specialized equipment that has been developed for the area where he’ll be operating and under the terrain and weather conditions he most likely will be hunting his latest adversary. 007 always has received quality instructions as well as the opportunity to test his equipment in the laboratory before he must call on that equipment in the field. Click for Larger ViewMany hunters buy deer-hunting aids they use for the first time under actual hunting conditions when they’re trying to take bucks.

Keith Guyse, a longtime wildlife biologist, explains that, “The best time to test new hunting tactics and aids is after deer season is over. Then you’ll know exactly how scents and lures can be expected to perform the next year during deer season, when and how grunt calls are effective, and what you can expect from the latest hunting aids on the market, before you use them during hunting season to produce a buck for you. Field testing your equipment prior to deer season gives you the confidence you need with the particular hunting aids you’re employing. Once the hunter knows what his equipment will do and has done in the past, then he can use that equipment more effectively when deer season arrives.” Agent 007 James Bond is successful because he plans ahead, studies, tests his equipment and prepares himself and his equipment for the tasks ahead of him before he’s called on to act. The hunter who follows these Bond-like principles and approaches the sport of deer hunting with the same diligence can be successful each year at bagging a buck.

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 5