John's Journal...

Outthink the Buck Deer and the Hunters

Day 3: How Hunters Can Use What Bucks Know to Take Whitetails

Editor’s Note: To bag more and bigger bucks this season, you have to understand the minds of the other hunters as well as know what deer think. If deer always do what we expect them to do, hunters may have the ability to wipe-out all the deer in one season. However, deer don't read the same magazines, newspapers and books that we do, watch outdoor TV shows, rent videos and/or go to deer-hunting seminars. But deer do have very-keen instincts that cause them to react to hunting pressure in ways that allow them to survive.

Click for Larger ViewSince deer understand a large amount of information about hunters, you now have to set-up a hunting plan that can and will surprise a deer. Dr. Robert Sheppard, a longtime, avid deer hunter, explains that to consistently take big bucks, "You have to be in a place at a time that the buck doesn't expect to see you. The first time you choose a stand is when you're most likely to bag an older-age-class buck there. The more times you hunt from the stand, the more you reduce your odds of seeing and taking a buck there. The more stand sites you have on the property, the better your odds will be for taking a buck. Wind always needs to dictate which stand site you choose." Click for Larger ViewJust as in playing a game of chess, the more you know about what your opponent – the deer – probably will do, the better you can determine how to make your moves to not only win the game but also to keep your opponent from defeating you. Even if the deer does have information about the hunter, you can use that information to your advantage.

You effectively can navigate through the woods in the dark, a time when deer don't expect hunters to move. Purchase a hand-held GPS receiver, and mark your stand site as a waypoint when you scout. Then when you arrive in the woods before daylight, use your GPS receiver to show you the way to your stand site. Also put Bright Eyes thumbtacks down low on the side of the tree where you've located your stand site to keep other hunters from finding the trail you've used to go to and from your stand. Deer expect hunters to stay within 150-200 yards of some type of road, because of the hunters' natural fear of getting lost. Learn to use a GPS hand-held receiver or a compass to go deeper into the woods than other hunters do to increase your chances of seeing an older-age-class buck.

Click for Larger ViewLater in the season, you may want to sleep-in on the days you plan to hunt, go-into the woods at 9:00 am, and remain there until 2:30 pm. The deer recognize this time period as having the least amount of hunting pressure. So hopefully you'll have the best odds for taking an older-age-class buck then. The least amount of property you can see, the more success you'll have in bagging an older buck. When you hunt in a thick-covered area with a visibility of 30 yards or less and plenty of deer sign, you'll probably have a greater chance of bagging a buck than when you hunt the edge of a power line right-of-way where you can see for 300 to 500 yards.

Click for Larger ViewTo learn more information about hunting deer, buy 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, Amazon and Dr. Sheppard. Contact Dr. Sheppard at

Tomorrow: Other Tips for Taking Big Buck Deer

Check back each day this week for more about "Outthink the Buck Deer and the Hunters "

Day 1: The Most-Overlooked Aspect of Deer Hunting
Day 2: What Buck Deer Know About Hunters
Day 3: How Hunters Can Use What Bucks Know to Take Whitetails
Day 4: Other Tips for Taking Big Buck Deer
Day 5: What Hunters Know About Deer


Entry 595, Day 3