John's Journal...

To Hunt a Legendary Buck Deer

Day 5: The Tree Sitter’s Challenge

Editor’s Note: Some sly, ole bucks fool so-many hunters and live so long they become legends. Hunting one of these trophies is a supreme challenge. A buck deer with a reputation may require a hunter with a reputation to take him.

Click for Larger ViewContrary to what some hunters may think, there are often legendary deer on public lands with high-hunter pressure. These deer understand the average hunter very well. They know that most outdoorsmen will walk across two ridges or about 1/4- to 1/2-mile away from their vehicles early in the morning and then will sit in the same spot for about 2 hours. Deciding that they’re not in the right region, they will move to another location and sit there for about 2-hours more. Around 11:00 am, they’ll head-back to their trucks to meet their friends for lunch. At 1:00 pm, these same hunters will go back into the woods and sit at two different locations during the afternoon until 45-minutes before dark and then head for their trucks again. Or, the hunter will slip through the woods all day, hoping to surprise a deer and take a shot. Click for Larger ViewOr, the sportsman will go up a tree in a tree stand close to an open area to see a long way. This tree stand hunter will leave the woods at lunch and 45-minutes before dark. These hunting tactics are the usual ones of most public-land hunters. Some will bag deer. A few may take trophies. But none probably will bag a legend.

One of the most-necessary qualities of a legend hunter is endurance. Most successful tree sitters have an abundance of this quality. The tree sitter understands what the legendary deer knows. Both the hunter and the hunted have learned the people pattern in the heavily-hunted woods. The legend is going to stay in thick cover all day long. Click for Larger ViewHe only will move when the hunters are gone. For this reason, a veteran tree sitter should place his tree stand in the thickest area he can find. He will look for a big thicket with a small opening in the middle of it where he may be able to see 5 to 10 yards of fairly-open ground. He will get to his tree 1-hour before daylight and begin his vigil. Sitting in the tree, he’ll watch the hole in the thick cover from daylight until black dark. The tree sitter won’t leave his stand until dark. The tree sitters I have known have told me the best time to take a legend is just at daylight when most hunters are coming in the woods or between 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, when hunters are leaving for lunch or the last 45 minutes before black dark when the average hunter is going home.

“The legends will stay in thick cover in the daylight hours,” a legend hunter told me. “During deer season they have learned what to expect in the daytime, if they leave the cover. The only way I know to take a buck like this is to stay in a tree stand all day until the animal moves. But the advantage to this type of hunting is that most often I’ll get a shot at the deer, while he’s either standing still or walking slow. Click for Larger ViewAnd, I never have competition from other hunters. The toughest thing for me to deal with is the urge to move to another place. Once I decide that there is a legend in a thick region, I’ll stay in my tree stand from before daylight until after dark for as many days as are required to take him.” Hunting the legends is hard work. The men who take the super trophies are a rare, hardy breed. Although they pay the price, sometimes they still will fail to outfox the deer that have built-up reputations, even with all the knowledge the legend hunters have. But for the legend hunters, the contest is the prize. Taking the legend is an added bonus. Legends are an unusual breed of deer, and to bag them often requires an unusual breed of hunter.


Check back each day this week for more about "To Hunt a Legendary Buck Deer "

Day 1: How Legends about Bucks Get Started
Day 2: Researching a Buck Legend
Day 3: Go Get That Legendary Buck
Day 4: The Overnight Hunter - Going After a Legendary Buck
Day 5: The Tree Sitter’s Challenge

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Entry 649, Day 5