John's Journal...

Master Plans from Top Bowhunters to Take Deer

Day 4: Other Ways to Have a Successful Master Plan for Bowhunting Deer

Editor’s Note: Bowhunting need not be a sport of feast or famine. To up your success rate, try this advice from some of the country’s most-consistent, detail-oriented bowmen. Why do some archers consistently take deer each season with their bows, while others who spend just as much time in the woods rarely, if ever, experience success? Let’s see how the best bowhunters in the nation produce deer. Longtime, avid bowhunter John Demp Grace bowhunts public lands throughout the U.S. during firearms deer season.

Bowhunt During Gun Season:

Click for Larger ViewClick for larger ViewAccording to Grace, “I’ve found gun/deer season the easiest time to find and take a big buck, especially in high-pressure areas like public lands. Because gun hunters and bowhunters hunt differently, the gun hunter will force a buck to move to a spot where I can locate him easily and then bag him. Gun hunters most often hunt open places and put up their tree stands there, and older-age-class bucks have learned to avoid those areas to survive. The only regions bucks have to be by the end of gun/deer season on public lands are in thick cover where the hunter can see only 30 yards or less. Of course, these stand sites are ideal for the bowhunter who wants his shot at 30 yards or less. Older-age-class bucks have well-defined routes they use to go into sanctuary areas. By taking a stand along these routes, I consistently can bag the bucks the gun hunters drive to me. And, because deer realize which natural barriers hunters won’t cross, such as creeks, thick cover and property lines, the three best places for me to take a stand are at creek crossings, in thick cover or along the edges of property lines. Where private land touches public land, the deer on the public land know if they can reach the sanctuary of the private land, they can avoid hunting pressure. By taking a stand on a trail that leads to private land, I greatly increase my odds for bagging a buck, especially if this private land isn’t hunted or is hunted very little.”

Talk to Yourself Mentally:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAlthough you must first find a place to take a buck to have success when bowhunting and be quiet and position your tree stand in the best place, shooting accurately when the shot presents itself either will make or break a bowhunter. As Grace explains, “I talk to myself mentally when the buck is in front of me. The first thing I say to myself is, ‘Pick a good shot.’ By that, I’m telling myself to remember to calculate the distance to the deer, let the deer present the best shot he will, look for the spot on the deer I want to shoot at, don’t watch the whole deer and try to be comfortable when I have the arrow drawn back. Next, I tell myself to, ‘Have good form.’ I must be certain that when I have the bow at full draw, I mentally check my anchor point, my sighting point and every-other aspect of good form in archery whether I’m shooting at a deer or a target. Unless I mentally check-out my form, I realize I will shoot inaccurately.

“Then I remind myself to, ‘Get a good release.’ Although I use a mechanical release, I want to make sure the release is smooth and not jerky – which can throw the arrow off-target. I hold my pin on the target I’m shooting, squeeze the trigger and continue to look at my sight on the spot I’m shooting until the arrow hits the deer. I’ve found that follow-through is critical in accurate shooting. If you’re not looking at the spot you’re shooting until the arrow hits, you probably won’t shoot as correctly. At the same time I’m squeezing the trigger, I’m saying to myself, ‘I’ve got to have that buck.’ I never question about whether or not I’ll take him. I tell myself I will take the deer, which I believe enables me to bag more bucks.”

Jim Crumley's Secrets of Bowhunting DeerDeer and FixingsYou’ll learn more information and tips in the new Kindle eBook by John E. Phillips: “Jim Crumley's Secrets of Bowhunting Deer,” and learn many ways to prepare venison in “Deer and Fixings.” Go to, type in the names of the books and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Tomorrow: Preparing for Bow Season with Dr. Bob Sheppard

Check back each day this week for more about "Master Plans from Top Bowhunters to Take Deer"

Day 1: Learn the Land
Day 2: Larry Norton Says Follow the Squirrels to Find Buck Deer
Day 3: Prepare for Bow Deer Season Carefully with Bob Foulkrod
Day 4: Other Ways to Have a Successful Master Plan for Bowhunting Deer
Day 5: Preparing for Bow Season with Dr. Bob Sheppard

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Entry 686, Day 4