John's Journal...

How to Hunt Bad Stands to Take Great Buck Deer

Day 3: How to Hunt Buck Deer near Telephone Poles and Other Places

Editor’s Note: "To take the biggest buck on any piece of property, always hunt the worst stands," Dr. Keith Causey, a former wildlife researcher at Auburn University, told me. "I let everyone in my hunting club pick the stands where they want to hunt, and I go to the places left. Since no one hunts these areas, the older-age-class bucks can hold there to dodge hunting pressure. If you take the worst stand on your hunting club or public land, then that stand will be the best stand to see an older-age-class buck, 90% of the time."

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOne year while hunting the Midwest, I spotted bucks every day, but I never really saw a big buck I wanted to take. On the last day of the hunt, my host and friend, well-known outdoorsman Brad Harris, said that he had seen a big buck crossing a huge pasture. He thought the buck had bedded-down in some young pines at the upper end of the pasture. Harris picked out a site for me to hunt, so his cameraman could film the hunt. Before daylight, the three of us made our way to the big pasture. As light broke, I saw this huge cleared rolling pasture and a creek running through the bottom of it with a small amount of brush next to the creek. On both sides of the creek, I could see for a mile or more. Harris had picked-out a spot next to a telephone pole for the cameraman and me – about 50- to 60-yards out in the pasture. Not a blade of grass, a bush, a stump or even a stick provided cover there for us. The telephone pole only broke-up our silhouettes and gave us a backrest. As the morning brightened-up, I felt as naked as a baby on its birthday. Any deer within 2 miles easily could spot us leaning on that telephone pole out in the middle of that pasture. “No one in his right mind would take a stand without any cover to hide behind," I thought to myself.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewNow, I didn't doubt for a minute that I would see deer crossing this pasture. But I also knew that any buck that walked across this pasture also could spot me and shift his running gear into high. At 8:30 am, I spotted a nice buck about 100-yards away, chasing does across the pasture. The buck came from my side of the pasture and ran the does across the creek and then up the hill on the other side. In about 10 minutes, all the deer disappeared into the timber. Next, the buck came out of the timber and began walking down the creek toward the pine plantation where Harris had predicted the buck would go. The 140-class Boone & Crockett 10-point never looked in our direction. When my rifle cracked, and the buck went down, I told the cameraman, "I'd never believed that we could sit in the middle of this pasture with no cover and take a buck like this."

Deer in the Middles of Fields:

I also never would think you could find a big buck in the middle of a cotton field, since a cotton field wouldn't offer much cover in the fall. But according to deer researchers I talked with in Mississippi, they consistently find big bucks bedded-down in the middles of cotton fields during daylight hours and especially on the weekends. The deer will bed in these sites to hide from hunters. If you hunt the middles of agricultural fields for rabbits with beagles, many times you'll also jump bucks up in small indentations in the ground with only very-light cover around them.

To learn more about hunting deer, get John E. Phillips’ new eBooks “How to Hunt Deer like a Pro,” “PhD Whitetails” and “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: How to Hunt Deer in Pine Plantations and Thick Cover

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Hunt Bad Stands to Take Great Buck Deer"

Day 1: How to Hunt – Remember Deer Hunters Don’t Like to Get Wet
Day 2: How to Hunt Deer by Being Invisible
Day 3: How to Hunt Buck Deer near Telephone Poles and Other Places
Day 4: How to Hunt Deer in Pine Plantations and Thick Cover
Day 5: How to Use Maps to Aid You in Finding Deer

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Entry 688, Day 3