John's Journal...

How to Hunt Deer – the Most-Productive Hunt Plan

Day 4: Move Trail Cameras to Buck’s Core Areas to Learn More about Deer

Editor’s Note: Thanks to new developments in photography and GPS navigation, you’ll find taking a trophy buck easier than ever. You can learn where that buck lives, and where, when and why he travels. With that information, you can select a tree-stand site along the route the buck takes and bag him. Although in the past, hunters spent hundreds of hours to gather that kind of information, that’s no longer the case.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOnce you’ve identified the locations of large bucks that you want to hunt, you can begin a more-intensive photo reconnaissance. Take away some of the cameras where you’ve only seen small bucks or a few deer, and move them to the regions where you’ve spotted the biggest deer. Put out as many cameras as you possibly can around one or two big bucks’ core areas. Then you can learn when those older age-class bucks move, where they go, and when they may reappear. The cameras give you the opportunity to check on the bucks’ movement without actually being on-site and making noise and leaving odor. Get a map of your area, either an aerial photo or a topography map, and use colored pins to pinpoint the camera sites where you’ve seen the bucks and the times of day or night they’ve appeared. As you gather more photography of each individual buck, you can draw some strong conclusions as to when and where those bucks will show-up during deer season.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewBut there’s a caution with this type of deer hunting. You must keep your mouth shut. If you tell anyone about the bucks you’ve photographed, show any of the pictures you’ve taken or mention to someone what you think bucks on your property do, your friends and family members may hunt the bucks you’re trying to take. Instead, show the pictures, and talk about the strategy you’ve used to take that big buck when you have the deer in the back of your pickup truck, headed to the processing plant. Someone else already hasn’t bagged the older-age-class buck you’re attempting to take, because they don’t know the bucks live on the property, where the bucks live, when they move, and where hunters need to hang their tree stands to have the best chances of taking those big bucks. However, if you provide all that information you’ve worked so hard to get to people you know, they’ll take that knowledge, hunt for and possibly bag that big buck you’ve scouted all year long. The best hunt plan can’t produce a big buck if you share the knowledge you’ve gained with other people who hunt that buck at the wrong time of the day, with an incorrect wind, in an improper place, and spook that big buck. Then the buck will change his daily living pattern and no longer follow the routine that you’ve identified with your motion-sensor cameras.

To learn more about hunting deer, get John E. Phillips’ new eBooks How to Hunt Deer like a Pro,” “PhD Whitetails,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” 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.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: How to Best Plan Your Deer Hunt

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Hunt Deer – the Most-Productive Hunt Plan"

Day 1: How Technology Has Made Taking a Buck Deer Easier than Ever
Day 2: What About Bucks You Can’t Take and When to Start Hunting Deer
Day 3: Gathering Sheds, Keeping Detailed Records to Take More Deer and Setting-Up Trail Cameras
Day 4: Move Trail Cameras to Buck’s Core Areas to Learn More about Deer
Day 5: How to Best Plan Your Deer Hunt

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Entry 693, Day 4