John's Journal...

How to Hunt Deer – the Most-Productive Hunt Plan

Day 5: How to Best Plan Your Deer Hunt

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.

Why the Old Adage Always Works:

Click for larger ViewClick for Larger ViewWe’ve all heard that the hunter who works the hardest bags the biggest buck. The hunter who works the least usually has to settle for taking little bucks or no bucks. Honestly, going into the woods, pulling film cards from the cameras, moving cameras, identifying and learning the habits and haunts of a big buck long before deer season arrives involves more hassle than most outdoorsmen want to have. Not showing the photos of the big bucks you’ve captured with your motion-sensor cameras and not telling what you’ve learned about those bucks goes against all the natural instincts of most bowhunters. However, anyone who endures the hassle and keeps his mouth shut can put together the best hunt plan to take the biggest buck on lands any year since he has the most information. He’s done the most research and has learned the most about the bucks he wants to hunt.

How to Plan the Hunt:

Once you’ve gathered the facts from your motion-sensor cameras, you’ll have three or four stand sites to choose from each day you want to hunt any one of those bucks. Mark each of those stand sites as a waypoint with a hand-held GPS (global positioning system) hand-held receiver, and take the shortest route to and from that stand site without spooking your deer. Arrive at your stand site at least 1-1/2- to 2 hours before you expect the deer to show-up, and remain on that stand site until at least 2 hours after you expect the deer to leave that area. Go to your stand sites, and leave them only under the cover of darkness. Then, fewer people will see you, learn your hunting spots and hunt in these same areas. Probably the most-difficult part of a successful deer hunt occurs when you take a trophy buck. Don’t tell anyone. Don’t put the buck on the hood of your car or in the back of your pickup, and carry him all over town to show your buddies what a fine buck you’ve taken. Remember that most older-age-class bucks move onto lands with a lack of hunting pressure, to have the best chances of survival. Once you’ve removed one of those older-age-class bucks from an area, generally a new buck will move into that territory and may run the same pattern of the buck you’ve just harvested. Often you can continue to return to the same stand sites for several consecutive years and take big bucks there, as long as nobody but you knows about those places. I’ve learned over the years that the hunters who talk the most about how and where they hunt often take the fewest big bucks. However, the hunters who say the least and don’t tell how and where they discover big bucks and take them often will harvest some really-nice bucks each and every year.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewHave you ever heard a football coach say, “The way you play on game day is the way you practice all week long?” If you make your practices the best you can, then on game day, you can play from your maximum potential. Successful deer hunting means using motion-sensor cameras to learn all you can about the deer you plan to hunt before you actually hunt them and putting together the very-best-possible hunt plan when deer season arrives. The tactics suggested and the tips we’ve given can and will increase your odds drastically for bagging an older-age-class buck this season. Get some motion-sensor cameras, and start your photography surveillance now to find that buck of a lifetime. Then develop the hunt plan that will allow you to bag him.

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.

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

Day 1: Plant Fruit and Nut Trees to Create a Deer Hunting Honey Hole
Day 2: The Importance of Native Plants and Natural Nuts to Create a Honey Hole for Hunting Deer Close
Day 3: Use Wildlife Plantings to Make a Deer Hot Spot You Can Hunt
Day 4: Build Stalking Trails through Thick Cover to Help You Take More Bucks
Day 5: How to Install a Stalking Lane to Hunt Deer Close

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Entry 693, Day 5