John's Journal...

"How to Book a Super White-tailed Deer Hunt” by John E. Phillips

Day 5: Game Managers and Guides Explain How the Deer Rut Impacts Your Hunting

Editor’s Note: How does a sportsman know how to pick the best hunting operation where his chances of bagging that deer of a lifetime reasonably can come true this year or next? Some top-notch lodges still may have some hunts open that you can book for this year, or you can start now to plan your trophy deer hunt for next hunting season. To find the answer, I went to the men who should know best. Each of these men either owns, manages or guides at a successful hunt-for-pay operation where I either have taken or seen trophy deer. Some of them asked to remain anonymous.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“The final and probably the most-critical ingredient in determining a region’s trophy deer potential is to find out when the rut occurs on that land, and what type of deer harvest the lodge manager expects during the rut,” David Morris continues (see Day 4). “If the lodge manager says the peak of the rut usually occurs around a certain week in December, and that during that week hunters will take six or eight big trophy bucks, then that’s a pretty-good indicator that the land and the herd can produce the quality of deer that I want to hunt. The rut presents the main advantage a hunter can have over big, smart bucks. If the hunting operation isn’t taking big bucks during the rut, then that tells me there may not be many big bucks on the property. However, if hunters are killing big bucks during the rut, then I know that the property has the potential of producing the big bucks I want to hunt. In many places, including south Texas where there’s a lot of big deer, if you’re not hunting during the rut, you’ll swear there aren’t any big deer on the property. The best factor to know of trophy potential on a hunting area is what type of bucks are being harvested during the rut. Big bucks are not nearly as vulnerable outside the rut as they are during the rut.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“In most places the peak of the rut will occur during one week’s time. However, the week before the rut and the week after the rut generally are also productive weeks to hunt. Once I’ve gathered all my information and picked out where I want to hunt, I’ll make my reservations during the time the rut occurs or on one week on either side of the peak of the rut. When I arrive at the lodge, I get all the information available from the guides and assume that everything they’re telling me is the absolute truth. Then, armed with that information and my own hunting expertise, I begin to build a game plan for taking the deer. Since my primary objective is to take a trophy deer, food and accommodations are second. I’ve slept in tents before when the hunting was good enough for me to disregard the accommodations. But given my choice, I like a nice place to stay and good foot to eat. I believe that a good night’s sleep is critical to successful deer hunting, because all of your senses need to be extremely keen on the day you plan to hunt. If you don’t sleep well, you won’t hunt as well.”

To decide how to find the best hunt-for-pay lodge or club to go to, use the information provided here by the experts this week. Using these guidelines, you can more-effectively pick a place to pay and hunt whitetails.

For delicious cooking tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks “13 Deer Recipes You Can’t Live Without,” “The Best Wild Game & Seafood Cookbook Ever: 350 Southern Recipes for Deer, Turkey, Fish, Seafood, Small Game and Birds,” “Deer & Fixings,” and “The Recipes You Can't Live Without: Chilis, Stews, Soups, Chowders & Gumbo.” Click here on each, or go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) 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 Book a Super White-tailed Deer Hunt” by John E. Phillips"

Day 1: How to Begin the Quest to Book a Super White-tailed Deer Hunt
Day 2: Information You Need to Book a Dream Deer Hunt
Day 3: What Deer Guides Look for in a Deer Hunt at Another Lodge
Day 4: Guides and Lodge Managers Want Quality Bucks to Hunt Rather Than Numbers of Bucks
Day 5: Game Managers and Guides Explain How the Deer Rut Impacts Your Hunting

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Entry 744, Day 5