John's Journal...

Hunting Big Buck Deer in Bad, Thick Places with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips

Day 1: Seeing Is Believing When Big Deer Are Hunted

Editor’s Note: I’ve learned that the most-productive formula for trophy-rack buck deer success is to hunt the cover others shun. The results can be spectacular.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewYears ago a friend took a 6-point monstrous-sized buck when I hunted with him. Just eyeing that big buck told me he weighed at least 200 pounds and had one of the most-massive sets of antlers I’d ever seen on a buck with only 6 points. The rack was high, the antlers were heavy, and the deer was big. “John, can you age this deer?” my hunting buddy Don Taylor asked me. “Sure,” I answered. “When I finish skinning him out to mount, I’ll give you a call and tell you how old he is.” After the deer was skinned, and I looked at the animal’s jawbone, I was surprised to see how little wear there was on the teeth. This deer did not look to be more than a 2-1/2- to a 3-1/2-year-old animal. But with his immense size and huge antler development, I couldn’t really believe the deer was that young.

So, I called Taylor and said, “Don, I don’t know for sure, but the deer doesn’t appear to be more that 2-1/2- to 3-1/2-years old. I find believing that deer is that young, very hard.” “Well, that’s great,” Taylor answered. “I was hoping that was the smaller deer I took that we’d been seeing. I’ll get the big buck this weekend. I hope to bring him in Monday or Tuesday.”

My earlier career after college before I started writing and photographing the outdoors fulltime was taxidermy. So, I heard quite a few deer tales. But to think that a sportsman could go out and take a buck bigger than the nice trophy he’d just brought in was more than I could believe. But I wished Taylor luck, although I doubted that this buck was the smaller one.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTaylor had brought in the huge 6-pointer on Thursday morning. On the following Monday morning at 9:00 am, Taylor was once again in my office. This time, as promised, he had a bigger and better buck – a massive 10 point that weighed 213 pounds. “I told you I would get him,” were Taylor’s first words to me. “I realized that if that 6-pointer was only 2-1/2- to 3-1/2-years old, then there was a bigger deer in the same area. I’d been hunting this deer for 3 years, so I knew that the 6-pointer was not the big buck.”

Taylor had successfully backed-up one of the biggest brags I’d ever heard made by a deer hunter. But as Dizzy Dean, the immortal baseball player, once said, “If you’ve done it, it ain’t bragging.”

For more deer-hunting tips, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks "How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,”
How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” and “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” or to prepare venison, get “Deer & Fixings.” 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.

Tomorrow: How Don Taylor’s Deer Hunt Began For Two Big Buck Deer on the Same Land

Check back each day this week for more about Hunting Big Buck Deer in Bad, Thick Places with Outdoor Writer John E. Phillips"

Day 1: Seeing Is Believing When Big Deer Are Hunted
Day 2: How Don Taylor’s Deer Hunt Began For Two Big Buck Deer on the Same Land
Day 3: Taking a Big 6 Point Buck and Deer on the Move
Day 4: Hunt Thick Cover to Take Big Buck Deer
Day 5: Don Taylor’s Huge Buck Deer and the Keys Needed to Successfully Take One

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Entry 750, Day 1