John's Journal...

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

Day 2: How Don Taylor’s Deer Hunt Began For Two Big Buck Deer on the Same Land

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 ViewMy hunting friend Don Taylor and the group of men he hunted with had leased a piece of property that adjoined their present hunting lease a couple of years before I hunted with him (see Day 1). Taylor already had bagged a tremendous trophy buck on his lease, which was just across the river from the new property. Taylor assumed that the big buck had come out of the newly-leased property. According to Taylor, “The new area was thick and full of undergrowth. Although a terrible place to try and hunt, I believed that place provided plenty of cover and food for deer. I also was convinced that this was the place that had produced the 240-pound buck that scored 140-3/8 on Boone and Crockett that I had taken a couple of years before. Some of the region was so thick that you had to get down on your hands and knees and crawl through it. I found that about the only way to penetrate this section of land was to go through small rainwater ditches that ran through the hardwoods and dense cover. As I began to study and learn the area, I found that there were a total of five ditches that penetrated the thick cover, which was bordered on one side by a small creek. The first year I didn’t see many deer, but I found a lot of big scrapes, big rubs and signs that indicated large bucks were there.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe following year, while scouting the area, Taylor heard a terrible racket. “There were antlers crashing and tree limbs popping,” Taylor recalled. “I moved-up to the general location, but the deer were gone by then. However, I could tell by the way the ground was torn-up and the size of the trees that had been broken down that there had to be some very-big animals creating that much destruction and racket. This was the same year that I saw what I believed to be the monstrous deer. I only spotted one side of his antlers and knew that he was an 8 point buck or better, besides being a big-bodied deer. I also saw a nice 10-point run out of this region and chase a doe across a bean field. But I knew this 10-pointer wasn’t the trophy deer I had glimpsed earlier. This smaller 10-pointer was killed by another hunter on our property eventually. The inside measurement of the main beam was 17 inches. But I was convinced that this wasn’t the big buck that I had been hunting in the thick cover.

Two years after leasing the new property I felt I had learned the new land well enough to know how to hunt it. I’d always been convinced that learning how the deer moved, where they went, and how they traveled usually required 2 or 3 years of intensive hunting in a place, especially in a thick spot. So, I spent the first two years understanding the area. Then the third year I felt I could take a nice trophy there.”

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: Taking a Big 6 Point Buck and Deer on the Move

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 2