John's Journal...

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

Day 5: Don Taylor’s Huge Buck Deer and the Keys Needed to Successfully Take One.

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 View“There was no question in my mind that this huge 10-point buck was the trophy I had hunted for three seasons,” Don Taylor said. (See Days 1-4). “The huge buck was standing at over 110 yards up the opening in the very-thick cover from me. I had a large tree to my back. Rather than trying an off-handed shot, I slid down the tree, brought my rifle to my shoulder and rested it on my knee to steady for the shot. I put the crosshairs just behind the deer’s shoulder as he continued to walk out into the opening. When the crosshairs settled on my target, the buck stopped and offered a perfect shot. I saw the big buck bow-up when the gun cracked. He ran, stumbled and walked in a horseshoe pattern before heading back toward me. I was so sure of the placement of my bullet I didn’t even reload my rifle after I fired. The big buck finally fell 50-yards from me. I only had been in the woods about 45 minutes that morning hunting when my trophy was on the ground. I knew my 3-year hunt had been worthwhile when I saw the antlers and the size of the deer.”

After Taylor took his big buck, he eased out of the woods to meet-up with his hunting companion. But, as he recalls, “I heard a racket out in front of me and saw another doe come through yet another clearing. Right behind her was a nice 8-pointer. I whistled, and the buck stopped. I brought my rifle to my shoulder and looked at the deer’s antlers. ‘You go free, big boy,’ I told myself and the buck, as he walked on back into the thicket while I watched. But a few minutes later, he came back again chasing the same doe. I truly had a beautiful hunt. I checked my 10 point’s teeth and determined his back teeth were almost worn-down smooth to the gum line, indicating that he was an older deer. I believe he was the one I had been after for 3 years. When we weighed this buck, the scales reported 213 pounds, and his rack scored 152 on Boone and Crockett.”

Keys to Taylor’s Big Buck Hunting Success:

According to Taylor, “I believe that I was able to take three trophy deer in the same region in 3 years because:
* “The land was so thick and grown-up that most hunters wouldn’t go into it, giving the deer sanctuary from hunters.
* “The deer were protected by the thick cover and had an opportunity to live long enough to grow to trophy size.
* “There was plenty of food, water and cover in the area.
* “Our hunting club attempted to harvest as many inferior bucks (spikes and deer with malformed horns) as we could, while letting the small 4-, 6- and 8-point bucks continue to run.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“I believe that hunters in search of a trophy need to explore and hunt the thick places. No matter how thick the cover, there is usually a trail, a drainage ditch or some kind of opening where hunters can see deer. But to find that kind of break in the woods, oftentimes the hunter may have to get down and crawl or fight bushes or briars to reach a place to hunt. Learning the land and what the deer do, where they do it, and when the rut is on also can be critical factors in a trophy deer hunter’s success. And, binoculars and a good riflescope are indispensable to taking the hard-to-hunt trophies. Many times the naked eye won’t reveal enough at a distance to give the hunter the information he needs to determine whether or not he is looking at a deer in thick areas. I may hunt all morning long and only cover 1/2-mile by moving slowly and seeing everything within my field of view. If I spook a deer, I just stand still for 10-15 minutes. I have found that spooking one deer doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve spooked all the deer in the vicinity. Usually after 15 minutes or so, the other deer that haven’t been spooked will resume feeding.”

Taylor’s trophy-deer tactics have put three fine bucks on his wall. And, a trophy buck may also be in your future, if you utilize some of his information and methods to hunt the thick places.

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.

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 5