John's Journal...

Study and Hunt 1/2-Mile to Take More Deer with John E. Phillips

Day 3: How to Scout for the Magic One-Half Mile to Successfully Take Deer

Editor’s Note: Instead of rambling over miles of white-tailed deer country, try concentrating on a 1/2-mile area. You may be surprised at what you’ve been missing. Once you find that magic 1/2-mile of land, you may be able to consistently take big deer from the same spot year after year.

Click for Larger ViewC.ick for Larger ViewThe magic 1/2-mile is a place in the woods where big bucks should appear, but locating that 1/2- mile is not an easy task. Olympic athletes train in over-distances and under-distances to prepare for races, which means they train by running further than they actually plan to run in a race, besides sprinting shorter distances than they know they will be required to run. For our hypothetical hunt, we have an over-distance of 4,000 acres. Let’s look at a shorter distance, and see if we can’t learn something from the hunters who have to have the deer much closer than most gun hunters do – the bowhunters. These sportsmen aren’t searching for the magic 1/2-mile. They are attempting to discover the magical 30 yards.

While interviewing two of the most-consistent bowhunters I know, they made the same recommendation. “There is no way to shrink the woods to a distance to where deer can be harvested without spending many hours scouting.” Clarence Yates, who took more than 100 deer with a bow, once told me that, “Just finding a good place to hunt is not enough. To consistently take deer, you must locate the best place to bag deer each day you hunt. To do that, you have to know every tree on the property you hunt by its first name.” Dr. Robert Sheppard, one of the most-meticulous bowhunters I know, said, “If I have 4,000 acres to scout, I probably will have 10 or 20 stand sites. And, I will know which of these places will be the most productive for the time of year and the amount of hunting pressure present when I plan to hunt.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThere are no shortcuts to learning what the magic 1/2-mile is where you can take deer. You must search for it diligently, which is a basic key of successful deer hunting that many sportsmen often overlook. Deer hunting is an outdoorsman’s attempt to find the very-best place in the woods that will provide him the greatest opportunity for see and hopefully bag a whitetail. Shooting the deer is the completion of the hunt. Therefore to be an effective deer hunter, you must spend most of your time attempting to identify that magic 1/2-mile to hunt. If you’ve done a careful and efficient job of scouting, you should be able to see and take a deer within a 1/2-mile. You may have as many as four tree stands in that 1/2-mile. Then no matter which way the wind is blowing, you can come into this region and hunt.

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: Why a 1/2-Mile of Land Is Just Right for Successfully Hunting Deer

Check back each day this week for more about Study and Hunt 1/2-Mile to Take More Deer with John E. Phillips"

Day 1: How Much Land Do You Need to Hunt Deer Successfully?
Day 2: How Terrain Naturally Reduces the Amount of Land to Hunt and How to Use Pressure Points to Successfully Hunt Deer
Day 3: How to Scout for the Magic One-Half Mile to Successfully Take Deer
Day 4: Why a 1/2-Mile of Land Is Just Right for Successfully Hunting Deer
Day 5: What John E. Phillips Has Learned about Deer, Funnels and Saddles of Land

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Entry 751, Day 3