John's Journal...

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

Day 4: Why a 1/2-Mile of Land Is Just Right for Successfully Hunting 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 ViewClick for Larger ViewIf you’ve scouted properly, you can hunt more confidently, because you’ll be totally convinced you’re in the very-best place to take a deer. If you thoroughly understand what the deer do in that 1/2-mile, and know there is a buck in that area, then your chances of success become many times greater than the hunter who is stumbling around in the woods, hoping a deer will appear. The magic 1/2-mile is the spot that most successful deer hunters try to locate, because they often can take more than one buck from a region like this and may bag deer for several years from this same 1/2-mile – if the terrain and habitat don’t change.

What the Magic 1/2-Mile Looks Like:

Although the magic 1/2-mile will look different in various parts of the country and can be found in several types of terrain, there are some common characteristics magic 1/2-miles have. Let’s see what has made these places so productive, and why they can be hunting during an entire season and often even for several years.

I hunted a thicket for several years when I was in college at the University of West Alabama in Livingston, Alabama, that was in the middle of a river-bottom hardwood swamp that often flooded during hunting season. This thicket was productive, because it was protected from the hunters by water. The woods that flooded during the rainy season contained water oaks, white oaks, willow oaks and red oaks. The thicket was on high ground so that even when the river rose, the deer had sanctuary. Inside the thicket were plentiful blackberries and greenbrier. Since there were trails leading into the water, I knew the deer had to be in the thicket. But the problem with hunting this thicket was that the water surrounding it was chest-wader high. Finally when all else failed, I took a canoe through the woods, paddled across the water and reached the thicket. I did spook numbers of deer and could hear them run off and even occasionally see the whites of their tails.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe first day or two I hunted the thicket, I was unsuccessful. However, after I spent a day scouting the thicket, which was about 1/2-mile long, when the water was up, I found a break in the cover near one end of the island thicket. I soon learned that if I crossed the water and took a stand near that opening well before daylight that I consistently could see deer that were holding in a thicket on the island during daylight hours when hunting pressure was great in surrounding regions. To protect my magic thicket, I tried to make sure that no one saw me going into or out of the woods when I hunted. And, I hunted it for a number of years.

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: What John E. Phillips Has Learned about Deer, Funnels and Saddles of Land

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 4