John's Journal...

How John Scott Hunts Big Buck Deer on Small Properties

Day 4: Bowhunter John Scott Harvests Two Missouri 11-Points on 11 Acres

Editor’s Note: John Scott and his twin brother Jim, who both live near Birmingham, Alabama, have hunted deer with their bows for 20 years. As John says, “I’m not a very-good deer hunter in big woods. But in little woods, I feel at home and comfortable. I can find, pattern and harvest big bucks every season.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewWhen Jim and I started hunting small acreages in Alabama (see Days 1 - 3), we began to apply the same hunting strategy to small plots in other states. I’d been really successful hunting deer in Texas before, and I convinced Jim to go with me there. We leased a small square 5-mile farm in Texas. In our home state of Alabama, 5 square miles of hunting land was a big piece of property. However, by Texas standards, this amount of land was considered small. The landowner said, “Here’s the boundary map. You guys have a great hunting season. You can take two bucks each and all the hogs you want to shoot. You can fish in my ponds. You have the run of the property for a week.” We hunted that property every year for 5 years. But by then, we had started reading magazine articles and seeing hunting shows about the monster bucks being taken in the Midwest.

I went to the Alabama Deer Expo one year and decided to go on a Midwestern deer hunt. The third table I passed was manned by Fitz Chandler, who owned Royal Flush Outfitters ( in northern Missouri. He also had some land is in Iowa. I liked this outfitter, because the properties that he leased for hunting were small - from 40 to 160 acres – and generally small woodlots bordered by cornfields and/or soybean fields. Jim and I knew this type of place would hold big deer.

On the first afternoon that Jim and I hunted in Missouri, Jim took a 16-point buck with his bow. Three days later on November 10, I was hunting a small piece of property that had a river bottom running through it. I realized the deer had to move up and down that river bottom to go into and out of the fields. The outfitter took me to a green field close to the river bottom with a ladder stand only about 10-feet off the ground in the middle of a green field. All the places I usually hunted were small and thick where I could get 20 feet or more high in a tree stand and wait for a buck to come to an opening. So, I really wasn’t happy with this situation at all.

I climbed into my stand before daylight and heard bucks chasing does all around me but couldn’t see them. At that time in Missouri, a legal buck had to have at least 4 points on one side of his rack. As the sun came up, I spotted a giant 6-pointer come into this little green field. He came within 10 feet of my tree stand, and I couldn’t take the shot. Later on in the morning, two 8-pointers that were about 2-1/2-years old came into the field. Finally, an 11-pointer stayed in the field for about an hour. This 11-pointer walked right up to the ladder going up to my tree stand and never looked up. I already had decided not to shoot this buck when I saw him. I could tell he was a young deer. Suddenly the 11-pointer threw his head up and looked away from me. I saw a big 11-point buck - much larger than the 11-pointer under my stand - with his hair bristled-up and demonstrating an aggressive posture. As the big buck came out of the woods walking stiff-legged, the little 11-point turned sideways and looked very submissive.

Realizing the little buck didn’t want to fight, the big 11-pointer turned to walk away, before I had an opportunity to pick up my bow. I ranged the buck at 48 yards. I finally got my bow and came to full draw, as the buck turned broadside to me. I put my 50-yard pin a little low and right behind the buck’s front shoulder, touched the trigger on my mechanical release, watched the flight of my arrow and saw it vanish behind the buck’s shoulder. I heard the sound of the broadhead hitting the buck, but the buck didn’t move. Then, the buck dropped his head, coughed and tipped over like he was a statue that had been pushed over.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe 11-pointer under my stand never had taken his eyes off the big deer. Once the big deer went down, the smaller 11-pointer charged straight toward him, and for 1 or 2 minutes gouged the dead deer with his antlers and tried to hook the big buck with his antlers to drag the big buck off before leaving. The 11-pointer I took scored 145 points on Boone and Crockett and field dressed at 250 pounds.

Although the farm I was hunting in Missouri was 120 acres, the little spot I was hunting was only about 10 acres. Apparently, the outfitter was using the same hunting philosophy that Jim and I had used in Alabama. Even though soybean and corn fields were all around this 10 acres, the largest concentration of bucks was in the 10-acre plot of woods close to the river bottom with a preferred food source. These bucks had plenty of soybeans and corn to feed on all summer long and even into the fall. The small green field provided a different preferred food source with plenty of cover. Therefore the deer didn’t mind coming out into that green field in daylight hours. From this hunt, I learned that deer in other states may not have as much hunting pressure as the deer in Alabama and may not be as likely to look up into a tree for a hunter as the Alabama deer that Jim and I hunt.

To learn more about deer hunting, you can get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” (John’s latest book), “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” and “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” 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 John Scott Found a Big 10 Point and an 11 Point Buck Deer in Suburbia on 25 Acres

Check back each day this week for more about How John Scott Hunts Big Buck Deer on Small Properties"

Day 1: Why John Scott Started Hunting Small Properties for Big Buck Deer
Day 2: How John Scott Pinpoints Small Sections of Land Holding Mature Buck Deer
Day 3: How John Scott Took a 10 Point Buck Deer Hunting on 15 Acres
Day 4: Bowhunter John Scott Harvests Two Missouri 11-Points on 11 Acres
Day 5: How John Scott Found a Big 10 Point and an 11 Point Buck Deer in Suburbia on 25 Acres

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Entry 801, Day 4