John's Journal...

Hunt Public Land Deer

Day 4: Hunt Big Michigan Deer

Editor’s Note: Fifty-year-old Kevin Hutchings, from Howell, Michigan, which is located close to Ann Arbor, has been hunting deer as long as he can remember.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewWe have a deer camp in north Michigan close to some public land where we've hunted for many years. On this particular hunt, I was hunting another pinch point where the woods narrowed-down. When hunters come into the woods, they push deer through that pinch point. I call this spot the trail of terror, because we see a lot of deer coming through this pinch point. This strip of woods narrows down to about 100 yards, and we can see either side of the woodlot. I was facing the direction where the deer most often came from when I heard a noise behind me. On this hunt, I was using a .300 short Mag. When I turned to look, I saw a nice 9-point buck behind me about 10 yards from my tree stand. I aimed for his front shoulder. The buck was quartering to me, and I knew my bullet would go in the heart and lung area, so I fired. When the deer took the bullet, he took off running right toward the swamp. Since I knew I didn’t want the buck to get in the water, I quickly bolted my rifle and aimed for the middle of his spine. As he was running away, I fired again, and the buck went down. When I took the second shot, the buck was only about 50 yards away from me. This was the biggest buck I'd ever taken off this public land where I hunted. On this hunt, I was really lucky that I could get my truck within 100 yards of this buck. So, I only had to drag him about 100 yards out of the woods.

I've always wanted to take a buck with my blackpowder rifle. But because muzzleloader season comes in at the end of deer season, I usually don’t have a deer tag left to hunt muzzleloader season. However, this year, I have a blackpowder hunt scheduled with my older daughter – 25-year-old Megan. My younger daughter, Mindy, is 19. Mindy is going to let Megan borrow her blackpowder rifle to hunt with me. We’ll be loading with two pellets of Triple Seven powder (, and shooting PowerBelt bullets ( In our area of Michigan, blackpowder season runs December 4 to December 11. So, I’ve made sure that I will be free those 2 weekends to take Megan, because she and I never have hunted together before.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewBowhunting is my favorite way to hunt whitetails. Our season in Michigan runs from October 1 until the end of December, but we only have about 2 weeks of gun season. I like the PSE Dream Season Decree ( because it’s super smooth, very accurate and fast. I like to shoot only one pin. Once I've ranged the distance I want to shoot, I've learned to adjust where I aim with that one pin. Another reason I like the Decree is because it’s extremely quiet. In previous years, I've shot bows that sounded like rifles being fired when I’ve released the strings.

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “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,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “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.

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from

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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: Take Big Doe Deer

Check back each day this week for more about Hunt Public Land Deer

Day 1: Hunt Swamps and Other Public Lands for Deer
Day 2: Hunt Early for Deer
Day 3: Take Deer Out of Heavy Brush or Swampy Places
Day 4: Hunt Big Michigan Deer
Day 5: Take Big Doe Deer

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Entry 856, Day 4