John's Journal...


John Demp Grace

EDITOR’S NOTE: Why do some archers consistently take deer each season with their bows while others who spend just as much time in the woods rarely if ever experience success? Let’s see how some of the best bowhunters in the nation produce deer.

John Demp Grace, a longtime avid bowhunter from York, Alabama, bowhunts public lands during gun/deer season.

Bowhunt during Gun Season:

I’ve found gun/deer season the easiest time to find and take a big buck, especially in high-pressure areas like public lands. Because gun hunters and bowhunters hunt differently, the gun hunters will force a buck to move to a spot where I can locate him easily and then bag him. Gun hunters most often hunt open places where they can see for 50 to 200 yards since they want to spot and take the deer to the maximum effectiveness of their shooting skills and their rifles’ ranges. They believe the more land they can watch, the greater their odds for seeing a buck. Because gun hunters walk, stalk and Click to enlargeput up their tree stands on these places, older-age-class bucks have learned to avoid those areas to survive. The only regions bucks have to be by the end of gun/deer season on public lands is in thick cover where the hunter can see only 30 yards or less. Of course, these stand sites are ideal for the bowhunter who wants his shot at 30 yards or less. Older age-class bucks have well-defined routes they use to go into sanctuary areas. By taking a stand along these routes, I consistently can bag the bucks the gun hunters drive to me. Because deer realize which natural barriers hunters won’t cross such as creeks, thick cover and property lines, the three best places for me to take a stand are at creek crossings, in thick cover or along the edges of property lines. Where private land touches public land, the deer on the public lands know if they can get to the sanctuary of the private land, they can avoid hunting pressure. By taking a stand on a trail that leads to private land, I greatly increase my odds for bagging a buck, especially if this private land is not hunted or is hunted very little.

Talk to Yourself Mentally:

Click to enlargeAlthough you must first find a place to take a buck to have success when bowhunting, then be quiet and position your tree stand in the best place, shooting accurately when the shot presents itself either will make or break a bowhunter. I talk to myself mentally when the buck is in front of me and say to myself, “Pick a good shot.” By that, I’m telling myself to remember to calculate the distance to the deer, let the deer present the best shot he will, look for the spot on the deer I want to shoot at, don’t watch the whole deer and try to be comfortable when I have the arrow drawn back. Next, I tell myself to, “Have good form.” I must be certain that when I have the bow at full draw, I mentally check my anchor point, my sighting point and every other aspect of good form in archery - whether I’m shooting at a deer or a target. Unless I mentally check out my form, I realize I will shot inaccurately.

Then I remind myself to, “Get a good release.” Although I use a mechanical release, I want to make sure the release is smooth and not jerky - which can throw the arrow off target. I hold my pin on the target I’m shooting, squeeze the trigger and continue to look at my sight on the spot I’m shooting until the arrow hits the deer. I’ve found that follow-through is critical in accurate shooting. If you’re not looking at the spot you’re shooting until the arrow hits, you probably won’t shoot as correctly. At the same time I’m squeezing the trigger, I’m saying to myself, “I’ve got to have that buck.” I never Click to enlargequestion whether or not I’ll take him. I tell myself I will take the deer, which I believe enables me to bag more bucks.

To learn more about bowhunting, you can buy John E. Phillips’ books, “Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting”, “Masters’ Secrets of Bowhunting Deer”, “How to take Monster Bucks – Secrets to Finding Trophy Deer”, “The Science of Deer Hunting” and “Masters’ Secrets of Deer Hunting”. To learn more about these books, go to You can send a check or money order to Night Hawk Publications, 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35243, or use PayPal address .


Check back each day this week for more about THE MASTERS’ SECRETS OF BOWHUNTING

Day 1: Jim Crumley
Day 2: Larry Norton
Day 3: Bob Foulkrod
Day 4: John Demp Grace
Day 5: Dr. Robert Sheppard



Entry 321, Day 4