John's Journal...


Southern Rabbit Hunts for Trophy Bucks

EDITOR’S NOTE: “A trophy buck is simply a giant cottontail rabbit with horns,” says David Hale, co-owner of Knight and Hale Game Calls in Cadiz, Kentucky. “If you know how to hunt cottontail rabbits, you can take a trophy buck. Like a rabbit, a deer may run a circle and often head out of a briarpatch behind the drivers.”

Click to enlargeWhen Hale organizes a man drive in his home state, he doesn’t put standers or blockers in front of the drivers like most hunters do. Hale has learned that standers in front of a drive probably will see only does and young bucks. The men he hunts with don’t care about taking these deer. They want to find the one trophy buck that may hide in a thicket.

“Nine times out of 10, the biggest buck in an area you drive will sneak either to the outside of the drive or behind the drivers,” Hale explains. “Instead of breaking from the drive to try not to give away its position, the deer most likely will move slowly. He then will exit at the back of the drive. For this reason, I always want at least one stander behind the drivers as the drivers penetrate the thick cover. Then this stander probably will have a shot at a walking buck.”

Click to enlarge Hale also puts standers on the sides of the thicket. But, he doesn’t decide where he’ll place the standers until after he has driven this section of land at least once. “After you drive a region and see where a big buck breaks out of the drive, watch in whish direction the deer goes,” Hale emphasizes. “If you drive thick cover between two fields, a trophy buck may break out of thick cover and run across the field. Choose a landmark where the buck enters the woods. Once you complete the drive, go to that landmark, and look for a trail. When you find a trail, even a very dim one, you’ll know where to place your standers the nest time you drive that section of land.”

When Hale drives this same thick cover again, he’ll put a stander across the field from the drive in a tree stand 20 yards into the woods. This stander probably won’t see or hear the drive. But he will stand along an escape route the trophy buck may use when forced out of his thick-cover sanctuary. “This stander may be as far as ¼- to ½-mile away from the drive,” Hale mentioned. Click to enlarge“If the buck runs across the field, he may stop at the edge of the field and look back at the drivers. This stander then will have a good shot. If the deer really spools, it may run 10 to 20 yards into the woodlot before stopping to look back, also presenting a good shot.” By driving a big buck out of his sanctuary, Hale helps the stander get shots. He also drives the buck slowly to insure the standers don’t have to take running shots. By knowing where the deer will go when spooked, Hale can place his standers where they have the best opportunities for shots.


Check back each day this week for more about SECRET MAN-DRIVE TACTICS FOR TROPHY BUCKS

Day 1: First Drive Secret
Day 2: Southern Rabbit Hunts for Trophy Bucks
Day 3: Tactics for Northern Drives
Day 4: Techniques for Western Drives
Day 5: One Day, Five Bucks, Five Drivers



Entry 331, Day 2