John's Journal...

Big Bucks Where No One Can Hunt Them but You

Bucks in Wide-Open Spaces

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Thousands of acres of land throughout the country home trophy bucks. Often the landowners don't hunt these properties. But they also may not allow anyone else to because they've had bad experiences with hunters in the past or can find no benefits in letting someone hunt their lands. To have a trophy, big-buck hotspot no one else but you can hunt, solve a landowner's problem before you ask permission to hunt. Here are a few ways to hunt lands no one else can hunt by solving the landowner’s problems first.

An oClick to enlargeverlooked region for finding trophy bucks includes areas no other hunter asks to hunt, like a cattle ranch. Most sportsmen believe the more woods you have to hunt, the greater the odds will favor your taking a trophy buck. However, older-age-class bucks usually confine their movement to very small patches of woods in daylight hours during hunting season. Once I found a productive place to take a nice buck on a cattle farm. When I asked Mr. Powell, the farm owner I had met a year earlier, if I could scout his farm and see if I could locate a buck to hunt, Mr. Powell slid his glasses further down his nose. He looked over the top of his frames and said, "John, can you tell the difference between a cow track and a deer track?" "Yes, sir," I answered. "Well, I've seen a lot of cow tracks on this place, but I don't believe I've ever seen a deer track," Powell told me. "Even if you find a deer, you won't get close enough to him to take a shot before he sees you." I laughed and said, "You may be right, Mr. Powell, but I'd like to slip around and see if I can find a buckClick to enlarge on your place." Powell mentioned that no other hunter ever had asked permission before to hunt his land. Although he felt sure I wouldn't find a deer track or a deer, he would give me permission to hunt.

After two days of scouting, I located a big scrape along a small woodlot on the edge of a pasture and a large honeysuckle thicket on the pasture's backside. The 20-yard- wide woodlot ran alongside the fence. An open pasture extended for 300 yards on either side of the woodlot. Although the briar thicket measured less than 30 yards in circumference, two well-defined deer trails ran into and out of the briars. On the entire farm, I only could spot deer activity at these two sites. I decided the buck used the woodlot to traveClick to enlargel back and forth from the pasture. I assumed the buck would hold in the woods until just after dark and then move into the pasture to feed and breed. Then he would return through the woodlot to the thicket to bed down just at daylight. I set up a tree stand at the thicket's edge. On the following weekend, I climbed into my stand an hour before daylight. Just as the sun rose, I spotted a huge 8-point buck heading straight for the thicket. With the deer 20 yards from me, I took the shot. That afternoon I surprised the landowner with the buck. "That buck had to come off someone else's property, because I've never seen him on my land," Powell exclaimed. "How did you find him?" "I pinpointed an area where I thought a buck had to walk, set up a tree stand and waited until he came along," I replied. Many times, regions where big bucks hold will go completely unnoticed by the landowner and any hunter who looks at the property. In many instances, I've learned that when hunting trophy bucks, the fewer places that can hold a buck means the easier time you'll have finding him and the less likelihood of someone else having hunted there before you.

Tomorrow: Bucks in the Pines & Bucks Where No One Wants to Hunt

Check back each day this week for more about " Big Bucks Where No One Can Hunt Them but You"

Day 1: Coyotes for Bucks
Day 2: Bucks Through the Mail Service
Day 3: Bucks in Wide-Open Spaces
Day 4: Bucks in the Pines & Bucks Where No One Wants to Hunt
Day 5: Weird Places to Find Trophy Bucks Where No One Can Hunt


Entry 374, Day 3