John's Journal...

How to Take the Buck that Nobody Else Can Bag

Hunt 'Em Backwards

Michael WaddellEditor’s Note: Bucks of legend, those seldom seen and mostly nocturnal, that no one can take but that everyone chases have developed reputations of having almost supernatural powers over the years. Here's a look at how some of the nation's deer hunters successfully have pitted their skills against the bucks with the big reputations.

Michael Waddell of Columbus, Georgia, hunts the Encinitos Ranch in Texas. He once hunted an oat field there where several other hunters had spotted a 130-class, 10-point buck. "I’m in videos for Bill Jordan and Team Realtree," Waddell reports. "Each time we spotted this buck, he'd come out in the greenfield so late in the afternoon that we couldn't get the shot at him and be able to film him for the video. We'd never had Michael Waddellany luck seeing that buck in the mornings when we hunted that same field. I decided the buck must be feeding in this oat field at night. I thought if I could get into the field early enough I might catch the deer returning from the field where he fed to the thicket where he bedded. Everyone else had hunted the deer on the edge of the field. In the last week of the season in January, I went back to that oat field in the afternoon to set up for the next day."

Waddell hoped he'd have enough light to take the buck Michael Waddellwith his bow and arrow and to capture the kill on video in the early morning. At the lower end of the field, the opposite end of the field from where the buck usually came, Waddell hung his tree stand in a small clump of trees out in the field. Waddell left his camera, bow and arrow there overnight. Long before daylight the next morning, Waddell sneaked into the field and quietly crossed the open field under the cover of darkness before climbing into his stand. "Just as dawn began to break, I saw the buck coming from his feeding area and heading back to where he bedded," Waddell says. "The deer gave me a 30-yard shotMichael Waddell, and I took him." Waddell's success came because he prepared his tree stand site the afternoon before he planned to hunt, and he took his time and reached the tree stand before daylight, moving carefully to avoid spooking any deer on his way. Too, Waddell hunted in the middle of the field -- backwards of the way everyone else had hunted the elusive buck. By waiting on the buck to return from his feeding, Waddell then not only had enough light to see and take the buck but also enough light to video the hunt. Often when you hunt a buck at a time and a place opposite from where anyone else has hunted him before, you'll have an opportunity to take the buck other hunters can't bag.

Tomorrow: Hunt Little Places

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Take the Buck that Nobody Else Can Bag"

Day 1: Remove the Hunting Pressure
Day 2: Hunt 'Em Backwards
Day 3: Hunt Little Places
Day 4: Take A Shortcut Buck
Day 5: Bag a Farmland Buck


Entry 380, Day 2