John's Journal...

How to Take the Buck that Nobody Else Can Bag

Hunt Little Places

Preston PittmanEditor’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.

Preston Pittman of Pickens, Mississippi, the creator of Preston Pittman Game Calls, has hunted deer across much of the United States.
"I often can find big bucks in little places where other hunters walk by them or where no one in his right mind thinks to look for a buck," Pittman mentions. "A few years ago I hunted at Bent Creek Lodge near Jachin, Alabama. A small pine plantation lay on one side of a blacktop road, and just on the edge of this little planted pine area were sPreston Pittmanix or eight acorn trees. Across the road from this spot was a 2- or a 3-year-old clearcut. Beside this pine plantation and the small grove of hardwoods was a big cow pasture. Although hunters had seen a nice 9-point buck cross the road early in the morning and just at dark there, no one could find this buck during daylight hours. Most of the hunters would pull off the blacktop road, drive past this little pine thicket and begin to hunt the deer at the end of the pasture." Pittman, accustomed to looking for isolated hunting spots, decided not to search for the buck at the end of the pasture in the big woods where everyone else had hunted. Instead, he began his hunt in the acorn trees right on the edge of the pines, less than 100 yards from the road.

"I went into my stand site at about 2:00 p.m.," Pittman remembers. "From where I was hunting, I could watch the cars go up and down the highway. I made sure I had a favorable wind and got up the tree as quietly as possible. When you hunt close to bucks, you've got to be extremely quiet to avoid spooking them." As night fell, Pittman watched the little pine plantation. Just before dark he saw a buck walking out of the pines, stretching himself as he moved into the acorns to feed. "I believe if I'd been watching more closely I even could have seen the buck when he stood up in his bed," Pittman says. The big buck moved out of the pines and fed on the acorns as he turned broadside to Pittman, who watched fromPreston Pittman his tree stand, less than 15-yards away with his bow at full draw. Pittman released his arrow and made a good hit on the buck. He climbed down the tree to claim his trophy. "Everyone knew the buck would feed across the road in the clearcut, and everyone assumed that the buck would go all the way to the back side of the pasture into the deep woods to bed-down," Pittman explains. "However, the buck had learned that if he bedded close to the road, the hunters would walk or drive past him, never thinking to hunt that small patch of woods. Although I didn't really think the buck would bed-down so close to those little acorn trees, I'd learned that bucks often would bed down near an area where they could get themselves some snacks before going to their primary food source. One of the real secrets to finding big bucks no one else can take is to look in little places where no one else thinks to look."

Tomorrow: Take A Shortcut Buck


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 3