John's Journal...

How to Take the Buck that Nobody Else Can Bag

Bag a Farmland Buck

Gary SeftonEditor’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.

When Gary Sefton, promotions manager for Woods Wise Products, lived in Nashville, Tennessee, he hunted in farmland country. Many hunters in that area had tried to take a very big buck they'd spotted in several fields during hunting season. "Although the antlers on this buck weren't that impressive, the buck had a big body, which made him a trophy buck for that section of Tennessee," Sefton says. The other hunters in the area attempted to bag the buck as he crossed fields and pastures, moving from one little woodlot to another. But the smart, mature buck usually could see or smell his predators. "In scouting for this buck, I found a thick, small woodlot where three fields cornered and a drainage ditch ran through it," Sefton reports. "The area stayed wet all year long and was so thick that none of the farmers had cleaned it up to plant it. I found big scrapes and rubs in this little thick-cover area surrounded by fields. I felt that spot was the buck's core area. Once I located this place, I used my compass to determine the direction I needed to approach this site without being scented by the buck." This small wooded spot measured only about 3 acres. However, as Sefton describes it, "The area was so thick that a dog had to back-up to bark in it."Dr. Joe Hudson
Sefton found only a few places where he could put a tree stand to hunt the buck.

For three weeks, Sefton waited for the right wind direction to hunt that area without the buck smelling him. Finally, on the day before the close of the season, Sefton realized that he had the right wind direction to hunt the old buck's hideout in the afternoon. "I went to one of the three places where I could hunt him with that wind direction, and quietly climbed up a tree," Sefton says. "After the woods settled, I began rattling very softly with a rattling bag." Many times, a buck will circle downwind when it heM.R. James and Gary Seftonars antlers rattling. However, because Sefton had left an open field on the downwind side of his tree stand, the buck had to expose himself to the open field when he circled downwind. "I deliberately put the field at my back because I didn't believe an ole’ smart buck would go out into the middle of a field to get downwind of the rattling antlers he heard," Sefton comments. When the buck came out of thick cover at 15 yards, Sefton took him with his bow. "When we aged the deer, we found that he was 5-1/2-years old," Sefton reported. "Even though his rack only scored about 110 points on the B&C scale, he field dressed at 189 pounds. I was really proud that I took the buck many others had hunted but no one else could take."

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 5