John's Journal...

The Best Week for Finding a Trophy Buck

Understand the Does' Secrets, and Hunt Between the Honeymoon Suites

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Famed baseball announcer Dizzy Dean once said, "If you done it, it ain't braggin'." And friends, I've done it. I've found the magic week to hunt deer that increases my odds for bagging a trophy buck. You don't have to bet on moon charts, tide charts, soothsayers or any hunting aids. But you can bet on experience from top biologists and hunters. Read on to learn how to down a buck during the best week of the year.

Most hunters have misconceptions about the rut. However, scientific observation has shed new light on what actually occurs just before and during the magic 24 hours when a doe becomes receptive to a buck. "Just before a doe goes into estrus,Click to enlarge she begins to move away from other does and yearlings and into isolated, thick-covered areas," Dr. Keith Causey, former professor of wildlife science and a wildlife researcher at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, reveals. "A doe's normal home range is about 400 acres. However, just before she comes into estrus, she'll move into and hold in a thick-covered region, usually 30 acres or less. As she starts into estrus, she'll begin to urinate frequently and leave a tremendous amount of scent within that 30-acre range where she's holding." Research indicates that the doe stays within this 30-acre honeymoon site to let the buck find her. Some scientists believe the estrous doe moves away from the other does and yearlings to keep the buck from becoming confused by other deer scents when he comes looking foClick to enlarger her. "Once the doe establishes this small area to hold in, she'll remain in that region until the buck she wants to mate with comes in to breed," Causey explains. "Or, she may leave that area for a short time if an inferior buck with which she doesn’t want to breed comes in and chases her." Harold Knight, the co-creator of Knight and Hale Game Calls in Cadiz, Kentucky, has developed a hunting strategy that takes advantage of this new research. "Three or four hunting buddies and I will take stands in small, thick-covered areas where does come to breed," Knight comments. "If Click to enlargewe spook a buck out of the area, we'll still take a stand in one of these spots because we know that either that buck or another buck will come there to check for a hot doe. If one of us spooks a buck, that buck will likely go to another patch of cover, looking for another doe during the rut."
Hunt Between the Honeymoon Suites:
Knight's partner David Hale, also of Cadiz and a longtime, avid deer hunter, uses a different strategy to take advantage of the same phenomenon. "I target traveling bucks. Instead of taking a stand in the thick-cover areas where the does breed, I'll put a stand between two thick-cover places, hoping to down a buck that's moving between these little honeymoon spots. I also may have the opportunity to take a buck coming out of one of these areas after he’s chased the doe and played the cat-and-mouse game they enjoy playing while they're courting."

Tomorrow: Recognize the Different Types of Classes, and Realize How the Rut Affects the Home Range

Check back each day this week for more about "The Best Week for Finding a Trophy Buck"

Day 1: Know the Best Day to Bag a Buck
Day 2: Do Your Homework, and Know You Have A Trophy Buck To Hunt
Day 3: Understand the Does' Secrets, and Hunt Between the Honeymoon Suites
Day 4: Recognize the Different Types of Classes, and Realize How the Rut Affects the Home Range
Day 5: Where to Find Thick-Cover Sanctuaries



Entry 386, Day 3