John's Journal...


More Weird Places to Find Big Bucks with Ray Eye

Click to enlarge Editor’s Note: Ray Eye has hunted deer for more than 30 years and has been a member of Hunter's Specialties Pro Staff since 1985. This week Eye will tell us about weird places where he's found big bucks. To take a trophy buck, you need to locate a big buck in a region where nobody else is looking for him. Many times these little overlooked spots can and will produce that dream buck you've searched for your life. After reading about where Eye has discovered big bucks, start searching for overlooked honey holes this season to take the buck of your dreams.

I was hunting just north of Kirksville, Missouri, during a December muzzle-loading season one year. I'd been hunting soybean and corn fields and creek bottoms in-between them. Another group of hunters hunted the farm next to us, and I noticed that these guys didn't come out to hunt or go to their stands until daylight.

After putting my hunters out one morning, I had stopped on the side of the road to lock the gate that we used to go in and out of the property we were hunting. I watched as the hunters left their camp in their trucks. I soon saw a herd of deer come up the fence line on their property, jump the fence and come onto our property, cross the pasture and go into Click to enlargesome thick cover near some old machinery sitting on the edge of the pasture. I waited for a little while to let the deer clear out, and then I went over to investigate the area where I'd spotted the deer going into the cover behind the machinery. I discovered a row of cedar trees there that had some huge rubs on them.

This whole area was pretty much wide-open pasture, but there was a small ditch that the deer could get into and move without being seen. Once they crossed the road, they had a line of cedar trees they could use for cover to go into another field. The area was so open that there was no way that anyone would ever think deer would be there.

The next afternoon, I decided that if those deer were crossing the road in the morning, they had to be bedded-down on our neighbor's property and that more than likely, they would be coming back to that bedding area across our property late in the afternoon. I parked my truck about 50 yards down the road from where I'd seen the deer come onto our land. Then I walked up to the spot where the deer had crossed, went down the bank, got into the ditch that I was sure the deer had been Click to enlargetraveling and walked about 40 yards up the ditch until I found a scooped-out place in the bank. From this scooped-out place, I could see the row of cedars about 60-yards away that I knew the deer were using to hide their movements. I backed-up in that scooped-out place and waited for the deer.

About 3:00 p.m., I heard the hunters in the other camp getting in their trucks, slamming their doors and driving away from camp. About 4:00 p.m., I saw the deer coming down the cedar trees. I spotted several does first, before seeing a big buck right at the end of the line of does. When I spotted the buck, I mounted my muzzle loader and let him come in to within 50 yards before I took the shot. The buck weighed over 200 pounds, had a 20-inch spread and was all scarred-up from fighting.

If I'd taken you to the place where I was hunting and told you, "This is my deer stand," you'd have laughed out loud, because there didn't appear to be enough cover to hold a buck, and there surely wasn't enough food for a buck to eat in that area.

Yes, the buck and the does weren't living on our property, but you'll find that often some really-nice bucks will travel across the lands where you hunt at odd hours and odd places where no one sees them or ever thinks to hunt. If I hadn't actually seen these deer cross the road during daylight hours, even if I'd found the rubs and the trail, I probably would have assumed that the deer were coming through this region after dark. The place was just way too open to ever expect to see or take a nice buck in it.

But remember that deer not only use cover but also terrain to make Click to enlargethemselves invisible. They'll move through ditches, walk on the sides of hills, move through a small fencerow or even use a briarpatch to hide from you. When a buck has his head down and his neck out, he only ma be 3-1/2 to 4 feet tall. Even a big deer will rarely be more than 18- to
20-inches wide. So, a deer doesn't have to have a lot of cover to move through to be invisible.

My suggestion to you is to start looking for deer in open places where no one hunts during the time of the day when most of the other hunters are in their tree stands or ground blinds. That's the time of day deer will move the most through places where the hunters aren't. By not hunting when and where other hunters hunt, you'll see and take bucks that other hunters never see.


Check back each day this week for more about WEIRD PLACES I'VE FOUND BIG BUCKS WITH RAY EYE...

Day 1 - The Camp House Buck
Day 2 - More Weird Places to Find Big Bucks with Ray Eye
Day 3 - The One That Got Away with Ray Eye
Day 4 - The Backward Buck with Ray Eye
Day 5 - Trolling for Bucks with Ray Eye


Entry 269, Day 2