John's Journal...


Click to enlargeHow To Find Your Buck

Editor’s Note: You can blueprint a deer's movements and accurately predict when, where and from what direction you can expect a deer to show up. But to have a successful deer hunt, you must get to your stand without spooking the buck you hope to take. Although most deer hunters know this fact, few sportsmen understand how to accomplish this feat. This week we'll look at ways to plot your way to a buck.

I like to believe I'm very competent when searching for wounded deer. I can follow a blood trail and deer tracks. I understand where a wounded deer wants to go most of the tiClick to enlargeme, and I know what to do when the deer's blood trail stops. However, if I have to trail the deer for a long time in an area I'm unfamiliar with, once I find the buck or lose his trail, I may be lost. I stay so intent on trailing and tracking my deer that I often am not aware of noting landmarks that will lead me back to my stand or my vehicle.

Because I often hunt in deep woods, I sometimes find a compass not very effective in finding my way out of those woods. A compass only shows you how to get back to the car if you know your reading and the car's. Honestly, most of us don't take compass readings before we leave our cars. If we do, we may not know where we are in relation to the car or the roads we've walked on or any other landmark. Therefore, we can't use a compass effectively.

But a GPS receiver is idiot-proof. Simply push the QUICK-SAVE buttonClick to enlarge on the GPS receiver when you get out of your car. Then you can turn your GPS receiver on when you locate your deer or lose the trail. The GPS receiver will show you where you are, where the car is, the distance you are from the car, and the shortest route you need to travel to get back to the car. Once you start moving, you'll learn from your GPS receiver how long you'll have to walk to return to the car. You'll also find the GPS receiver particularly helpful when trailing a wounded deer. The device allows you to mark significant spots along the blood trail as waypoints using the QUICK-SAVE button. GPS also aids you in locating your deer when his blood trail enters the water. If a blood trail goes into a backwater slough or a flooded-timber area, then you have to assume that either the buck has died in the water and you must wade out into the flooded timber to find it, or the buck has crossed the water and come out on the other side.

In Click to enlargecold weather, I don't want to wade through icy water to find my deer unless I must. I'd rather assume the buck has crossed the water and come out on the other side, where I can pick up the trail. In this type of trailing situation, I know once a buck enters the water most of the time he'll try and run or swim in a straight line across the water. By marking the place as a waypoint where the blood trail enters the water on one shore, I can go to the far shore. Then I can use my GPS receiver to draw a straight line from where the blood trail has stopped at the edge of the water on the opposite shore and my position on the other side of the flooded timber. This one feature of the GPS receiver can save a tremendous amount of time when you look for a blood trail on the other side of a barrier. This same technique will help you find a trail when a buck runs into thick cover and you don't know if he has come out on the other side or not.

By simply punching the WAYPOINT button on my GPS receiver, I now can call up the waypoints I've saved along the blood trail and backtrack to leave the woods. Regardless of where a trail takes you or what type of terrain barriers you encounter, with a GPS receiver you can concentrate your efforts on locating a buck and not worrying about how to find your way back to your vehicle.


Check back each day this week for more about PLOT YOUR WAY TO A BUCK...

Day 1 - Plot the Direction of Your Buck
Day 2 - What To Do When The Wind Changes
Day 3 - How To Time Your Hunt
Day 4 - How To Find Your Buck
Day 5 - Why You Hunt More Effectively With GPS


Entry 276, Day 4