Hunting Mature Bucks

buckman4c

Button Buck
Here's our target.
My brother in-law had an encounter with this buck 3 years ago. We believe he will be 7.5 this coming year but possibly 6.5.
He is slick.
Up until last year, day light observations were (2) by two different hunters. Pictures on camera have been minimal. Last year we did much better with the cameras but never saw him while hunting. We are hunting a 250 acre portion of a 900 acre piece of private ground. The property is well managed but heavily hunted. The surrounding properties are heavily hunted as well. Not much different than hunting public land as far as pressure is concerned.
In Feb. 2018 I was invited to hunt the property and began scouting. I focused on bedding areas with the objective of finding his beds. Why? Because hunting traditional travel corridors etc. wasn't working for my brother in-law. We needed to find his bedding.
I believe I found several of his preferred beds and pics on camera would support such a claim. The problem, bucks like this don't get to be by laying up somewhere stupid. His beds are extremely difficult to get close. I found one bed which I believed was huntable. I hunted it (3) times last season without so much as seeing any deer.
His pattern based on last year pictures was to bed on a south facing slope early in the bow season. In mid-season he appeared on another camera about 1/4 mile away at the head of a hollow. One in which we hunt and missed him by two days. Then he appeared a couple times on yet another camera(other hunter on property) almost a mile from the first camera in a thick rhododendron patch. Then, he disappeared. This buck has NEVER been seen during the rut chasing a doe. Based on his rack, we believe he is a recluse, possibly a non-breeder and a non-fighter. Very clean rack and there are some other brutes running around to give him a little bit of a fight. During rifle season we firmly believe he hunkers down either on a steep north facing slope or in a large clear cut. Neither location is hunted by anyone in our group for one simple reason. We don't want to push out the "sanctuaries." Many of the deer in general head for these areas during rifle. They are safe there, we don't hunt there and we don't want to push them out into neighboring hunters laps.

We are running out of time to kill this buck, he won't live forever. Has anyone here attempted to kill or killed a mature buck that displayed such an inconsistent pattern?? What did you do to finally pull it off?

The only strategy we can seemingly come up with is to hunt the south slope bed early in the season. This is very tricky and will be a challenge trying to enter the area within a reasonable distance from his bed. Close enough to kill but far enough as to not spook him or more importantly other nearby deer. We're thinking an afternoon hunt. Any thoughts on this ?25941
 

QBD2

Old Mossy Horns
He hasn't displayed an inconsistent pattern at all. In fact, I'd say he's been extremely consistent in staying away from you.

I can promise you that a 6.5yr old buck is not a 'non breeder'. You don't see him chasing, because he's laid up with his ladies in the places you never go....
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
You need to forget the santuary bit, go in there when conditions are in your favor and kill him. Since you said no one goes in there, first sit you’ll catch him by surprise and most likely get rewarded since you seem to already know what you are doing when it comes to finding beds and hunting them. I’d say go in there NOW, find the buck beds and how they are most likely getting used when it comes to wind and thermals or just seeing danger from afar. Then come rifle season when you said you know he goes in there, you’ll already have the info needed to seal the deal.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
I havent ever hunted a 7.5 yr old deer on purpose, few people have in NC.
I do doubt however that you kill him by not hunting him.
The way deer that seem to be hard to kill die around here is with their nose in a corn pile or on a doe's trail.
Past that ncstatehunter has laid it out for you.
Good Luck.
If you really want to see him dead you can get familyman to come kill him if he had a tag. :)
 

DRS

Old Mossy Horns
I hunted one for years, killed him when he was 7.5 years old. I think he was like an old dog, losing it's keenness of the senses. Not careless, he just knew I was there to late. Come to think about it I have hunted other bucks just as old and they disappeared about the same age. I know one of them was killed around 8.5 years old.
 
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bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Here's our target.
My brother in-law had an encounter with this buck 3 years ago. We believe he will be 7.5 this coming year but possibly 6.5.
He is slick.
Up until last year, day light observations were (2) by two different hunters. Pictures on camera have been minimal. Last year we did much better with the cameras but never saw him while hunting. We are hunting a 250 acre portion of a 900 acre piece of private ground. The property is well managed but heavily hunted. The surrounding properties are heavily hunted as well. Not much different than hunting public land as far as pressure is concerned.
In Feb. 2018 I was invited to hunt the property and began scouting. I focused on bedding areas with the objective of finding his beds. Why? Because hunting traditional travel corridors etc. wasn't working for my brother in-law. We needed to find his bedding.
I believe I found several of his preferred beds and pics on camera would support such a claim. The problem, bucks like this don't get to be by laying up somewhere stupid. His beds are extremely difficult to get close. I found one bed which I believed was huntable. I hunted it (3) times last season without so much as seeing any deer.
His pattern based on last year pictures was to bed on a south facing slope early in the bow season. In mid-season he appeared on another camera about 1/4 mile away at the head of a hollow. One in which we hunt and missed him by two days. Then he appeared a couple times on yet another camera(other hunter on property) almost a mile from the first camera in a thick rhododendron patch. Then, he disappeared. This buck has NEVER been seen during the rut chasing a doe. Based on his rack, we believe he is a recluse, possibly a non-breeder and a non-fighter. Very clean rack and there are some other brutes running around to give him a little bit of a fight. During rifle season we firmly believe he hunkers down either on a steep north facing slope or in a large clear cut. Neither location is hunted by anyone in our group for one simple reason. We don't want to push out the "sanctuaries." Many of the deer in general head for these areas during rifle. They are safe there, we don't hunt there and we don't want to push them out into neighboring hunters laps.

We are running out of time to kill this buck, he won't live forever. Has anyone here attempted to kill or killed a mature buck that displayed such an inconsistent pattern?? What did you do to finally pull it off?

The only strategy we can seemingly come up with is to hunt the south slope bed early in the season. This is very tricky and will be a challenge trying to enter the area within a reasonable distance from his bed. Close enough to kill but far enough as to not spook him or more importantly other nearby deer. We're thinking an afternoon hunt. Any thoughts on this ?View attachment 25941
Honestly, if he's that old then he's not just gonna up and relocate cause of a couple dudes spooked him. Mature bucks are actually easier to pattern and harder to push off the property. They care most about themselves and their safety. The reason people don't have mature bucks is a majority of the time because they don't have an area that a mature buck will feel safe enough. These spots are not everywhere but once the find them bucks use them year after year, multiple bucks continue to use them and the older they get, the less likely your gonna change their mind. Yes, he will go nocturnal but he's not just gonna leave.

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Familyman

Ten Pointer
I havent ever hunted a 7.5 yr old deer on purpose, few people have in NC.
I do doubt however that you kill him by not hunting him.
The way deer that seem to be hard to kill die around here is with their nose in a corn pile or on a doe's trail.
Past that ncstatehunter has laid it out for you.
Good Luck.
If you really want to see him dead you can get familyman to come kill him if he had a tag. :)
I really appreciate your vote of confidence o.s., but I expect all I would get out of a season pursuing an old buck like that is a good dose of humiliation. I'll tell you what though, I bet I could take my wife in there and he would show up in about 15 minutes. :giggle:
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
Thanks for the replies.
Spot on with going in to the sanctuary. On the last day of rifle season last year my brother in-law and I debated back and forth during our 45 minute ride if we should. We opted on the side of caution. I did hunt a ridge top stand above one of the sanctuaries. Didn't see a deer until 3:30. Then I saw (4) buck and three doe by dark. The last buck was a 3.5 year old. However, none of the more mature bucks showed or more importantly him.

This is the problem with going in on the sanctuary during rifle season. Other deer that are already in there long before day light.

We will be scouting the sanctuary again (soon as all this snow melts) but this time to find a soft spot if there is one where we can get in there during bow season. Last year while scouting we found single large beds on all sides along the edge of the point. There are a few of these secondary points but this one stood out. Its also directly in line as the crow flies with his bedding on the south slope.
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
I really appreciate your vote of confidence o.s., but I expect all I would get out of a season pursuing an old buck like that is a good dose of humiliation. I'll tell you what though, I bet I could take my wife in there and he would show up in about 15 minutes. :giggle:
yep that would be his demise for sure.:)
 

oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
Thanks for the replies.
Spot on with going in to the sanctuary. On the last day of rifle season last year my brother in-law and I debated back and forth during our 45 minute ride if we should. We opted on the side of caution. I did hunt a ridge top stand above one of the sanctuaries. Didn't see a deer until 3:30. Then I saw (4) buck and three doe by dark. The last buck was a 3.5 year old. However, none of the more mature bucks showed or more importantly him.

This is the problem with going in on the sanctuary during rifle season. Other deer that are already in there long before day light.

We will be scouting the sanctuary again (soon as all this snow melts) but this time to find a soft spot if there is one where we can get in there during bow season. Last year while scouting we found single large beds on all sides along the edge of the point. There are a few of these secondary points but this one stood out. Its also directly in line as the crow flies with his bedding on the south slope.
Use the experiences of the hunting beast crowd to help you. It's their specialty. Bed hunting.
Good Luck. IMO killing a specific deer is the biggest challenge in the sport.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
^^^^^ this, Dan Infalt has also spoke about how much easier it is to pattern old bucks. They hunt public and do it quite aggressively

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ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
That secondary point bedding sounds like the ticket. For a old, mature buck like that look for which bedding is the best for that area and that should help you narrow it down to something he would use. I’d also think about going in there with snow on the ground, easier to see beds and trails, and thus a clearer picture of what’s going on IMO. I know Dan Infalt loves to scout while it is still cold with some snow on the ground, wish I had more opportunities to do that down here.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
That secondary point bedding sounds like the ticket. For a old, mature buck like that look for which bedding is the best for that area and that should help you narrow it down to something he would use. I’d also think about going in there with snow on the ground, easier to see beds and trails, and thus a clearer picture of what’s going on IMO. I know Dan Infalt loves to scout while it is still cold with some snow on the ground, wish I had more opportunities to do that down here.
I had my biggest deer this year walk by my cell camera after the snow, he was the first deer to walk by it after the storm and I knew it 45 seconds after he did it. Unfortunately I was on my way to work, would have been an easy track to his bed. By morning deer had zig zagged all through that area, would have been nearly impossible to track him.

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buckman4c

Button Buck
I've watched and listened to Dan Infalt as well as The Hunting Public. Good stuff.

I've been applying much of what they do. I'm a rookie when it comes to the approach so at this point, I'm really just scratching the surface with how to actually get it done.
I will say this, in the limited time I've been applying the tactic of finding and hunting according to bedding areas, my observations and opportunities at 3.5 year old or older bucks has improved significantly. Not only does it help with setting up to hunt but it really dictates how we enter and exit our stands.
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
In my quest to kill deer and get a crack at a mature buck in NC, I'll be coming down in a few weeks. I'll be passing through and on the way back stopping to scout a piece of public ground around the 28th of March.

The plan is to find and drive access roads and walk a couple trails looking for deer and human sign. If I get lucky and find some really good buck sign maybe check that area out a little. I have mapped out target areas, so, time permitting check a couple of them as well. Is there any hunting going on (Turkey?) at that time or is there anything else I should be aware of at this time of the year??
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
In my quest to kill deer and get a crack at a mature buck in NC, I'll be coming down in a few weeks. I'll be passing through and on the way back stopping to scout a piece of public ground around the 28th of March.

The plan is to find and drive access roads and walk a couple trails looking for deer and human sign. If I get lucky and find some really good buck sign maybe check that area out a little. I have mapped out target areas, so, time permitting check a couple of them as well. Is there any hunting going on (Turkey?) at that time or is there anything else I should be aware of at this time of the year??
Turkey season doesn't open until April. Hatchery supported trout is closed as well, so you will have little competition in the woods.

I will say this, when it comes to mature bucks and killing them consistently, all the guys I know who are able to do it on a regular basis have one thing in common, and that is time. These guys have careers/schedules that allow them to hunt frequently, and string together multiple hunting days in a row. You can be the greatest hunter in the world, but when you only have one day each week to hunt, that hurts your odds somewhat. You are at the mercy of the weather, hunting pressure, time of year etc. When you are able to put together multiple days in a row to hunt, that right there increases your odds. You stand a better chance of hitting good weather, and catching that big buck on his feet. There is always some element of luck involved in killing a big mature buck. You can do everything right, perfect area, perfect wind, food sources, patterns, but if the only day you have to hunt, it's a monsoon out, then your odds of killing that deer are less. Deer are also creatures of habit, but they don't neccessarily follow the same exact pattern, day in and day out. That much is clear just by following the trail camera thread. People post pictures of big bucks and say "He's coming in every morning at 0745, I'm gonna get him on the first sit." And, on the first sit, the big boy doesn't show. Maybe the wind was wrong, maybe they spooked him walking in, or maybe that big buck just decided to check out a different area that day for whatever reason.

I have one friend who kills 3.5yr old (or better) bucks every single year on public land. He hunts often and hard. He sits daylight to dark. He hunts 3-4 days in a row every single week. Just by the fact that he has the time to do that, it increases his odds. I went on a hunt with him a couple years ago. I had 2 days to hunt. He put me in his prime spot. Day one, it rained hard all day. Day 2, the wind blew 40mph all day. I saw nothing. I had to leave and go back to work. He stayed and hunted. Day 3, weather was better and he saw 10 does and small bucks, Day 4 was the perfect hunting day and he killed a big 9pt. He even told me "If you could have stayed another couple days, you would have killed that buck."
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
Turkey season doesn't open until April. Hatchery supported trout is closed as well, so you will have little competition in the woods.

I will say this, when it comes to mature bucks and killing them consistently, all the guys I know who are able to do it on a regular basis have one thing in common, and that is time. These guys have careers/schedules that allow them to hunt frequently, and string together multiple hunting days in a row. You can be the greatest hunter in the world, but when you only have one day each week to hunt, that hurts your odds somewhat. You are at the mercy of the weather, hunting pressure, time of year etc. When you are able to put together multiple days in a row to hunt, that right there increases your odds. You stand a better chance of hitting good weather, and catching that big buck on his feet. There is always some element of luck involved in killing a big mature buck. You can do everything right, perfect area, perfect wind, food sources, patterns, but if the only day you have to hunt, it's a monsoon out, then your odds of killing that deer are less. Deer are also creatures of habit, but they don't neccessarily follow the same exact pattern, day in and day out. That much is clear just by following the trail camera thread. People post pictures of big bucks and say "He's coming in every morning at 0745, I'm gonna get him on the first sit." And, on the first sit, the big boy doesn't show. Maybe the wind was wrong, maybe they spooked him walking in, or maybe that big buck just decided to check out a different area that day for whatever reason.

I have one friend who kills 3.5yr old (or better) bucks every single year on public land. He hunts often and hard. He sits daylight to dark. He hunts 3-4 days in a row every single week. Just by the fact that he has the time to do that, it increases his odds. I went on a hunt with him a couple years ago. I had 2 days to hunt. He put me in his prime spot. Day one, it rained hard all day. Day 2, the wind blew 40mph all day. I saw nothing. I had to leave and go back to work. He stayed and hunted. Day 3, weather was better and he saw 10 does and small bucks, Day 4 was the perfect hunting day and he killed a big 9pt. He even told me "If you could have stayed another couple days, you would have killed that buck."
Thanks for the informative post.

I would say if I do my homework, recognize the sign properly and put everything together....who know's.

Time afield most certainly helps the situation and I'm fortunate to have some at hand. My hunt will be the week of Thanksgiving. I'll start the Saturday before with my last day of hunting either Thanksgiving morning or Friday evening. It depends on when Pennsylvania decides the first day of rifle season will be this year. Their looking to move it to the Saturday after Thanksgiving which means Friday would be a travel and prep day. Long before I started hunting (1981), opening day has been the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Having the ability to scout in a couple weeks even for a few hours is a huge benefit. I did a similar scouting trip to Virginia years ago. Scouted for one full day in March and picked the very spot I wanted to start my hunt later that fall. On the third and last day of the hunt, I killed a 3.5 year old nine point chasing a doe in that very spot. Obviously, I'm hoping things turn out much the same on this trip.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Thanks for the informative post.

I would say if I do my homework, recognize the sign properly and put everything together....who know's.

Time afield most certainly helps the situation and I'm fortunate to have some at hand. My hunt will be the week of Thanksgiving. I'll start the Saturday before with my last day of hunting either Thanksgiving morning or Friday evening. It depends on when Pennsylvania decides the first day of rifle season will be this year. Their looking to move it to the Saturday after Thanksgiving which means Friday would be a travel and prep day. Long before I started hunting (1981), opening day has been the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Having the ability to scout in a couple weeks even for a few hours is a huge benefit. I did a similar scouting trip to Virginia years ago. Scouted for one full day in March and picked the very spot I wanted to start my hunt later that fall. On the third and last day of the hunt, I killed a 3.5 year old nine point chasing a doe in that very spot. Obviously, I'm hoping things turn out much the same on this trip.
That's a good time to be in the woods. Usually rutting activity going on, pressure from other hunters will have the deer on their feet. With that many days to hunt in a row, you are bound to hit a couple good days weather wise.
 

Winnie 70

Eight Pointer
You need to hunt this buck beginning first of bow season and catch him on one of your cameras coming from his bedding area, then and only then get on him right away. If wind is wrong to hunt that bedding area, stay away till it is right. I also believe the less foot traffic in hunting a track ups your chances. Going in checking cameras every few days and he gets your scent he knows you been in there and that not good. Greg Miller has written several books on hunting mature books and had a show few years back with his son Jake. Need to get one of his books and read it. One thing that he says that you can take to the bank....first time you hunt a stand or the first time after hunting that stand after several days are your best chance of killing him. I like to ask every hunter I talk to after he has killed a mature buck was that the first time you had hunted that stand, and most of the time it is yes. There is a reason for that....they know you were there after you left....you cannot get away from that scent and they trust that nose above everything else. Also, most of the big bucks I have killed were right before last light, as close to a bedding area as I could get when I suspected him to be using that area and the wind was in my favor, and like someone has already said....if he is mature he is breeding. You may not see him chasing but he is with a doe somewhere and in a given day he on his feet somewhere, so he is can be killed and you just have to put in the time everyday you can, and the more time ups your chances. Sounds like your mind playing tricks on you.....you got the knowledge to kill this buck. Get that confidence up when you going in there to kill him, you doing this hunt right today, he going to show up at last light....today it going to happen. You will not be surprised when it happens because you KNEW TODAY IT WOULD HAPPEN.
 

TravisLH

Old Mossy Horns
You need to hunt this buck beginning first of bow season and catch him on one of your cameras coming from his bedding area, then and only then get on him right away. If wind is wrong to hunt that bedding area, stay away till it is right. I also believe the less foot traffic in hunting a track ups your chances. Going in checking cameras every few days and he gets your scent he knows you been in there and that not good. Greg Miller has written several books on hunting mature books and had a show few years back with his son Jake. Need to get one of his books and read it. One thing that he says that you can take to the bank....first time you hunt a stand or the first time after hunting that stand after several days are your best chance of killing him. I like to ask every hunter I talk to after he has killed a mature buck was that the first time you had hunted that stand, and most of the time it is yes. There is a reason for that....they know you were there after you left....you cannot get away from that scent and they trust that nose above everything else. Also, most of the big bucks I have killed were right before last light, as close to a bedding area as I could get when I suspected him to be using that area and the wind was in my favor, and like someone has already said....if he is mature he is breeding. You may not see him chasing but he is with a doe somewhere and in a given day he on his feet somewhere, so he is can be killed and you just have to put in the time everyday you can, and the more time ups your chances. Sounds like your mind playing tricks on you.....you got the knowledge to kill this buck. Get that confidence up when you going in there to kill him, you doing this hunt right today, he going to show up at last light....today it going to happen. You will not be surprised when it happens because you KNEW TODAY IT WOULD HAPPEN.
That’s why I don’t hunt the same stand/blind day after day.... if I know a stand has a good buck cruising by I will not hunt that spot until weather/wind/moon line up to have the best chance of getting him in front of me during shooting light.to often I see guys ruin their chances by over hunting an area where the buck is hanging out at 2am


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buckman4c

Button Buck
The buck in the photo, we didn't overhunt this buck but we did it wrong, apparently. That picture was the day after the first day of bow season last year. He showed on that camera consistently the remainder of the week. My brother in-law hunted that area the first time at the end of the first week. When we checked the camera card a couple weeks later, the buck had stopped showing on the camera the same day my brother in law hunted. Obviously, he disturbed him getting in to the stand or while sitting on stand. The buck never showed on that camera for the remainder of the season!! One hunt, one bump?? Talk about sensitive. I think it was a combination of things that just so happened to occur around the same time and not just because my brother in law hunted one day. But it makes you wonder.

With checking cameras. A camera like the one which captured the buck multiple times is only checked when we enter or exit that spot for hunting. These are "bedding area" cameras. We have inventory cameras along logging roads and food plots we check more frequently. During the season last year, this buck only appeared on the bedding area cameras.
 

ctsnow

Spike
The buck in the photo, we didn't overhunt this buck but we did it wrong, apparently. That picture was the day after the first day of bow season last year. He showed on that camera consistently the remainder of the week. My brother in-law hunted that area the first time at the end of the first week. When we checked the camera card a couple weeks later, the buck had stopped showing on the camera the same day my brother in law hunted. Obviously, he disturbed him getting in to the stand or while sitting on stand. The buck never showed on that camera for the remainder of the season!! One hunt, one bump?? Talk about sensitive. I think it was a combination of things that just so happened to occur around the same time and not just because my brother in law hunted one day. But it makes you wonder.

With checking cameras. A camera like the one which captured the buck multiple times is only checked when we enter or exit that spot for hunting. These are "bedding area" cameras. We have inventory cameras along logging roads and food plots we check more frequently. During the season last year, this buck only appeared on the bedding area cameras.
If I had to guess, that buck knows where your stand is. Don’t be afraid to sit on the ground. Stands are overrated.
 

Winnie 70

Eight Pointer
If I had to guess, the buck knows where you are from the git go. If he is old he will not be pushed at all, and I mean not at all. You got to get him the first time you hunt him, he moved the first time you hunted because he knew you were there.... like I said they will not be pushed. They got that sixth sense and that is always on when they on there feet. They knew you were there, it just that simple. When that happens, you start over.
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
With checking cameras. A camera like the one which captured the buck multiple times is only checked when we enter or exit that spot for hunting. These are "bedding area" cameras. We have inventory cameras along logging roads and food plots we check more frequently. During the season last year, this buck only appeared on the bedding area cameras.
I never check my cameras on the day I'm going to hunt, where I expect a mature buck to travel. I'll go in mid day, check them and hunt some where else that day. Also, when hunting woods it's always tough to exit after dark without spooking deer. I always try to figure out the least likely direction deer will travel...and enter and exit in that direction...even if I have to make a large loop around my stand placement, if needed. Both bucks I killed this year from different stands, I went past my stands, staying around two hundred yards away and came in from behind the stands down wind. I hunted those days because the wind was just right to enter and hunt those days. The last one I waited three weeks for that wind. If I happen to have deer near my stand when I'm ready to leave, I'll whistle, bark, flash a light or do something to run them off. They rarely blow when doing this, versus letting them see or hear you coming out of a stand. If an old doe ever spots you and blows, she will come in down wind in the future and alert the deer world you are there.
 
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Aaron H

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
"Has anyone here attempted to kill or killed a mature buck that displayed such an inconsistent pattern?? What did you do to finally pull it off?"

I took a buck this past season that showed on my cameras only at night except for a single afternoon that he came 10 minutes after sunset- I was not hunting that day. I moved a camera in close to the corner of a very thick patch of about an acre in size that bordered a small creek. About a week later I got some night pictures of the buck. I moved a stand in and sat it the first afternoon I got to hunt, November 16th. 2:30pm, I grunted a few times... no response. 3:55pm I grunted 4 times...... At 4:00 he stepped out of that thick place. I'll include a photo of him.... I think around 6 years old.26309

Several years ago another buck that came to my camera just after legal light was frustrating to me. I'm pretty careful to set stands so that I can exit without the deer seeing me. A length of mason line from my stand to a tree limb maybe 25 yards away with some dead leafy branch tied on makes a noisy spooky sound that scares deer away yet doesn't clue them to the stand. Pulling on the string rattles the branch and deer go. I waited for an afternoon rainy day and hunted. As the heavy cloud cover brought early darkness to the overgrown field the buck came with about 6 minutes of legal shooting time left, I took him with my muzzle loader. He was 4 1/2 years old and 10 points. A few years later I took another almost identical buck using the same rainy day tactic.

It is interesting to note that 2 of these 3 bucks were killed the first time I sat the stand. Waiting for the right conditions is sometimes the key..... and of course a bit of good luck helps. Use of rattling antlers, grunt tubes and weather can sometimes make all of the difference.
 
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Winnie 70

Eight Pointer
There's proof Aaron, 2 out of 3 first time you hunted the stand. The mason line string reminds me of a trick I have done....I run a fishing line out of one of my box blinds and hang a cotton ball soaked in Tinks to like 50-60 yards. Have the line attached to a tree running on a small wheel that allows me to send it out and bring it back in....have killed several nice bucks doing this. It up high enough that light breeze catches it and they will come in looking. Oh, what us kids will do.
 
Welcome to the forum. There are a lot of knowledgeable folks around here. Seems like we have a similar path. Here is a post I posted back in 2014. Best of luck!

Age..... is without a doubt what I am keying in on most when deciding to pursue or harvest a buck. I have had the fortunate opportunity to watch multiple bucks mature over the years and man does age tell a big story....literally. When I first started out deer hunting in the late 80's I was anxious to harvest any kind of buck. My first was a 5pt and the elated feeling it gave that young hunter at the time was and still is priceless. I sat with that deer quite some time alone and took in what had just transpired. I have the same appreciation today for that 5pt and ones like him as I watch them pass by while in the stand. Fast forward 5 years later ( early 90's) and after being fortunate to take several other young bucks through my earlier years, I harvested a 3-1/2 year old 100" eight pointer that I could have sworn was a state record. It was at that point I developed a passion for mature bucks and deeper admiration of headgear and what it takes to attain it. Interpreting movements, actions and deer demeanor while watching and passing younger bucks became a valuable part of me evolving towards the type of hunter I wanted to be. Not only did I find that the same 80"-90" 2 year old's I passed the previous year develop into 120" class deer in the following year, there was a uptick in rutting activity with several mature deer chasing and fighting over the territory. I contribute this increased activity to harvesting multiple does every year ( for 7 years ) and increasing the age structure of the older deer on my farm. Then it happened....... a 4.5 130" deer on the ground. The mass on that deer was noticeably impressive. Unlike the spindly tines I was used to holding. Taking that caliber of deer only fueled the fire for why and how I chose to hunt. In the late 90's I watched a 1.5 year old buck develop into a 4.5 year old 138" bow killed eight pointer. From then until now I have multiple 130"+ and two mid 140" deer on my wall. I say this not to be boastful but as encouragement to others hunters who may be following a similar path.

Over the years I have had several close encounters with mature 4+ year old bucks and learned quickly that they are all together a different animal than what I have experienced with other younger deer. These deer scent checked, used cover most all times to conceal movement or moved mostly at low light or darkness, and frankly just had a 6th sense of danger or "that something was not right". That challenge for me is what drives me this very day. It is what keeps me up at night studying typo maps and checking and double checking wind direction. It is why I am in a stand 2 hrs before daylight because I am snugged up against his bedding area in hopes to catch him slipping back in. I have harvested one buck in the last six years and having more fun now than I did when blood was drawn more frequently. The pursuit......however it is interpreted or implemented, is magical to say the least. This is the way I choose to hunt and I find it very rewarding. As long as I am able I will continue to pursue these mature whitetails and if I am lucky ......I will out smart a few more.
 
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25contender

Twelve Pointer
"Has anyone here attempted to kill or killed a mature buck that displayed such an inconsistent pattern?? What did you do to finally pull it off?"
I have on quite a few deer. The last and older NC deer I shot was in 2017. He was all over our 1000 acres. In 2016 I had him on 4 different cameras from one end of the property to the other all the time. The last week of season (Dec) I had him walk by the stand I was getting pics of him during bow season. I let him walk that year as I felt he needed another year. I really thought I would never see him again as that is what normally happens with older bucks on our property. We only bow hunt so it was a big chance to take. The following year I never got a pick of him but felt he was still in the area. Mind you I keep up 8 cameras. In November I had a few hot does moving in a oak flat with smaller bucks. I was jumping around trying to find him following the does. Finally he showed up on the oak flat with another big 8pt chasing the doe and chasing away the other 8pt. I shot him at 40-45yds and he collapsed 30 yds from where I shot him. He was less than 300yds from where I first saw him in 2016. I hunted for him 5 afternoons a week for a month before I shot him. I never sat in the same tree twice due to wind and doe movement. This was the only time I saw him and probably would have been the last. Something I have noticed on older bucks. If I see them early in the season say archery season if I loose track of them at the end of the season I always go back to their early season haunts. During archery season they are comfortable in their small core area and after the rut late in the season they normally will end up back there. Also note that Normally I will kill those older deer within 300yds from where I first see them even if it is a year or two years later.

2016 end of year pic I was up in the cluster of pines 20yds behind him in this pic. Note the blood around his mouth from a fight. Let him walk.


This is him in 2017 shot Nov 11 less than 300 yds from the pic above. This was the first time I saw him in 2017.


This one I saw a few times in the area. I was just patient and kept moving around with the wind till I saw him again. Shot him 11-28 that year.


This buck was shot less than 200yds from where he was first seen the year before.


I hunted this buck super hard. I hunted him for two months within 300yd radius where I first saw
him. Killed him the end of Nov. that year.

Patients, time, hunting a stand the right time, and being aware of everything around you are what you need. Then you have to make the shot when that shot might be the one and only chance you get.

I really believe the most important thing you can do is be mobile. dont hunt the same stand or tree all the time. Very seldom do I hunt the same stand or tree more than a dew times a year unless it is one of my observation stands. These stand are normally right off a road away from the deers core area. I can glass a long way in these stands and can see how the deer are moving from a long distance.
 
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