Hunting Mature Bucks

buckman4c

Button Buck
Great posts!! Awesome insight!
In regards to calling, I do so on a very limited basis. In my experiences, my calling has done more harm than good with mature bucks. Immature deer respond somewhat depending on what land I'm hunting. Up until last year the large majority of my hunting has been on public land in Pa. More pressure, more guys calling and these older bucks have been exposed quite often to the tactic. Not saying it won't work but this has been my experience. I actually have better luck keeping deer calm in the area with a turkey call.

Another Big Buck Down,
I couldn't have said it better!! Good post! I too go years without filling a buck tag with absolutely no regret. The fire burns.

25 contender,
Awesome! Great Bucks!! Your thought process and tactics confirm my suspicions. The buck we're chasing "disappears" but we believe he's not far away. He is most visible and vulnerable in the early bow season. We wish we had more time to hunt. That may be part of our problem. The other is refining our approach. Aggressive but controlled aggression based on conditions. One of the bedding areas we successfully hunted is the best self example. My brother in-law wanted to set up deeper. I talked him out of it based on bedding sign I found in post season scouting. During the season, we saw a handful of 3.5 year old bucks, younger bucks and doe come and go from that bedding area without being picked off. It was a large, well used bedding area I designated as a primary doe area but I believe bucks lay there too. Our target buck showed on the camera nearby but never while we hunted that stand. I think our approaches in other key areas of his core area are flawed. Need to fix that.

Someone posted about checking cameras when they hunt and not doing so. I understand what your saying but in our case, the bedding area cameras we have are actually outside the bedding area along a travel route. Our access comes by the camera. We typically hunt the location in the afternoon and pass the camera on the way in and out. We purposely set them up this way. One time in, one time out, hunt and pull card. Limits our exposure.
 

TravisLH

Old Mossy Horns
but in our case, the bedding area cameras we have are actually outside the bedding area along a travel route. Our access comes by the camera. We typically hunt the location in the afternoon and pass the camera on the way in and out.
If your checking cams on a travel route any time you do your risking pushing that buck into using a different route. If you know he uses a route consistently I’d pull the cam and move it to a trail and see if you can locate other paths he likes to take leaving the main route clear. If you do check cams on a well used travel route go nuts with sent control, I’m talking rubber gloves and while down everything you touch.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
If your checking cams on a travel route any time you do your risking pushing that buck into using a different route. If you know he uses a route consistently I’d pull the cam and move it to a trail and see if you can locate other paths he likes to take leaving the main route clear. If you do check cams on a well used travel route go nuts with sent control, I’m talking rubber gloves and while down everything you touch.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I get what your saying.
Based on our two evening in the dark photo's the same week I hunted that stand, I'd say he doesn't use that travel route consistently but he is in the area at that time of the season. Our stand is another 60 yards from the camera and closer to the bedding area. Have to get in there one way or another and we don't expect him or other mature bucks to come toward us from that direction. All the bucks we did see came from or skirted the bedding area that's beyond the stand. That trail with the camera is a travel route that goes toward a power line and feeding areas. It's also our access route.

I'm not all into the scent elimination game. I've tried it at a high level and not one time did I get away with a mature buck being down wind. Neither has my brother in-law and he continues to try tricking their noses. The only thing I really pay attention to anymore is my boots. When I didn't even younger deer picked up on my boot scent. This has also worked on mature bucks. Seen them cross my entry trail without hesitation. But, put them downwind without a thermal rise and I'm busted. Obviously other hunters believe wholeheartedly in scent elimination and can give many examples how it worked for them. I'm not disputing their success only relating my experiences.

I play wind direction and thermals. With the stand I'm talking about I don't enter unless its sunny and enough time has passed for the thermals to take over. The wind will be blowing in the general direction of the bedding area but the thermals rise and take our scent up the mountain. It worked quite well last year. I also tried the stand with the wind coming from the bedding area toward me. I did see a few deer but nothing like the best condition. The bedding area sets up best for a deer to use with a NW wind so they can lay with wind at the back and watch south into a deep hollow. This is why we must wait until the air warms and begins rising. Otherwise our scent would just blow the deer out of the bedding area.
 

TravisLH

Old Mossy Horns
I don’t mean scent elimination in the sense of tricking a deers nose.... nothing will do that, but if you can reduce your spore so that it seems as though it’s an old scent you will have better odds. Other than hunting the wind that’s my approach, from what I have personally seen deer key on fresher scents. If you go into the woods at all you will eventually leave scent, and while deer do notice it they seem to key in on where it’s the strongest, ie stands and/or cams. Since we know you won’t completely push a buck out of the area he will use a new route to avoid the spots where the scents are the strongest.
In the past I’ve checked cams on secondary travel routes far more often than where stands were set and sure enough he started avoiding those secondary trails and showed up more often on the main trail.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ECU_Pirate

Eight Pointer
Dont know if this helps. In college i worked for a large private land owner who employed multiple people to manage several thousand acres for hunting multiple species. Almost all of the big buck went "nocturnal" during the season. So your window for seeing them during legal shooting time was low. When seen on camera they almost all had mud up to their knees from walking through the swamp and low grounds. So it was likely they were traveling these areas coming to and from their bedding. If i had to guess id say most probably bedded on the spoils out in the swamp from where the army core of engineers had dumped dirt while dredging the river decades ago. I think a lot of deer in Eastern NC use the swamps as a "safe space". they know that they are least likely to encounter a human there. If i were hunting in this part of the state i would try to find a food source close to a swamp or likely bedding area close to one.
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
Dont know if this helps. In college i worked for a large private land owner who employed multiple people to manage several thousand acres for hunting multiple species. Almost all of the big buck went "nocturnal" during the season. So your window for seeing them during legal shooting time was low. When seen on camera they almost all had mud up to their knees from walking through the swamp and low grounds. So it was likely they were traveling these areas coming to and from their bedding. If i had to guess id say most probably bedded on the spoils out in the swamp from where the army core of engineers had dumped dirt while dredging the river decades ago. I think a lot of deer in Eastern NC use the swamps as a "safe space". they know that they are least likely to encounter a human there. If i were hunting in this part of the state i would try to find a food source close to a swamp or likely bedding area close to one.
Also known as “The Rinkleroot Method”, man that guy has some downeast studs on his wall! Hope he’s still chasing those big swamp bucks even though he doesn’t post anymore.
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
I don’t mean scent elimination in the sense of tricking a deers nose.... nothing will do that, but if you can reduce your spore so that it seems as though it’s an old scent you will have better odds. Other than hunting the wind that’s my approach, from what I have personally seen deer key on fresher scents. If you go into the woods at all you will eventually leave scent, and while deer do notice it they seem to key in on where it’s the strongest, ie stands and/or cams. Since we know you won’t completely push a buck out of the area he will use a new route to avoid the spots where the scents are the strongest.
In the past I’ve checked cams on secondary travel routes far more often than where stands were set and sure enough he started avoiding those secondary trails and showed up more often on the main trail.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Kinda like the t-shirt trick. Set a smelly t-shirt along a trail you don't want deer traveling so they show up on the one your hunting.
I've never really tried that but I have set up hunters for rifle season in a line by way of the wind. Each hunter is downwind of the next guy in line for stand hunting. Deer get between them and bumped to the downwind hunter.

You did give me an idea though. Purposely set up cameras along routes we don't want him using so we can kill him on the one we do. Worth a shot.
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
Also known as “The Rinkleroot Method”, man that guy has some downeast studs on his wall! Hope he’s still chasing those big swamp bucks even though he doesn’t post anymore.
I’m. afraid something happened to him. He hasn’t been back here for a couple of years. I was hoping someone on here knew him. He had the best harvest collection I’ve seen from NC.
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
I’m. afraid something happened to him. He hasn’t been back here for a couple of years. I was hoping someone on here knew him. He had the best harvest collection I’ve seen from NC.
I have the same bad feeling too about that. Would have loved to sit around a campfire with him.
 

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
Kinda like the t-shirt trick. Set a smelly t-shirt along a trail you don't want deer traveling so they show up on the one your hunting.
I've never really tried that but I have set up hunters for rifle season in a line by way of the wind. Each hunter is downwind of the next guy in line for stand hunting. Deer get between them and bumped to the downwind hunter.

You did give me an idea though. Purposely set up cameras along routes we don't want him using so we can kill him on the one we do. Worth a shot.
Something as simple as how you approach a wood’s stand can be critical. I used a climbing stand at my favorite spot for years. Killed my best buck and a couple of really nice others on that tree. Only hunted it on a northwest wind. Over time another member eased closer and finally was within 75 yards of my stand. I told him I didn’t want to be greedy and I’d let him have the spot to himself. He comes in from the exact opposite direction I came in from and hasn’t killed a decent buck out of the area since. I really miss that spot, but it’s been fun exploring other areas. Always takes time to figure out how mature bucks travel. A fine line to get close enough to their travel routes without getting so close we spook them.
 

Aaron H

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
It's been a number of years ago now but I was making plans on a very decent 10 point buck as bow season drew near. Just days before it opened, a hunter on the adjoining property went in and hung a stand maybe 300 yards from where I planned to hunt the deer. I had been actually watching the buck from a hundred plus yards away when the wind was good and had worked out a way to make the deer walk around me and come to me from my up wind side. About now you're thinking I'm crazy, right? To get the buck to come on this route required 3 corn baiting spots. #1 was closest to where the buck bedded and got 2 gallons of corn a day. This spot I had baited all of August. #2 was across the grown up field and upwind of the tree I planned to hunt from and got a gallon of corn. #3 was 17 yards from my stand tree on the upwind side with just a little corn each day. I fed corn in this way for a week or so prior to the bow season. Deer would gather at the first location first since there was more feed there, then move to he second and I never watched them get to the third as my view was not good from my observation place. Opening day bow season came... I put no corn at site 1 or site 2. I baited site 3 at my stand heavily. I was in my stand tree a couple of hours ahead of "deer time" and saw the other hunter's truck pass out on the road and stop. He walked into the woods, up wind of where I believed the buck was bedding. I was watching 2 spikes feed in front of me when I saw the 10 point with a nice 8 point come from the thick stuff and walk to site #1 ... no corn. I watched as they angled into the breeze to site #2 ... no corn. At this point I could not see the bucks which turned toward me walking down hill through cedar trees that hid them from me and me from them. The big 10 point came out from the cedars and lowered his rack to warn away the 2 spike bucks, walked to the corn, stopped and caught my arrow. I was lucky that the other hunter put himself in a wrong position that pretty much guaranteed he would not get a shot. I was also lucky that in spite of my frequent baiting plan the bucks kept coming, the previeling wind held its usual direction and I was lucky that my desired buck had not decided to go elsewhere on that afternoon. The way the land and cover/trees were on that old place offered me no way to hunt either of the first 2 bait spots but if I had baited only the place that I hunted from, the bucks would have walked straight to that place and smelled me easily. This buck was a deer that I hunted the two seasons prior and was 6 1/2 years old when I took him. Hunting any mature buck takes a good plan and some measure of luck I think, or maybe just a generous portion of good luck sometimes.
 
Last edited:

Ambush

Twelve Pointer
It's been a number of years ago now but I was making plans on a very decent 10 point buck as bow season drew near. Just days before it opened, a hunter on the adjoining property went in and hung a stand maybe 300 yards from where I planned to hunt the deer. I had been actually watching the buck from a hundred plus yards away when the wind was good and had worked out a way to make the deer walk around me and come to me from my up wind side. About now you're thinking I'm crazy, right? To get the buck to come on this route required 3 corn baiting spots. #1 was closest to where the buck bedded and got 2 gallons of corn a day. This spot I had baited all of August. #2 was across the grown up field and upwind of the tree I planned to hunt from and got a gallon of corn. #3 was 17 yards from my stand tree on the upwind side with just a little corn each day. I fed corn in this way for a week or so prior to the bow season. Deer would gather at the first location first since there was more feed there, then move to he second and I never watched them get to the third as my view was not good from my observation place. Opening day bow season came... I put no corn at site 1 or site 2. I baited site 3 at my stand heavily. I was in my stand tree a couple of hours ahead of "deer time" and saw the other hunter's truck pass out on the road and stop. He walked into the woods, up wind of where I believed the buck was bedding. I was watching 2 spikes feed in front of me when I saw the 10 point with a nice 8 point come from the thick stuff and walk to site #1 ... no corn. I watched as they angled into the breeze to site #2 ... no corn. At this point I could not see the bucks which turned toward me walking down hill through cedar trees that hid them from me and me from them. The big 10 point came out from the cedars and lowered his rack to warn away the 2 spike bucks, walked to the corn, stopped and caught my arrow. I was lucky that the other hunter put himself in a wrong position that pretty much guaranteed he would not get a shot. I was also lucky that in spite of my frequent baiting plan the bucks kept coming, the previeling wind held its usual direction and I was lucky that my desired buck had not decided to go elsewhere on that afternoon. The way the land and cover/trees were on that old place offered me no way to hunt either of the first 2 bait spots but if I had baited only the place that I hunted from, the bucks would have walked straight to that place and smelled me easily. This buck was a deer that I hunted the two seasons prior and was 6 1/2 years old when I took him. Hunting any mature buck takes a good plan and some measure of luck I think, or maybe just a generous portion of good luck sometimes.
Good job. A guy in our club did the exact same thing. Three nice bucks would come out of a cut over and work their way to his stand. He had them trained to come to the only large tree around. First day of bow he killed a 10 pointer.
 

Roanoke

Spike
I use to do a great deal of deer hunting. I majority bow hunted the entire season and have killed a good amount of Pope and Young’s here in Eastern NC. I always hunt the wind and almost always sit next to a creek or swamp. Sent control is also very important. Remember that sent to a deer is like facial recognition to us. I was hunting a very nice buck a few years ago that blew me from 200 yards away.
I also put out around 1800 bushels of corn and a pallet of trophy rocks throughout the year. I have established sanctuaries strategically located throughout the farm. We also implemented a management plan about 25 years ago.

I takes a lot of work. There is a reason why 10 percent of the hunters kill 90 percent of the game!
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
AaronH,
I wouldn't consider that luck at all. You knew where he was, you game planned how to get him to you and came thru at the moment of truth. Well done.
Unfortunately or fortunately, we can't bait here in Pa except for our special regulation areas. The special reg areas are the suburbs around Philly and Pittsburgh. I did hunt Mississippi a couple years ago and we baited there. Never hunted the place but three of us killed (7) deer in four days.
Roanoke,
For my NC hunt, I continue looking over maps and recently marked all of the swamp locations on the public land. Although I'm more comfortable hunting higher elevations I believe after a couple months of pressure, the older bucks will be found in the swamps. Although good pine thickets can't be overlooked, I'm evaluating the maps for locations where swamp and pine thickets come together or are very near one another. Based on the aerial maps, there is some good diversity on the property. I can't wait to see it in person.
I'll also be hunting my brothers small piece of private land. My plan there is to hunt Sunday morning and see what happens. Put out some bait around lunch time and hunt the evening. Come back in a couple days, freshen the bait and hunt the evening unless I'm getting in to action on the public ground.
Just so I'm clear on this, baiting is allowed on private land but not public in NC??
 

Aaron H

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
AaronH,
I wouldn't consider that luck at all. You knew where he was, you game planned how to get him to you and came thru at the moment of truth. Well done.
Unfortunately or fortunately, we can't bait here in Pa except for our special regulation areas. The special reg areas are the suburbs around Philly and Pittsburgh. I did hunt Mississippi a couple years ago and we baited there. Never hunted the place but three of us killed (7) deer in four days.
Roanoke,
For my NC hunt, I continue looking over maps and recently marked all of the swamp locations on the public land. Although I'm more comfortable hunting higher elevations I believe after a couple months of pressure, the older bucks will be found in the swamps. Although good pine thickets can't be overlooked, I'm evaluating the maps for locations where swamp and pine thickets come together or are very near one another. Based on the aerial maps, there is some good diversity on the property. I can't wait to see it in person.
I'll also be hunting my brothers small piece of private land. My plan there is to hunt Sunday morning and see what happens. Put out some bait around lunch time and hunt the evening. Come back in a couple days, freshen the bait and hunt the evening unless I'm getting in to action on the public ground.
Just so I'm clear on this, baiting is allowed on private land but not public in NC??
Yea baiting is fine on private land but not legal on gamelands. As for hunting gamelands, I used to do it and the only way I ever succeeded on a mature buck was getting access through some private land into a difficult part of the gameland. Often surrounding land owners get tired of hunters asking to cross property to hunt so some places become sanctuaries of sorts. I think hunting the harder to get to places gives a better chance of seeing a mature deer. My experience was beside a beaver pond that created a funnel of sorts. It took about 45 minutes to walk into this spot from where I could park. I carried in a light weight stand, muzzle loader and rattling antlers. I had food and water in my pack and was set to hunt all day. Just after climbing the tree I rattled the antlers. A few minutes later I shot the big bodied 6 point as he came to stand directly under my stand. Took 2 1/2 hours to get him to where I could drive my Jeep to him.26472
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
Aaron H,
Beautiful buck and thanks for the input. I too am considering what locations appear by map to be the most inaccessible on the public land. I "think" I found a couple but I'll probably need a little help from the land manager to confirm my suspicions. I'm also trying to evaluate overlooked places. Looking forward to soon seeing things first hand.

Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to do some scouting here in Pa on the private land I started hunting last year. The same property we are chasing after the sizeable buck I posted a pic.. I finally made it down in to the area where we had several pics of him during the first week of bow season by my brother in-laws stand. Let me tell you, its steep and rugged! Besides that, its not what one would assume based on sign for finding a mature buck. Hardly any rubs around and those I did find weren't spectacular by any means. Although its rugged and has boulders scattered about, the woods are rather open. Not the thick, nasty type of habitat one would expect. I wasn't able to pinpoint a specific bed or bed area he is using in close proximity. I may have to expand my search or look more closely. The problem with open side hill terrain is there are so many small ledges or semi-flat spots where a deer could lay that finding a clearly defined "buck" bed is very difficult. One thing I did take away from my exploring is this location is on the same level of the side hill in which my brother in law had (2) previous encounters. Based on years of limited trail camera pictures and the actual encounters, this buck appears to prefer this level of the side hill. The best way to describe it is right where it becomes steepest and most rugged. Its also where one could lay and see a long, long way down to a bench.
I also took the time to set out some Trophy Rock. I specifically placed (2) of them right along a logging road next to last years early season scrapes. These scrapes appeared in Sept. and were maintained throughout the season. Its our intent to put cameras on the scrapes for inventory purposes. During the summer, they should come to the Trophy Rock. Around the beginning of Sept. if the scrapes haven't been opened, we'll open them and see what shows up. Both locations are in saddles with a bunch of rubs heading toward a north side hill bedding area. These would be located as the crow fly's directly north of the south side hill area we have pictures of the big buck. We anticipate mostly or all night pictures from these cameras.
I also confirmed the single bed I was hunting closest last year was used pretty well. In examining the sign, I found significantly more droppings on one exit trail compared to others. Not the exit trail leading to my stand. I pulled that stand and will be attempting to hang and hunt this coming season. Anyway, I sat in the bed again and looked out this exit trail. I then walked to the furthest point of vision and marked it on my phone app. as the closest I could possibly hunt. I'll give it a try again this year.
The last bedding area I checked was one we hunted with good success last year. The stand is roughly 80 yards from the top edge of the bedding. We saw several 3.5 year old bucks coming and going from there during the season. It was obviously well used. In scouting it more thoroughly, I found something of interest that may push us right in to the middle of the bedding area a time or two this coming season. There are (2) heavily used side hill trails but we can only see the upper one from the stand. There is also a rub line cutting down the hill that gets more intense below the lower side hill trail. With the steepness of the side hill, I'm thinking we could get away with a couple hunts right between the side hill trails and off wind of the rub line trail. This would be very aggressive but during the pre-rut with the right conditions, if we get in there long before day light, its worth the risk.
Other than that, it was a beautiful 40 degree day to be riding the quads, and doing a little recon. Only bummer was not finding sheds.
Apologize for the long winded post but wanted to give you an idea of some of the things I do and look for when scouting.
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
UPDATE:
I just returned home from my trip south. I had the opportunity to scout for about four hours the public land I'll be hunting down there. The first thing I noticed was the lack of buck rubs. While driving the roads and walking the trails I was taken back by the lack of rubbing activity. Here in Pa, I can drive deep woods roads or walk wooded trails and find rubbing activity. In fact, that's where I usually find the big buck rubs to start my more thorough scouting. The best rubbing activity I did find was in a terrain feature pretty far off the trail which was encouraging. I also did find a few scrapes. The terrain was pretty dynamic and probably the most appealing aspect of the property. Some of the pine thickets were darn thick too. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to check any of the deep woods pine thickets. I would anticipate finding a good amount of deer sign in these locations.
I was able to establish the access points and marked them in my phone app.. I was happy to see my phone had reception in the area. Finding the access was the most important aspect of the scouting.
Overall, I wasn't impressed by the buck sign but I only scratched the surface of the property in the easier to access locations. I would anticipate finding more activity further from access points. I look forward to digging a little deeper in to this property.
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
Well....
Pennsylvania just went to a Saturday opener for deer rifle season. I'm on board with it but my NC hunt for a mature buck just got reduced by a day. I know this doesn't sound like much but when your trying to break down fairly large pieces of ground it cuts into the process. It also pretty much nixed the idea of trying to hunt Virginia at the same time.
Based on my scouting and looking hard at the maps, I have "reduced" my focus to (11) specific locations on one piece of ground, (1) general location on another piece of ground and (1) primary stand location for my brothers private land. Believe it or not, I've eliminated most of the area in all three places.
In one area, I broke it down into (5) large areas based on roads, parking areas, property border and streams. Within those (5) large areas, I selected roughly (2) general locations in each to scout and hunt. Most was based on difficulty of access but some is based on habitat features combined with terrain where I believe a mature buck would bed or travel more frequently. Its my hope at least (1) mature buck is living or using each one of the (5) larger areas and (1) of the (2) general locations I selected within that area will put me in the ball game. Theoretically, I'm thinking 3-5 mature bucks home ranges include at least a portion of the entire area I'll be hunting. Hopefully there are more and not less.(LOL)
The plan will be to hunt/scout based on wind to cover as many of the preselected locations as possible. Then, hunt the areas I found the best sign no matter where and what "size" that may be. I anticipate covering the largest area in two and a half days and the other parcel in half a day.
The second parcel is very small in comparison and if there are any mature bucks using it, I would anticipate finding sign in one particular general location (funnel). My brothers private ground is all about "corn" piles and a stand according to wind. With his property, I changed my plans. On my arrival day at lunch time, I'm setting up bait in 3 locations and hanging a stand. I'll go back two days later on Sunday to hunt.
Learning these areas first will be the priority with this years hunt. I plan on coming back so the more I learn this year will benefit future hunts.
Just updating you on my efforts, approach and plan with breaking down unfamiliar territory and the ultimate goal of killing a mature buck.
 

Ceehawk37

Four Pointer
I’d say you’re on the right track. Breaking down public tracts to smaller areas where you can really learn the movement in those areas is a big step. Takes a bit of time and effort to do but can go a long way to being able to get on the animals. A lot of folks that get frustrated with public ground simply don’t concentrate their efforts into specific areas. They bounce around a lot and don’t really learn the nuances of how the animals move in an area. Better to try and really learn a square mile or two of ground, than to try and learn what’s going on in the entire tract. Usually access points, and certain terrain features determine where I want to focus way before I get out there and scout.

As far as the lack of sign you saw, I think you are correct in the assumption that the majority of the sign will be in the thicker areas. This has tended to be my experience as well. Normally if deer are cruising through the big woods, they are either feeding at night or just passing through. Their core areas will almost always be in or near the thick tangle of stuff folks don’t like to walk through.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
Kinda like the t-shirt trick. Set a smelly t-shirt along a trail you don't want deer traveling so they show up on the one your hunting.
I've never really tried that but I have set up hunters for rifle season in a line by way of the wind. Each hunter is downwind of the next guy in line for stand hunting. Deer get between them and bumped to the downwind hunter.

You did give me an idea though. Purposely set up cameras along routes we don't want him using so we can kill him on the one we do. Worth a shot.
I wouldn't intentionally try to steer a mature deer your way using human scent unless it was last resort late in season. And even then I'd rather just let the deer live and try again next year. Cameras themselves are intrusive and effect deer movement, I only use the least intrusive "black" versions of cameras as my goal is to shoot mature bucks, not just the photogenic ones. I am really surprised at how many individuals don't spend the extra $20-$40 bucks for the "black" versions. At some point, you have to ask yourself, is it about getting a deer on camera? or is it about killing a mature buck. I don't push cameras deeper into bedding areas unless I plan and have the ability to act on the information and do it quickly. The closer you get to their bedding, the more they know those surroundings, whether thats new smells, sounds or shapes etc. Then again, I hunt private land so you may benefit more from another approach.
 

LIZZRD

Button Buck
buckman , just curious why you will be hunting NC deer as opposed to say, Ohio , Illinois , Texas , etc.
 

BigBow

Six Pointer
I can be on mature bucks on public here but never see them or get a shot opportunity. Mostly that’s from lack of time on stand and honestly liking to hunt new to me places rather than the same ol’ spots. I jump around too much but always believe the best time to kill a buck is the first time you hunt him, so that’s why I do it.
You gotta quit all "that jumping around" it'all scare 'em off everytime. I agree though about the 1st time being best. Just poking @ you. Good advice. A fellow I know kills lots of deer under the DMAP program, does mostly and occasional nice bucks, but nearly never hunts the same spot more than 2x's
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
LIZZRD,
I have family in NC. It's convenient and the cost for what you get is beyond reasonable in my opinion.

I'm willing to hunt whitetail wherever whitetail live. I have pre-planned hunts for Ohio, Indiana and Missouri. All of those involve making my own arrangements when it comes to accommodations etc.. Hopefully, I can put those plans together in the coming years. I'm targeting them for older bucks but the reality is, my largest out of state buck could come from just about anywhere.
Hunting public land adds a twist as well. Finding the right area and putting it all together. A trip to the Midwest would be expensive and more time consuming(family/work). Like I said, it's certainly in my books to do but places like NC, VA(family in Va too) or my neighboring states of NJ, NY, MD, DE (Ohio is 4.5 hrs. from me) all offer good hunting, mature bucks, cost is reasonable and they are more travel friendly.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
A fair share of mature bucks are killed with marginal wind conditions... when bucks think they have the “ok” wind to proceed. It makes scouting and stand placement crucial. It can be down to a measure of a yard or two.
If you place your cameras out on his trails exiting his bedding, you should be able to go back on the forecast for that area, or just know the thermals and how they work and see what winds he uses what trails. This is the biggest benefit of having a wireless trail camera, I don't have to look back and figure out wind directions 2 weeks prior or weather conditions, instead I get instant feedback through text so I know the wind, its real time so I know if its before or after a storm etc. This priceless real time information has given me a better understanding of mature bucks movements, and has debunked things I had believed for years.

Hopefully, you have more then just one mature buck to chase.
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
I wouldn't intentionally try to steer a mature deer your way using human scent unless it was last resort late in season. And even then I'd rather just let the deer live and try again next year. Cameras themselves are intrusive and effect deer movement, I only use the least intrusive "black" versions of cameras as my goal is to shoot mature bucks, not just the photogenic ones. I am really surprised at how many individuals don't spend the extra $20-$40 bucks for the "black" versions. At some point, you have to ask yourself, is it about getting a deer on camera? or is it about killing a mature buck. I don't push cameras deeper into bedding areas unless I plan and have the ability to act on the information and do it quickly. The closer you get to their bedding, the more they know those surroundings, whether thats new smells, sounds or shapes etc. Then again, I hunt private land so you may benefit more from another approach.
At this point, I'm willing to try anything. What do I/we have to lose? The mature buck I posted a pic. of is on heavily hunted private ground. Time's running out on killing this buck. He will be at least 7.5 this year but we think older. Although I have found some beds I strongly believe he uses, I can't say for sure until I see him come or go from that bed. Setting up cameras near as possible to these beds would confirm his using. We do use black out cameras. I'm not sure where exactly he hides out as the season progresses. The time is now to figure something else out and get this guy on the ground. Waiting until next year isn't so much a given anymore. I'm sure we'll learn more about him by being aggressive than sitting back waiting and hoping things come together.
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
If you place your cameras out on his trails exiting his bedding, you should be able to go back on the forecast for that area, or just know the thermals and how they work and see what winds he uses what trails. This is the biggest benefit of having a wireless trail camera, I don't have to look back and figure out wind directions 2 weeks prior or weather conditions, instead I get instant feedback through text so I know the wind, its real time so I know if its before or after a storm etc. This priceless real time information has given me a better understanding of mature bucks movements, and has debunked things I had believed for years.

Hopefully, you have more then just one mature buck to chase.
Good information on camera use. We haven't stepped up to the wireless cameras. Actually, there's more than one mature buck available on the private ground and the public ground I hunt. However, I only have one buck in mind right now and it requires all of our attention. Can't kill him if we kill other bucks. The benefit to doing this IMO, we should learn quite a bit about stand placement for intercepting other mature bucks on the property.
While hunting for this buck, we have learned a great deal about wind direction and thermals for certain stand locations. Our best action occurs in stands on leeward side hills with a relatively stiff NW wind and sunny conditions. About mid-morning and during the afternoon, we surmise, the thermals are pulling our scent back up the mountain and not into bedding areas below our stands. I may have said this already but while scouting one particular bedding area this winter, I found side hill trails with significant buck sign cutting through the bedding area. The side is steep enough I believe we could get in there extra early and catch a buck (him) cruising the side hill on the way to bed. We have him on camera(last fall) just after dark coming from a nearby deep hollow. I previously found a sizeable bed in this hollow and why we hunted the "doe" bedding close by last year. This year I'll go right in this "doe" bedding a time or two at the end of Oct. beginning of Nov.. Hopefully he's skirting the stand we have in place and this surprise adjustment (hang and hunt or climber) will put me in a position to kill him. This is just one scenario we have laid out for getting this buck.
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
Back to NC for a second. Can I anticipate most creek bottoms will be swampy? And, what "dangers" should I be aware of in these swampy haunts?? I'll be down Thanksgiving week, do I need to worry about falling in a water hole, running in to snakes or other critters?? Should I have snake gators and hip boots or are knee high boots generally sufficient? If your not aware I'll be in the upper piedmont region.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
I hunt Granville and Vance, low areas that get any sun are damp and full of poison ivy type greens and grasses until frost. Snake guys on here say October is worst for seeing snakes, if I had to walk through that stuff regularly I'd wear snake boot, but I've never seen a venomous snake deer hunting, but I'm not looking and don't walk these areas in deer season. I'm walking through them now though for turkeys. I don't need to see them to know they are there. If it's an actual swamp with standing water periodically, yes, you could step in a hole, 2 foot of water, 4 foot of mud and ruin your day.

Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
 

buckman4c

Button Buck
Just an FYI for you phone hunting app. users.

I was looking over my maps of NC the other day just for so and found that the aerial view changed. The pine plantation fields are older than the first view I had on my mapping a month or so ago. They went from short pines to being a few years older. The updated aerial views has changed my approach for one of the areas I'll be hunting. I had hoped to use a couple spots as observation stands to overlook the "short" pines but that now doesn't appear possible.

For anyone hunting unfamiliar areas or places you seldom visit you may want to double check your map views to see if there are any changes. A new clear cut where your stand once was or a clear cut that you believed was rather barren may actually be a few years old. It will certainly make a difference with your approach.
 
Top