There are some whitetail hunting “methods” that have been passed down through the years. Many hunters have been told growing up, “these are the stands you’ll hunt.” Or, “pick a tree on a ridge or field edge,” whether it be near food or common bedding.
If you see a buck while using these hunting methods, great. But, if not, you just have to hope one will walk within range… next time.
While there is nothing wrong with this hunting methodology, it’s important to strive to become more effective and efficient in getting close encounters with big, mature bucks.
It seems over the last few years, using aggressive tactics on whitetail bucks has become more popular. Instead of using the “sitting and hoping” strategy, hunters are finding and hunting the fresh, hot buck sign.
It is of high importance to understand what exactly your target buck is doing and why he is doing it.
“If you are waiting for something to happen, you’re going to be waiting a long, long time.”Greg Litzinger, “The Bowhunting Fiend”
We know that throughout the changing of the seasons, bucks change their paths quite drastically, walking longer distances during the rut. Having trail cameras set in the general area of where your buck is and moving them from time to time will help you visualize where he is traveling.
Remember, trail cameras only tell half of the story. If you really pay attention and read the sign, such as where the wind direction is, rub lines, track marks etc., you can find where your deer is bedding and moving during those daylight hours.
It’s not one single piece of evidence that paints the picture, but rather several different components being pieced together that will get you headed in the direction that you want to go.
Hunters such as Andrae D’Acquisto, and his son, Cody, from Lone Wolf Custom Gear, Dan Infalt, aka “Hunting Beast”, and another personal favorite Greg Litzinger, aka “Bowhunting Fiend,” have been perfecting this type of “run and gun” style for decades and have the deer on the wall to prove it.
I had the chance to message Greg Litzinger, who has been hunting for over 30 years, and he said, “I always use the [phrase], if you are waiting for something to happen, you’re going to be waiting a long, long time.”
“Sometimes, we have to move towards what we want and some call it ‘being aggressive,’ but it’s not really aggressive if you think about it. If you know where the buck is bedded, and you are calculated with your entry, cover, and your sound control, that’s not really aggressive. It’s just being smart.”
One thing that all the guys agreed on was that there is a large learning curve. Especially when it comes to hunting buck beds. It will take a while to really learn the behavior of mature deer.
These deer don’t become old by chance, rather they have learned how to evade our tactics and ploys. You must expect to make mistakes. You must learn from those mistakes and apply the next time you head out into those woods.
A big thing that I have had to learn, especially hunting public land, is that there is always more than one buck. It’s easy to get caught up chasing one particular deer and thinking that if we spook him, he might be gone forever. Don’t beat yourself up. Trust the process and have fun being out in God’s creation. Hone your skills as a hunter.