How To: Shoot Bigger Bucks

by Jack T. Wilder

The best way to shoot trophy bucks is to avoid mistakes. Big deer get smart fast. And you should too. Wise up. Get your game on. Play for keeps.

The Virginia DWR wants you to score the buck of a lifetime this season and has put out a list of the top 13 mistakes deer hunters make when going out into the woods.

Which of these mistakes are you making?

Hunting in high-pressure areas for bucks

Certainly a few big bucks may be present in heavily hunted areas. But pressure usually makes the mature animals that exist in these herds largely nocturnal. I can’t tell you how many hunters show me summer photographs from trail cams of really nice bucks, and are befuddled when they never see them during hunting season. Simply put, when pressure is heavy, old bucks usually become nocturnal during hunting season to survive.

Not paying sufficient attention to scent control and wind direction

Have different stands in mind, or simply pull out and hunt a whole different area if the wind is blowing wrong for your intended location.

Also, watch the wind during the hunt, with a piece of thread tied to the stand or by using a wind-detector spray bottle. It goes without saying, take great care with your clothing and your body, washing in scent-removing products, keeping them away from foreign odors, and even keeping your hair and teeth as free of scent as possible.

You’re too nice to your deer

Habitat work is great for increasing the amount of deer a property can hold and improving their overall health. But if you have oak mast, fruit trees, food plots, water sources, and edible shrubs scattered all over your hunting area, it’s hard to pinpoint specific routes a buck may use to reach those food and water sources. He can go in any direction and find what he needs. Consider your hunting needs and concentrate food and water you provide in a few specific areas so you can predict mature buck movement more precisely. If you only have three larger food plots instead of five, and have your fruit trees concentrated in one area, it’s easier to pattern deer movement and ambush your quarry.

Go here to check out the entire Virginia DNR list of mistakes to avoid when targeting big bucks.

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