“Remember the end goal: walking up to him in success, not watching him run away educated.” Canadian Whitetail‘s Dean Partridge sets the stage for a successful mature buck hunt with time-tested methods.
If you’ve hunted white-tailed deer up north, chances are you’re familiar with Dean Partridge. Hunting deer is in his blood. Canada’s first white-tail hunting television host, Partridge began following his father and learning the species as a small child. Over the years, this passion would only grow; leading him to become one of North America’s top authorities on harvesting mature white-tail bucks.
It’s a skillset fellow hunters are eager to master; something Partridge offers through his Canadian Whitetail series available on PursuitUp.
“Be patient. Taking a big, mature buck takes time. They didn’t get big and mature by being careless or making mistakes. And to take one means not doing the same,” Partridge offers as a start. Patience is the hallmark of a seasoned hunter, he says. But this often leads to frustration when hunting programs show “winning pros” over and over again.
“You often only see our success, the high fives; the 20-minute highlight reel of an entire season’s ups and downs. But believe me, there are plenty of downs,” he clarifies. “Plenty of blown hunts. Plenty of times where we’ve made mistakes and had to re-setup on a now more educated deer.”
But the key isn’t to focus here. It’s to educate yourself on the hunt – and not the bucks on your tactics.
‘Educate Your Hunt – Not the Bucks’
“The key is to not rush these mature bucks. If thing’s aren’t right – stay out. Being in a stand on a bad night can put you further behind than just staying away,” Partridge continues. To do so, “Wait for the conditions to be just right. Wait for the time to be just right. Then strike. And that might take days, weeks, or even maybe more. But hunting that deer smart is going to put you further ahead than being careless every single time.”
Partridge knows as well as the rest of us how hard it is not to hunt a spot where you have a target buck. “But remember the end goal,” he says: “Walking up to him in success, not watching him run away educated.”
If you can’t (or shouldn’t) be in the stand on a particular day, go scouting. Go spotting. “Just try to make forward progress every opportunity that you have. Use the tools that you can in order to be successful and help your odds.”
And never underestimate the necessity of modern hunting technology, something Partridge swears by. “Tools like Ozonics are like trump cards, or get out of jail free cards,” he cites of the trusted scent eliminator. “Your entire hunt may not be based around it, but it’s a card in your back pocket that can and will save your bacon.”
Technology doesn’t make a man or woman any less of a hunter. It exists for a reason, Partridge emphasizes. And much of our inventions are there not to replace factors of the hunt, but to enhance them and ensure we’re creating a best-case-scenario for hunting experienced bucks.
“Even when we’re sure the wind is just right. Even when we’re sure the setup is just right, and that a deer can’t go down-wind. It’s when we’re really sure that the mistakes happen,” he cites.
So remember that end goal, Outsiders: “Hunting that buck smart, being patient, and using the tools around you to help with your success – and also looking at that mature buck hunt as a marathon rather than a sprint – is going to fill your trophy room a lot more reliably than barging into a hunt carelessly.”