NOTE: For some, deer hunting isn't just an annual event, it's their livelihood.
When they talk, you'd do well to pay attention. A professional deer-hunting guide
earns his living by finding bucks for his clients every season. These avid woodsmen
have spent their lifetimes studying the habits and haunts of deer. They experience
consistent success because they know more and hunt more than the average outdoorsman.
True masters of the sport of deer hunting, deer-hunting guides have developed
common-sense tactics that will produce bucks for you anywhere you live.
NORTON: From Pennington, Alabama, Norton lives in the heart of the Black Belt,
so named for its very fertile soils. Norton lives in a region that never has had
a year without a deer season.
has guided at several lodges near his home and has developed tactics to find and
ONE - "In August and September in many parts of the country, droughts occur,"
Norton says. "During these dry-weather periods, whitetails have difficulty
finding nutritious forage, and they can become very stressed. Most people think
that the summer and early fall months have plenty of grass, but during drought
conditions, this grass is dry and dead. The deer have to move and search for food.
my home state of Alabama, as in many other states, feeding deer is legal. However,
the law says that all food must be gone from an area and be off the ground 10
days before hunting season begins. I put up Moultrie feeders and fill them with
corn in many locations throughout the lands I hunt. I put the feeders about 1/2-
to 3/4-mile apart. I've found that distance allows me to feed different segments
of the deer population. The feeders provide nutritious food for the deer during
a time of year when food is hard to find. These feeders also concentrate the deer
in one spot at a particular time of day where I can observe the deer on that section
of land. By watching the deer in each area where I have a feeder, I can determine...
How many bucks
I have in that region,
What the biggest buck is on that part of the property and
the buck/doe ratio is in that area.
one place where I fed deer last year, I saw 11 bucks. The dominant buck coming
to that feeder only was a six-point. Three quarters of a mile from that feeder,
five bucks regularly visited another feeder. The biggest buck in that area was
a 10-point that would have scored in the 150-point class on the Boone & Crockett
scale. In yet another region where I fed the deer, most of the animals that came
to the feeder were does.
my research, I've learned that usually the largest and most dominant buck that
comes to a feeder will remain in the general region where you see him, since this
is his core area. The other bucks may disperse during or just prior to the rut
from this section of land. Feeding the deer tells me I have a trophy buck to hunt,
and I understand where to begin to hunt him.
need to hunt the feeding-station areas that have a large concentration of does
and few if any bucks during the rut. The regions with the highest populations
of does draw the older age-class bucks which search for does during the breeding
season. Generally, I'll sit my feeders on the edges of a field, a clear-cut or
other open spots where I can see from a great distance. Before the season when
I go to observe the deer at the feeders, I make sure I have a favorable wind so
the deer will not smell me. I wear Mossy Oak camouflage from head to toe to keep
the deer from seeing me. I take a stand about 150 yards away from the feeder and
use binoculars. I wear a scent eliminator to kill my human odor and use fox urine
as a cover scent. I take every precaution to not let the deer know I'm in their
area. Then before deer season arrives, I take the feeders down in plenty of time
to be certain no corn is on the ground to comply with the law. I'm not using the
feeders to bait deer. "I feed deer so I can observe the deer in a region.
Then I'll know whether or not I have a trophy buck to hunt. Using this strategy,
I don't waste my time hunting a place where no trophy buck lives."