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shooting the big guys
so i've harvested lots of deer but been struggling the big guys.....i hunt an area where the deer population isn't that high.....i mostly hunt feeders and bait piles in food plots and only get the big guys come in at night. Any ideas how to get on the big boys during day? maybe just stand hunt a deer trail? any suggestions would be great!!
Try funnels in the rut. Bucks often travel long distances in area with low populations.
Feeders and bait piles, that may be your down fall ... funnels, bottlenecks, pinch points, travel corridors, sometimes thicker is the better.... to many rely on the dump it and they will come theories ... do you just bow hunt, rifle both ?? .... and elevation where you are ? or is it just brush and woods ....
Hunt where they are, put urself in best possible situation and then hope to get lucky. There are a million things that happen to bring that buck by you or not by you. But prepare best you can to up your odds. Be willing to go deep, look for the things mentioned above.
Hunt high fence like the pros.
You’re right the big guys only come to the feeders at night 99% of the time. From what I’ve seen most bucks especially the older ones check the feeders from a considerable distance if possible usually down wind from cover. For what’s it worth you may wish to consider some of the thoughts below? No surprises or magic just try to check off as many of these boxes as you can. Last but not least are there good bucks in your woods to start with?
Best time to get him is first hunt at location.
If he finds you first you probably won’t see him there again
Hunt the wind (duh?)
Approach stand from least intrusive path, avoiding jumping him at all cost
Have your chit together once there, you’ ll only get one chance! See points one and two above...
Don’t hunt the feeders, hunt the area but not the feeder unless you know he visits it during hunting hours.
Leave the does and small guys alone at the feeders , the more visitors and the more relaxed they are the more likely he will visit the area.
The rut, hunt it! Don’t burn up the place prior, plan your season to be in the woods, at the spot, at the time he is on the move lookin for love and often time careless!
Good luck hope it helps. PS: failing to observe my own advise as listed above has cost me several times in recent yrs. which makes it really suck!
Once you figure out the food source...figure out the bedding area. Get as close to that bedding area without spooking any deer. Or find a staging area near the bedding area where a buck might hang in the cover before heading out for the evening.
Sound like if the deer density is low there's not much AG in the area and your hunting big woods? All the advice stated above is good info hunting funnels etc....when the weather gets cold this time of year baiting can be effective. use a timed feeder that only gives off a little corn. set the timer for half hour after dawn and one hour before dusk. Only hunt the stand when the biggen is hitting bait in the daylight. Train him to show during the day it can be done! Good luck.
Learn to scout especially in the post season and use your bait piles for does. If you have any big guys, the chance of killing one over bait or at a feeder is slim. Hunt them where they travel. That usually means in the thick stuff and the time to find the right spot is as soon as the season closes.
12 pt.... last 3 days in broad daylight
12 pt.... last 3 days in broad daylight
Another 12 pt that has broken times
Another 12 pt that has broken times
The last 2 pics were from my cam pull on Saturday. I could go back through my photos and get dozens more from the last couple years. The 12 point in the first pic has been on that feeder for the last 3 days and mostly in the daylight although I do have some nighttime photos. The second deer was hitting both feeders I have in the daylight. That being said .... getting daylight pics and getting them killed are 2 different things. A couple of observations/ things to consider... how much cover is there. The feeder needs to be close to where the deer likes to bed. If he does not have far to walk from bed to feeder then way better chance of daylight activity. How much hunting pressure. The farm where I got these pics does not get overhunted and sees almost no human traffic with the exception of my food plotting and hunting. When hunting food sources I only hunt when the wind direction is good. Timing....after the rut is over and the temps drop is the best time IMO...I keep the feeders going September - January and really don’t hunt them too much. They are more about keeping deer on my property and competing with neighbors that are also feeding corn.
Don’t forget you’ll need to pass about ten, 125 inch deer to get to the 160. Think of passing good bucks as participating in your own personal “earn a buck” program (it helps as they walk away:) I will play this game but only after 35 years of whitie hunting and ONLY where giants actually exist! Good luck, the best part of the season is just coming up now! C
Bowriter - You do not watch the " bucks of tecomante on TV, there killing under feeders all the time
Best way I know to condition deer for nocturnal useage of your area, is feeding them or a deer feeder. Unless they are struggling with inadequate feed, deer ain’t going to fool with getting caught by man during the day.
I know the feeling. I realized I was on wrong side of farm when I pulled this card!!
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all bucks will react the same. Some will be nocturnal and others not.... and the rut makes them all stick their head out in daylight. Trail cameras have really shifted the odds in the hunters favor with so much insight into deers behavior.
Charlie has the best advice. Gotta pass up some very good bucks too shoot a really good buck. I passed several bucks this season around 120"s or so and only killed a few nuisance permit bucks. I agree that cold weather and not a lot of pressure helps. Shawn
Sounds like you are hunting big woods like I hunt. Ontario must have fairly early snow. Ride the woods roads until you cut a big track or hike up a ridge. A truly big one will have a track longer than a 30:06 shell and even in 2 inches of snow will drag his feet. Find the track early in the morning after he has chased does all night and he will be in a bedding mood. If you jump him, putt right along until he begins to meander looking to bed. Now crawl along. With luck you will spot him bedded, but be ready if he explodes in your face. I like to move downwind a 100 feet or so parallel to his track as they will J hook downwind and let you track by them while they sneak out. I have never baited, but the guys up here who do shoot does and fawns. A guy I know backtracks trails going to baiters property for as much as a mile, sets up in a blowdown high on a ridge and kills a buck that wouldn't reach the bait pile until after dark. I prefer to track, still hunt, or set up on trails or natural food sources. With few deer up here, and a long gun season, bucks are very pressured. This year we had a huge beechnut crop up here and the wild apple trees were loaded. The kill by baiting was cut in half according to the warden. I did a lot of jumping around and moving to connect. A coworker spent 3 solid weeks sitting over a pile of molasses grain and never saw a deer in the daytime but had pictures at midnight.
You mention that you mostly hunt feeders and bait piles. My suggestion is to never hunt a feeder or bait pile until you are getting daytime pics of a big buck using it. Not just a random visit but regular usage. IMO opinion these big ole smart bucks really are not that smart. However older bucks are naturally paranoid and your presence at that feeder can quickly condition them.
I hunt a small 40 acre farm with hunters all around me if I passed on any good buck say 120 or so I'd never see it again. Its easy to say pass the little ones to get a big one if you hunt areas where that works. I hunted Kansas and Kentucky the last 3 years and with big woods etc there are more and bigger deer so ya I pass the small ones there because I know that there are some big ones and not 10 other hunters hunting within 50 yards of me. LOL As far as not going to bait I have a running joke going with the guy that hunts accross the small field from me. He throws out a big pile of corn every fall. I am retired so I get to hunt more that him. I try to text him everytime the big guy hits his corn pile in broad daylight and he is not there LOL. This year he let me stick a decoy out in the field on my side and the big guy came out to his bait at 3 pm saw the decoy and came on a string to 7 yards. Of course never ever having a deer that close there I had my pin set for 30 yards and that along with him flinching I bounced the arrow of his back and watched him bound off probably never to be seen again LOL. Which pretty much sums up jfish point number 4 ! I also agree with the late season guys. I have a feeder that runs all year and its also a sanctuary. I never get pics of good bucks except in early spring and late season when they come to feed after the rut. From about August to the beginning of December they are invisible if they go to the feeder. But end of December through to april they show up on a regular basis.
Thanks for the great tips so far, and yes i have been passing on lots of small bucks in the past couple years to get the big guy.....i do have a couple food plots but yes we have lots of heavy bush around and lots of open hardwood and ridges. i own a great property with lots of variety so the deer have plenty of natural feed that's why i have been struggling to get the big guys to come into baits and feeders during daytime i believe.
Challenge yourself! Your never gonna learn where "X" marks the spot letting a bait pile play the role of "X".
Whitetails have an affinity for certain types of terrain at certain times pre-post rut.The fun is learning where those X's" lie.
Be Brave ....leave the cameras and the bait at the store next year
Genesis is right. To me it is a game. My intelligence and patience against his instincts and incredible senses. When I am trapping, running hare, fishing, stump shooting, I am scouting for next season, trying to figure them out. The main thing with groundhunting is you have to be out there no matter the weather. Big bucks feel the most relaxed when they sense nothing is out there and other animals are holed up.
Establish a strategy based upon terrain structure in areas known to produce big bucks. Set the situation up and only hunt it undisturbed under optimal conditions that are to your advantage. BW
Hunt all day during the rut. The biggest deer I have were taken between 11 and 1
Not a big believer in baiting.
Boots on the ground. Learn the terrain, the funnels to and from the thickets, the saddles on ridges . The "pinch points" so to speak.
Be wise in your setup, be patient. Hunt long, hunt hard when you have the opportunity to do so.
You need more trail cameras and extending further from the bait. Get the ones that send the live stream to your mobile device. This way you can spot the deer coming in enough time to get out on stand before they get there. You are probably just not there at the right time for the big ones.
Franzen are you saying you think you can set up cellular camera to alert you that a big buck is on his way so you can get into your stand? That makes me lol a bit.
But anyhow there are states that would deem that unlawful to use an electronic device in the aid of harvesting a game animal.
Tip #1 avoid feeders and bait piles.
Tip # 2 Avoid areas with lots of deer.
Tip #3 Hunt all day.
Tip #4 Stop killing deer smaller than your goal.
Tip #5 Spend more time off season scouting than you do hunting.
Tip #6 Accept that you will probably be unsuccessful for years.
1. Hunt where there are big bucks. That is mostly private land, and so if you have land pass up all small and mid bucks. 2. Be in your tree stand until you kill. In my experience that is 90% of shooting big whitetail bucks. The other 10% is hunt the first 2 weeks of the season with patterned bucks, hunt Nov 1-10, and hunt the coldest late season and front evenings over the best plot drawing deer. Typically corn in high snow. If you have big bucks around you typically you will have a shot at a "big" buck by end of rut. But your definition of big will change with time.