How do I See More Mature Bucks?

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I have got to say your book, “Deer Management 101″, is the best book about deer management I have read so far. My father and I have 70 acres in Arkansas. In your book (page 70 & 71) you talk about letting deer mature. On our land we have trail pictures of mature bucks, but we mainly see immature bucks. We hunt hard from day break till the sun is down and pass on the immature bucks. We feed the deer on our land but we just can't seem to take the mature bucks. Do you know any ways of getting the population up and helping us see more mature bucks? Thanks and thank you for signing the book that John Luther got me. If he sent you the picture, that is him and me holding the book in the Catfish Hole.

Wesley

Wesley,

Thanks for the kind comments about Deer Management 101: Manage Your Way to Better Hunting! Sounds like your land is producing some great bucks! It's often easier to produce mature bucks than it is to harvest them. By the time a buck reaches 4+ years of age, he's obviously gained much skill at avoiding predators (2 and 4 legged). On the other end of the spectrum, yearling bucks seem to look for trouble. They move frequently in open areas and during daylight hours. This is why I often don't select stand sites where I'll see the most deer. If the bulk of the herd is traveling there, mature bucks are probably traveling at a different place or time. This fall, you might try selecting different stand sites doing your best to minimize disturbance. Consider placing more emphasis on figuring out when and where mature bucks are moving, and less time hunting. Trail cameras can be a great tool for patterning mature bucks with minimal disturbance. By changing your tactics, you may not see as many deer, but you'll probably have a better chance of seeing a mature buck.

Keep me posted as you develop a different hunting strategy. It sounds like it's time you apply Woods rule #2 about deer hunting and management — don't do the same thing and expect different results!

Growing Deer together,

Grant