Big Bucks, Little Hideouts
Shortly after the heat is on, especially after or during gun season, many mature bucks will relocate to small isolated pockets where most hunters would not think to look. This human intrusion is more than most mature bucks can handle: Suddenly hunters are invading their core areas -- hanging stands, riding four wheelers, firing rifles, shotguns or pistols, talking and leaving human scent all over the place. Avoiding human contact is what has afforded these bucks the opportunity to reach maturity. Some mature bucks seek refuge by heading to heavier cover within the big timber. Other mature bucks vacate the hunting pressured timber for remote pieces of cover. These isolated pockets might include a briar batch along a remote fence line, a heavily weeded drainage, a small wooded area away from the main timber, a weed choked depression out in the middle of a field or cattail lined slew.
The problem with hunting these remote pockets is they are very hard to approach without being busted. In many cases these remote pockets provide deer the ability to smell what they can’t see and see what they can’t smell. This being the case, there are only a couple ways to effectively hunt these situations. One is to glass these remote pockets form a distance and try to pick out a tine, an ear or any part of a deer’s anatomy that will allow you to zoom in. Once you spot a big old buck hiding out, determine the stealthiest route to stalk within range of a clean kill. The second method is to erect a stand or blind in the refuge, leave the area alone for a few days then plan on entering that stand very early, well before daylight. Once on stand, if you sit tight and suppress the desire to grunt, rattle or do anything that might blow your cover, you stand a good chance of intercepting him when he returns.
- Dan Perez