Hunting Mature Bucks
It may sound obvious but when you want to hunt the mature bucks, you need to hunt where they live!
You can have the best equipment, the keenest eyes, know all of the strategies and techniques to hunt deer, and be the best stalker around, however it won’t be any good to you if there are no mature bucks in the area you are hunting.
So where are the most likely spots to find mature or trophy bucks?
To reach maturity or become a trophy buck, the deer usually survive in:
· Areas with light hunting pressure
· Areas with low to moderate deer densities
· Areas with buck to doe ratios of 1:2 or 1:3
How can you find out the ratios or numbers in the area? Scouting and Wildlife management agencies will provide this information.
A statistic that usually goes with these types of areas is a low hunter success rate. If this figure is high it usually means a lot of immature bucks are being taken each year – which is not what you are after.
In these areas with high deer densities, the hunting pressure is usually so high that bucks rarely grow older than 3.5 years. In some of these areas, 90% of all antlered deer are shot each season.
If there is a high ratio of females to bucks, the bucks are less likely to engage in competitive rutting, so it becomes difficult to get them to respond to rattling, calling, decoys and scrape hunting strategies.
Find an Area with Mature Bucks
These are some of the things you can do to find out where mature bucks live:
· Study the winter range after snow melt looking for sheds
· Review topographical maps and aerial photos to find isolated areas where few hunters go
· Visit local taxidermists and find out the trophy potential of the area, and the areas where the big bucks have come from
· Talk to farmers, rural mail drivers etc to see if they have seen mature bucks
· Drive the roads at dawn and dusk of potential areas, looking with binoculars for large bucks
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few areas, it’s time to put homework in getting to understand the area and where the animals are, and how they behave. The trophy buck will require dedication, patience and restraint for you to be successful.
A mature trophy buck is calmer and less energetic than younger bucks. He has learned to lie low and watches the patterns of hunters. Because of this he usually makes most of his moves during the night.
However his weakness is the rut. His normal patterns involve minimal movements between food, water and his bed except during the rut when he will travel greater distances and not exclusively at night.
This is your best time opportunity to score your mature buck.
You will need to understand his normal daily movements around food and water, and where the does are living, as well as research his places of refuge when there is any pressure.
Once you have this information, you are ready to take him!
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