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By Dick Scorzafava

There are two kinds of whitetail hunters, those that will take any deer to fill a tag and those who seek out one special big buck, and no one else will do.  Hunting big bucks successfully demonstrates that the hunter has not only the knowledge of the behavior patterns of the whitetail, the hunting skills to locate and successfully make a killing shot as well as the proper mental attitude.

A big buck hunter needs to work hard each and every time he enters the woods in order to be consistently successful.  We’ve all heard the stories tinged with fate, or a luck y star and any hunter who crashed through the woods and sits in a hastily erected treestand, and pops a big bruiser.  Well that’s exactly what it is just luck.  Sometimes even the most skilled hunter has an off day, makes a wrong site selection, gets winded, gets the sun In his eyes, makes a noise, leaves a stand too soon—whatever.  We’ve all experienced those “coulda-woulda-shoulda’s” that are so frustrating.  Positive thinking goes a way to positive results and throw in a good measure of extended effort as well.

Extra effort and a high level of persistence or commitment are critical elements to consistently taking a big buck.  For me hunting is something I do nearly everyday, sometimes to my wife’s chagrin.  Research, pre-season scouting, hunting, post-season scouting, reading, remembering, wishful thinking, planning next season’s strategy and talking to all my hunting buddies, I do it all not all at once but most days I am involved with a hunting strategy or learning about some whitetail behavior, somehow.

I guess I’m obsessed but that’s what it takes to be more than lucky in the field.  I’m not successful 100% of the time, no one is but I do try to gain something positive from each hunting season.  Some new bit of information  to add to my repertoire.

When pursuing big bucks and only big bucks the hunter becomes discriminating.  Even though one of us dare scoff “Lady Luck” we need to take control (or try to) to capitalize on a situation that will end in a successful season for us.

What exactly is a big buck any how.  Well the record book keepers have their minimum scores but I think in general each and every hunter must have his own definition of what is big.  What is big to an individual hunter is relative to his experience and the animals he has taken in the past.  The term big should represent an animal that requires diligent and careful planning and that is sought for himself as an individual, not just because he passed the hunter in a treestand.

Picking up the gauntlet and accepting the challenge is not easy—not for any hunter.  One condition of any buck living long enough to be considered a big bucks means that he has survived many hunting seasons.  A bucks fined tuned senses and natural instinct of self preservation have been augmented by years of experiences with man.  The buck will always rise to the occasion and enters the competition with the odds in his favor.  His adaptability keeps those odds I his favor.  His life depends upon it.  That’s why whitetail bucks are so adaptable, and that’s why we love to hunt them.

Before you can hunt a big buck you have to find a big buck.  If you don’t know that a big buck is in the area that you’re hunting, your chances of bagging him, even if he is there, are probably slim and none.  Most hunters pick a spot and hope for the best.  This may be OK for the guy who wants a buck but not for those of us who want a certain buck.  Old favorite hunting camps, and those close to home convenient spots may to be the best places to look for your super buck.  This is especially true if you have a limited amount of time to spend hunting.

Many hunters do not do their pre-or post-season scouting and then spend valuable hunting time searching for a good location and/or a good buck.  Others spend their time in the woods hunting earnestly in  non-productive areas.   I don’t know which is worse but both could have been avoided by doing some scouting before hunting season began and planning a hunting strategy.  That way a hunter can make the most effective use of all his hunting time, for hunting.  The more you hunt the better your chances of getting a big buck.
Locating the buck is the first step.  You’ve got to find one to bag one.  Once you are sure that you’ve found the big buck that you want to hunt as an individual.  Use the sign that you can find to pattern his movements.  Learn what he does and where he goes in his daily routine.

Again whatever big means to you is big enough.  The hunter must be the judge but a record class buck will be one of a few individuals in any concentration of deer or herd.  Just how many extraordinary individual could there be?  Probable only a very few less than one percent of the total population perhaps.  If there are many hunters seeking that big guy, you’ll have even more difficulty bringing him down due to hunting pressure.

Hunting pressure forces these individuals to become virtually totally nocturnal.  The mature bucks, will react immediately in his own best interest if he gets the slightest indication that his core area has been invaded by man.  It’s hard to get by a buck’s phenomenal nose and it’s even harder to remain undetected when a hunter invades his core area.

He lives there 365 days a year and has an intimate knowledge with every inch of his territory.  Once on the alert, it will be increasingly difficult to see him let alone pattern him.  Even if he is forced to leave his sanctuary during daylight hours, he will stick to private remote areas and remain in very thick cover.  His first instinctive reaction to hunting pressure is to disappear during the day when those two-legged creatures are sneaking around his home turf.  It’s easy for him to disappear.  He becomes nocturnal and ventures forth under the cover and safety of darkness.

It is imperative than that the hunter who wants to concern himself with one of these wily bucks must spend the time and expend the extra effort needed to harvest one of these fantastic specimens.   Hard work, and lots of it, planning and a good attitude can make you a successful hunter in the field consistently.   Not perpetually not continually but often enough so that you know it is not a fluke nor due entirely to luck.  It is the result of your sustained and careful effort in accepting the challenge of a big whitetail buck.

Note: To order an autographed copy of Dick’s must read books to help you through the new season go to www.radicalbowhunter.com.

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