When is the best time to see a Monster buck this time of the year? I’m sure if you are reading this column, you’ve probably been running trail cameras in your hunting area and cruising the roads glassing the bean fields, trying to catch a glimpse of a giant in velvet. I’ll bet some of you have even purchased your moon guides, and you have those special evenings for seeing the big boys highlighted on your calendars! I know I’ve been out on those red evenings and caught a glimpse of some big bone already. The deer in my area are showing some good growth with most racks over half way developed and a few looking like they are almost done. Like I’ve said before though, the only definite when it comes to chasing mature whitetails is “nothing is ever definite” and as much as I believe in the moon guide, there may be some better nights to catch a big buck out in the open, and it has nothing to do with the moon – it has to do with salad dressing!
Before you jumped to conclusions about my sanity, hear me out. Have you ever ate a salad without dressing? I think I did once, because I was out of it, and I doubt I will ever do it again. The dressing made it taste better for sure, but it also helps you swallow all that roughage! Try and chew up a mouth full of lettuce then swallow it, but make sure you have a glass of water close by to help wash it down! The idea came to me a few years back as I sat glassing one of the biggest bucks I’ve ever seen. I had spotted the giant non-typical in a bean field during mid summer. Since I had my video camera in the truck and a good wind, I snuck within less than 100 yards of the giant and began filming. As the giant gorged himself on the green leaves of the bean plants, I noticed something. After he would get a mouthful, he would tilt his head back as far as he could, as if looking up to the sky, and swallow. As he did this, I could see the large clump move down his throat, and it almost looked painful! He was really struggling to swallow, and I could understand why, he was hot and dry and I bet those leaves weren’t exactly sliding down for him! That sight was something that has stuck with me ever since, and it’s some great video, too bad that giant fell to a piece of scum poacher!
There’s another observation I’ve made over the years, worth mentioning here. Have you ever noticed that when you have a good rain in the late afternoon or early evening, then it clears off and the sun comes back out that the deer seem to come out of the woodwork? I’ve noticed it, and I’ll bet I know why! That rain water on those plants that deer are eating has to be like salad dressing to them. Imagine how much easier it has to be for them to swallow and digest those bean leaves when they are dripping with fresh rain water! Have you ever been standing in the produce section at your local grocery store, when all of the sudden, the sprinklers come on to spray the fresh vegetables? Everything in there, even vegetables I don’t eat, look better wet and even if I’m not hungry I get the sudden urge to grab something healthy and take a bite! You can’t tell me that an afternoon shower doesn’t have the same effect on whitetails!
Chasing giant bucks over the years has been all about observation and learning for me. If you are not paying attention to the small details, you are missing out on the pieces to the puzzle! Trust me, I will be out there looking for Mr. Big on the best moon evenings according to my moon guide, but throw in nice cooling afternoon shower, and I don’t care what the moons doing, I’m going for a drive!