The mature whitetail is an amazing creature and may very well be the most sought after trophy in North America. The whitetail deer can see, hear and smell better than any animal in the woods and once a buck reaches maturity, he is a master at the game of survival. A big buck is a different creature than other deer in the woods and his ability to evade danger demands respect, the hunter must approach this chase differently than the rest. A mature buck lives a separate life from others in the deer woods, he is a rare and unique creature and has learned to survive by making very few mistakes. Over the years, giant whitetails develop a sixth sense…an unseen and unexplainable defense mechanism that seems to detect danger when its close…making them an even more difficult animal to harvest.
When a hunter pursues a giant whitetail it becomes a game of chess, where every move must be precise and calculated, opportunities will be few and far between. Countless hours are spent scouting, practicing and sitting in stand, preparing for that one brief moment in time for an opportunity at a giant whitetail. It takes extraordinary patience to hunt mega bucks, some hunters go years between sightings, some will never lay eyes on a true giant. The hunter must stack the deck in his favor leaving nothing to chance, every little advantage will put him one step closer to that buck of a lifetime. Successful hunters will develop strict regimens of preparation and hunting strategies to put the odds at their favor, looking for any edge to help them score.
Big buck hunting for some is a way of life and the year round commitment and dedication it takes to be successful, is a small price to pay for a trophy buck. For most who hit the deer woods every fall in search of a big buck, the chase is an ongoing quest, an obsession thats in their blood. For the few lucky hunters that score on a monster whitetail, it only fuels the fire of their addiction to hunt big bucks. Serious big buck hunters never quit searching for giant deer to hunt and once their hunting season ends, the next one begins.
Late season in the deer woods is a great time to locate a big buck that has managed to survive the season. Many whitetail pros agree, the first step in harvesting a mature buck is finding one and successful hunters make their own luck by locating big bucks well before season opens.
Many avid whitetail hunters spend countless hours in the late winter combing the countryside for shed antlers. Finding a giant shed is a sure bet that a cagey old buck has survived another hunting season and should be around for the next, and even bigger. Sheds also give clues to a bucks whereabouts and his travel patterns…important pieces of the puzzle to the scouting hunter.
Bedding areas, food sources, travel corridors, fence and road crossings are all great places to look for shed antlers. Many hunters find winters most prized possession laying right on top of the snow, while others prefer to wait for a thaw when the sun bleached antlers stand out better against the dull colored ground. Right after a rain is another time some shed hunters prefer, with the moisture giving the ground even more of a contrast to the pale bone left behind.
Shed hunting is definitely a great tactic for locating a mature buck to hunt. The next piece to our puzzle goes hand in hand with shed hunting… finding a mature bucks core area, and theres no time like the present to look for these special little hiding places. Next week we will take a look at finding a bucks core area during the late winter and what it means to our success.