Mature Buck Strategies

4 Steps For Killing A Target Buck

The process of killing a target buck may at first seem like a nearly impossible task. However, I have experienced that if you follow the right steps, you can consistently create precision opportunities for any mature buck that you are attempting to target.

While these steps seperately appear simplistic, they combine to form a highly effective 1-2-3-4 pattern of consistent success. If you all 4 steps, you can apply them to anywhere a mature buck roams, while making sure that a large amount of luck is removed from the process of hunting.

killing a target buck

*These steps for killing a target buck have worked for me nearly 3 dozen times since the early 90s. To hear even more about target buck hunting on both private and public lands, make sure to listen to my recent Truth From The Stand Podcast.

4 Steps For A Target Buck Encounter

It really can be as easy as following these 4 steps every single year, for every single target buck that you are attempting to kill. Your target buck pursuits should rarely equal a needle in a haystack pursuit and here are 4 ways to make sure that you have a great chance of finding a target buck encounter this season:

1. Identify A Target Buck

Everyone thinks of the aggressive core target buck that shows himself early and often during the entire hunting season. However, over 1/2 of all of my target bucks have been non-core roamers that arrived from distant lands during the heart of the rut. Even though they rarely set foot on the land during the season, they still at least left sign and passed by the trail cams a handful of times during prior years. All it takes is 1 picture of a buck to let you know that he will be around during the middle of the rut the following November. Once you identify if you are after a core or non-core buck, it is a great time to focus on the location you can expect to shoot him from.

2. Multiple Treestand Options

I like to focus on at least 3 stands that I can use as a high-powered combo, to target a specific buck. Each stand should have the option of multiple access routes and a variety of wind patterns for both morning and evening hunting. A typical target buck stand strategy of mine will include 1 dedicated morning stand, 1 dedicated evening stand and then 1 stand that can be used for both morning and evening hunting. Always be ready for an up-and-comer to slot over into the adjacent range of a mature buck that was taken out of the herd the previous year. Once you have identified a target buck in a particular area and have created a pattern of treestands to hunt him from, all that is left is to wait for the perfect day!

3. Great Weather To Target A Buck

After you have scouted him and created the perfect set of ambush points to kill a target buck from, it is time to match the quality of the hunt to the quality of your preperation efforts. Far too often a potential "slam dunk" is wasted by hunting and burning a stand out too early. Developing the patience to only enter a treestand when the temperatures are cool and the winds are moderate, has been the #1 factor for creating "one and done" target buck encounters. Sure, you may still see a target buck when the winds are wicked, the temps are steamy and the rain is pounding the October leaves to the ground, but why waste a first-sit opportunity?

4. One and Done Target Buck Precision

If you have identified a particular buck that you can target at a specific time of the season, using 1 of 2-3 complimentary treestands during an incredible weather pattern, don't be suprised if a target buck kill opportunity falls right into your lap. It pays to choose when you sit wisely, because well over 1/2 of my target buck kills have taken place the first time I climbed a particular treestand, and nearly 90% have taken place on either the 1st or 2nd sit. Why are those odds so high? Because I avoid using stands too early on poor days, during low value sits that have the ability to cancel out high value sits.

killing a target buck

*The 15 point buck above, created an incredible journey over the course of two hunting seasons, ending in late October of 2007. I also invite you to take a look at how our season faired in 2016, where we again enjoyed a great deal of target buck success from late October to December, on both public and private lands, in both WI and OH..


When proven preperation techniques outweigh and erase the reliance of chance, an extremely high level of precision success can follow. The steps for consistenly killing a target buck may seem simple in concept, but in my experience if you learn to apply and follow them with stubborn rigidity each season, you will be predictably rewarded!


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