When it comes to a big old giant buck, what’s in a name? Dating back to the 80s I have experiened the process of naming big bucks for the likes of Big Moe, Kickstand and now Gary. For some of those bucks, the name reflected an antler characteristic or maybe even the hunter that actually saw him first. But as random and varied as those big buck names reflected, I can’t remember one name that actually helped us hone in on and kill that buck. Afterall, it is just a name, right?
One of the greatest practices that you can employ as a whitetail hunter isn’t naming big bucks, but actually understanding their personalities, inside and out. And YES, each buck has a unique personality that I have experienced reveals itself especially, the older a buck is allowed to become. If your goal is to consitently target and kill a specific mature buck, then it is critical that you recognize and understand his tendencies.
3 Important Mature Buck Personalities
Throughout the last 3 decades of practing mature buck hunting strategies, I have had the pleasure of getting to know dozens of bucks. However, there have been 3 distinct personalities that seem to really stick out, and those personalities come with different strategies for naming big bucks.
- Loud and Proud-The ripped up ears, broken tines and puncture wounds typically give these bucks away. They also seem to be the bucks that die the soonest in life. You can typically take a few risks hunting these bucks, because they just don’t seem to spook that easy. What are some good names? How about Butch, Ricky and Chuck (as in Mr. Norris!).
- Super Shy-Always alone, rarely in a fight and able to disappear to far away lands in an instant, makes sure that many of these bucks grow to be subordinate giants. They may even have some very clean, unbroken antlers! You typically get one crack at these bucks before they vanish until the following year. Although they may be either super smart, super shy or a little of both, these bucks are hard to find. Loud and aggressive calling techniques repel these bucks however, hunting his favorite bedding to feeding travel routes can pay great rewards. Try using buck names like Ghost, Ninja and Seal (as in Navy Seal) to reflect the stealth of these great creatures.
- Incredibly Smart-Although these bucks may be somewhat visible and even fairly predictable, it doesn’t take much to alert them to your intentions. These bucks often take you on a cat and mouse game for not only 1 hunting season, but several hunting seasons. The big buck pictured at the top of this article fit was a perfect fit for this category. He gave me several opportunities within bow or gun range, but always managed to slip away. The odds seemed to always be on his side, all the way thru to the ripe old age of 8. He was first named The Wide 8 and then later Kickstand, for the huge droptine that he carried. However, neither of those buck names seem to be a good fit, in particular for his cunning and evasive personality. I personally think that Solomon, Michael (not Mike) or Patton (as in GeneralPatton) would have been names to more accurately reflect his unique personality.
*When I think of Gary, I think of a boss that I used to have. Gary was smart, calculating and caring all at the same time. He was someone that survived and thrived during many company changes and he was highly respected throughout the entire corporation. This particular buck seems very elusive, smart and a survivor. It will take specific mentality to track him down and “Gary” seems to be the perfect fit. By using DeerLab Buck Profile options, we can actually keep track of Gary by moon phase, weather and location.
**Last year, I was fortunate enough to follow a buck nicknamed, "Diego." While his name didn't matter, characterizing his personality and his tendencies helped me harvest him!
Bring Your “A” Game When Naming Big Bucks!
If you study, work hard and get to know a specific mature buck on a personal level, your odds of connecting with him can be incredibly high. However, it takes a consistent focus lasting the entire hunting season and I think that focus should potentially extend to a buck’s name. You have to always be on your A game when hunting an old monster, regardless of his personality. When you maintain a steady focus in all that you do, including when you are naming big bucks, you will place yourself within the mindset needed to find consistent success.
How do you get to know a big buck enough to name him? I personally rely heavily on trail cams, as well as in season observations, amount of sign he leaves and off season scouting efforts. The amount of sign a buck leaves can be a strong indication of his personality, as well as how social or aggressive he appears. After awhile, a name easily just jumps out at you that will fairly accurately reflect his personality. If a name doesn’t seem to fit, it is most likely a sign that you have a lot more work to do before you can come up with a solid name that reflects his true personality.
What’s in a buck’s name?
Hopefully his personality! Sure, there are many more important aspects for finding mature buck hunting success, than simply naming big bucks based on their personal tendencies and mannerisms. However, I believe that the right name will help to give you the proper mindset for effectively hunting a particular old monarch that you may be after this Fall. Afterall what is the #1 method for creating an opportunity with you #1 big buck? By out-thinking him. When you can think about what a buck is going to do before he even thinks about doing it himself, you will truly experience the highest level of mature buck hunting success that you can find.