The following precision buck hunting system has provided target buck opportunities to me at a success rate of over 85%, since the early 90s - on both private AND public lands! Can you imagine what happens when advanced habitat improvement practices are added to the entire system? You and your land, truly have the opportunity to be a herd and hunting influencer for the entire neighborhood.
*Get the books that explain it all, by visiting our Library of Whitetail Hunting, Herd and Habitat Books!
In the process of scouting and designing whitetail parcels across the North 1/2 of the country for my career, one thing is crystal clear: Precision hunting tactics have to be applied first, before advanced deer habitat can ever take place. If you expect to attract and kill the oldest buck(s) in the neighborhood every year, then those bucks have to feel that you aren't really hunting them, even though you may have been spying on them for several years. That means that you have to be able to move about your land as if you were a dangerous Predator and strike with precision, when you hunt. After you can develop a high level of hunting approach first, you can then match your habitat improvements to compliment your hunting style.
Ingredients For Precision Buck Hunting
The habitat improvements and hunting opportunities that you create on your own land, will only be as advanced as the level of hunting practice that you bring to the table. Here are 5 ways that you can begin to blend advanced deer habitat improvements with high level hunting practices, by defining the hunt first. After these 5 aspects of an effective buck hunting system are in place, you can then begin to work on creating a highly advanced system of precision deer habitat:
1. Recognition of Natural Travel, Bedding and Feeding Routes
It isn't a great spot to hunt unless you can create or find, highly defined and season long, daily movements. The best movements take place the entire season, because you can then hunt the bucks that move within those patterns, the entire season. While that may be difficult with changing habitat and hunting pressure conditions on public land, the best private land parcels can be hunted every single day of the season, with no let down.
2. Low Impact Hunting Access
Whether you access your stand location the same way in and out, or a variety of ways, the area deer movement needs to be defined enough so that you can move undetected. Quality deer movement locations are not necessarily quality hunting locations, unless those hotspots of deer activity can be accessed without spooking deer. I personally love low quality habitat, ridge systems and open, fallow fields to access through for not only keeping my deer/human encounters to a minimum, but for blowing my scent back into while on my stand.
3. Variety Of Precision Combination Treestand Timing
If a hotspot of deer activity is great for one stand, that same location is most likely significant enough to offer 2-3 stand locations. The location of precision buck hunting and advanced deer habitat shown in the video, serves to set up 4 stand locations used for nearly every wind, morning or evening, with 3 different access routes. Complimentary stand systems are one of my favorite techniques for honing in on a specific, target buck.
4. Undetected Hunting Ambush
Your ability to pass on numerous deer during high precision buck hunting encounters, while remaining completely undetected, is critical. Typically I recommend and practice the balance of moving close enough to capture as many movements within bow range as possibly, without moving so close that I have to pass a quality deer movement to access my stand. Through natural pinch-points and creative habitat work, I rarely if ever, place myself within a stand location that includes a known downwind deer movement. The best form of scent control, is stand control!
5. One Hunting Encounter Equals One Shot Opportunity
Especially on small parcels, you rarely get a 2nd chance. This means that with a bow, you have to hunt within a position that narrows down a mature buck's movements to a pretty tigh window. I love hill country because the hills make this practice much easier. Benches, saddles and steep slopes all work (sometimes together) to move deer across very specific travel patterns. On flat parcels, lines of habitat change are also great natural movement indicators, while on any parcel the beginning of narrow food sources, mock scrapes and advanced deer habitat creations can greatly enhance the precision of potential deer movement. If your buck hunting and habitat improvement techniques are on point, you will be presented a shot opportunity the majority of the time that you encounter a mature buck.
*Being able to hunt precision buck movements of travel, bedding and feeding routes was what were able to do here first, before applying advanced deer habitat improvements. It all begins by recognizing mature buck movements.
Advanced Deer Habitat Improvements
After the 5 ingredients for precision buck hunting are in place, you can begin to layer habitat improvements that helps to define and enhance your potential level of herd and hunting success. By making changes during the Winter months, sufficient browse and regeneration should be in place by the Fall to not only hide deer, but to give them an attractive, bedding area buffet of daytime browse.
*Once the foundation of precision buck hunting techniques have been used within a working system first, advanced deer habitat tactics can be applied. To make sure you are headed in the right direction based on the experience from decades of high level herd, habitat and hunting experience, make sure to check out what services are provided by our WHS Team, including Dylan, Ross and Jeff.
When you combine a precision buck hunting system with advanced deer habitat techniques, it is hard not to be the herd influencer of your entire neighborhood! Why? Because rarely do the two come together to form an entire system, of efficient setup and precision ambush, for any deer in the herd.
Compliment natural movements with sound hunting experience and advanced habitat improvements doesn't take a lot of time, it just takes experience. We are entering our 4th season of deer hunting within the area illustrated in this article. The results have been 3 bucks in 3 years with an average age over 5 years old! The first two years nothing was done but to hunt the natural movements. Prior to the 3rd year bedding areas were enhanced to increase the % of overall mature buck movements and for the 4th and coming year, the entire system of precision buck movement has been installed. Only 5 hours of work has been completed in this area, but over 30 years of hunting experience was applied first. We can't wait to bring you the results of our efforts, this season!