Habitat and Herd Improvement

Whitetail Success By Design

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Intro to my book, "Whitetail Success By Design"

Whitetails Success By Design

It was a clear, cold start to the 3rd morning of Michigan's 2011 Firearm Season as I crossed the marsh on my way to the line of heavy spruce trees that bordered in front of the river. As I continued to the West I was hopeful that I would get a chance at the buck responsible for the giant rubs that dotted the heavy cover on 4-8 Jack Pines connecting food to my left, and bedding cover to my right. If I entered too far into the line of heavy spruce to access a blind, I would risk getting behind deer that would no doubt get a nose full of human scent. However, if I didnt enter far enough I could possibly be out of range of any interior deer movement. The marsh served as a perfect bumper of deer activity, meaning there was a very low chance of spooking any deer during my approach to the blind location, or as I allowed my scent to blow back into the area during the hours of daylight. With the flashlight off, the tall white pine served as the perfect silhouette against the star-filled sky to help me get my bearings for a quick and quiet approach into the tangle of cover.

As my pace slowed while entering the wall of conifer, the sound of my breathing reminded me both of the incredible stillness in the pre-morning hours, as well as the fact I should have spent a little more time getting into hunting shape during the previous 3 months. Without the aid of a light I picked my way through the conifer with a slight open ridge offering a collection of light ahead. Only 30 yards into the cover I almost ran into the tent that had been snuggled back into a hidey-hole of spruce trunks and a small patch of tag alder. I doubted a mature buck would get into my downwind area from my approach, preferring instead to cross upwind of me from south to north as he approached his bedding area.

This was a textbook Mature Buck Bedding set-up, located away from food, and behind doe family groups who experience had taught me, could be counted on to spend their daytime hours within close proximity to their preferred food sources. As I carefully zipped into the tent, I was looking forward to a long morning hunt before heading down to WIs Rifle Season opener the next day. The approach was good, the upwind line of deer movement I was hunting was strong and well defined, and a mature buck was obviously aggressively ripping up the area!

The morning light filtered into the spruce swamp from the east. As I stared south where I expected potential deer to approach from, the shadows and shade under the canopy of conifer at legal shooting light, made it difficult to pick out any movement. 7:30 passed. 8:00. I had barely had time to start getting chilled from my walk in, when at 8:10, a stick cracking under the obvious step of a deer, invaded the morning silence. I readied my gun as the long back of a large deer emerged through the spruce almost directly at me. As he lifted his head to quarter towards me over a small hump of ancient roots in the deer trail, his large, mature right main beam protruded wide and high from his giant head. He was less than 40 yards and stopped to seemingly stare right through me.

Whitetail Success by Design

At the moment that mature buck was attempting to identify something odd within his home area, success was there for the taking-Game, Set, Match! After all, the kill is the easy part, right? Well, perhaps, but I have been known to somehow mess up even some of the easiest of opportunities. However, getting to the point of consistently having the opportunity to come face to face with a giant, to many, is the pinnacle of success, especially when designing your own success. Do you wait for luck to happen? Or do you make your own luck! I have found throughout my 27 years of deer hunting that the odds tilted heavily in my favor when I learned to recognize and even create my own opportunities by following a fairly strict pattern of concepts that will work anywhere a whitetail roams.

The concept of designing your next hunting opportunity is a process I have used to not only apply successfully to my own hunting endeavors since 1986, but to 100s of my clients hunting opportunities throughout a dozen states since 2005. I feel I have honed my craft into a defined set of concepts that you will learn if you follow along. I look forward to sharing my personal process of designing your own whitetail success. Also, make sure you read the conclusion of the book to find out what happened with that great 2011 encounter with one of Michigan's giants. There is a final surprise waiting for you that will assist you in understanding what it takes to experience success while designing your next great whitetail hunting experience.


This was from my first book, published in 2012. My main focus on the book was to discuss the way that whitetails relate to each other, as well as hunting tactics, hunting pressure and various habitat improvements across a large landscape. Basically the strategy of habitat improvement and mature buck hunting tactics blended together to relate to the natural patterns of deer. I like sharing this intro with you, because one would assume that the book is purely about private land, but that isn't so. In fact both the intro and conclusion combine to form a short story of a successful public land hunt in MI's Upper Peninsula, as it relates to the various concepts discussed in the book. This is not your typicaly whitetail habitat or hunting book, and neither is my 2nd book published in 2014, Food Plot Success By Design.

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