John’s Top 10 Ways to Harvest a Large Buck
10) Reduce the need for “compensatory gain”
If bucks are depleted from the previous season, more of the nutrients and nutrition during new antler development will be to rebuild back body reserves. This affects antler redevelopment.
9) Reduce travel distances
Every step from bedding to water to food increases a deer’s maintenance requirements. It also increased the exposure to predation. You want to have multiple sources of each, positioning them near each other.
8) Have 365-day forages.
If you always have something preferred, there will be less reason for a deer to leave your property. Stockpiling forage is art and easier said than done.
7) Have 365-day bedding.
Deer bed where they bed for survival and maintenance. They want to stay dry when its wet. They want to stay warm when it’s cold. They want to stay cool when it’s hot. They want to smell predators and see to escape. If you don’t have quality bedding, that old buck will live in an area where it is there.
6) Rarely/Never enter a buck living room.
Stay out of sanctuaries and prime buck bedding areas.
5) Feed the does.
That large buck’s growth curve is dictated starting with the volume and quality of milk his mom produces. That larger and more healthy buck fawn will be less likely to go through compensatory gain year 1. That can help carry it on in subsequent years. This area many overlook and it’s mother nature. It happens across species and is easy to do.
Effective use of screening to dictate where you want bucks to enter fields and reduce a buck’s vision will increase buck movement. This can be accomplished by plot screening, edge feathering, native grasses and more.
3) Scrape lines
Use of hemp ropes, mock scrapes, single source deer scents, grape vines and other tools to get bucks to travel field edges will help put a buck closer to your stand locations.
2) Top End Nutrition
The same factors affect total growth, over all nutrition and attraction of food plot forages. The more available forages you have, the more mouths you can feed. The more does that are browsing in these areas, the higher the chance of seeing a large buck in these areas. If you feed them, they will come. If a field is over browsed or unattractive, deer will move on to more readily available forages. Deer are selective browsers. They eat what they eat for reasons. If that food source dries up, what reason will they keep coming back?
1) Get out and Hunt
You cannot kill a buck from the recliner. Hunt smart and hunt more often. If you only get out 10 times a year, your most likely not as likely to harvest a large buck if you were out in the field 20 times in a year. If you’re in the stand, there is always a chance.
Now that you have read mine, compile yours. There are many factors that come into play. In the end, have a strategy and implement it.
The picture below is of a 15 pointer I harvested in 2012 because I left an unharvested 10 yard wide strip of soybeans just inside a well traveled scrapeline. The buck stood in the soybeans thinking no one could see him. He was wrong.