Archive for the ‘Buckmaster’s Tips’ Category

Buckmaster’s Tip: Aerial Photos Are a Hunter’s Best Friend

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

When hunting or scouting a piece of property, an aerial photo is your best friend.  Aerial photos are available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for as little as $10. And the internet makes it easy to get aerial photos for your hunting area. Just go to the USGS site ( and you’ll find all the information you need to buy them. And there are many other sites out there that offer mapping services.

An aerial photo shows the relationship between fields, creeks, hardwoods, bottlenecks, clear-cuts, fencelines and ponds. Look for dense cover (where the deer are more likely to bed), food sources, and the transition zones between feeding and bedding areas.

The photo will tell you compass directions, and you can mark stand locations, deer trails, and the best approaches to the stands.

When planning a hunt, look at the weather forecast and then plan your attack by using the aerial photo. You have to have the wind in your favor.  Wind direction is the single most critical aspect of deer hunting, and your aerial photo will tell you which stand will be best to hunt on a given day, and it will help you determine the best route in to your stand.


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Buckmaster’s Tip of the Week: Get out of the Wind

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Deer hunting can be miserable business in inclement weather, but most hunters have to hunt when they have time and can’t be choosy. One thing to keep in mind in cold, windy or even rainy/snowy weather is that deer don’t enjoy it any more than you do.

In windy, cold weather, hunt sheltered hollows, the back side of ridges away from wind, and hemlock, pine and spruce stands. You’ll probably see more deer; and even if you don’t, at least you’ll be more comfortable.

Speaking of comfort, look for wind-blocking clothing to extend your time on stand. Most waterproof clothing is also windproof, but there are less expensive wind-blocking garments available as well.

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Buckmaster’s Tip of the Week: Where Do Pressured Deer Go?

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

Have you noticed how all the deer you see while scouting seem to vanish during hunting season? It’s natural to think those deer have left your area for “more safe” country.

In some cases, that’s true. Deer adjacent to posted land are smart enough to know where the pressure is less and will go there. But most often, such nearby sanctuaries are not available; and like you, whitetails don’t like to leave their home areas. So where do they go?

Remember that deer know their home ranges as well as you know your own house. They know the locations of the nastiest thickets, the most secret small hollows and the most unapproachable rises. They will head to these shelters and not come out until after dark as long as there is hunting pressure.

While you’ll never know your woods as well as Mr. Buck, you can get to know it better. Find these deer “bomb shelters” and head there before the shooting starts.

The best time to locate these areas is right after hunting season. The leaves are off the trees, the briars aren’t quite as thick, and you might even have snow to help see trails and droppings. When you find a small, secret-looking spot with concentrated droppings and with trails coming in and out, chances are you’ve located a pressure shelter. Think about the area and where the most-used hunter accesses are located.

Keeping the wind in mind, set up outside the shelter area where you expect the deer to be pushed from. Get to your stand early since the whole idea is to take advantage of the presence and movement of other hunters.

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Buckmaster’s Tip of the Week: Backtracking a Buck

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Books have been written on the art of tracking bucks. It’s a productive technique that requires practice, some knowledge of deer habits and a LOT of persistence. Outdoor writer Jeff Murray, who takes record-book bucks with the regularity of Old Faithful, does things a little backward. In fact, he does tracking completely backward — Jeff has mastered the art of backtracking bucks to learn where and when to ambush them.

He says, “By backtracking a buck you can tell where he spends his nights and where he spends his time during legal hunting hours. You can tell exactly what he’s feeding on after dark and what he’s eating in daylight; where he likes to cross creeks, rivers, roads and trails; how he makes his loop; and you can tell the size and shape of his home territory. Give me clues like these, and that buck’s in trouble!”

To read Jeff’s complete article, check out the December issue of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. To learn more about Jeff Murray and his hunting techniques, visit  And if you have the opportunity, give backtracking a buck a try.

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