Ten hunting tips for getting that buck

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Buck

Ten tips that will put hunters closer to filling their deer tag:

1. Pay attention to the wind, even the lightest breeze.

Because the highest climber can’t take breeze out of the formula. Mature bucks, and especially older does, didn’t get old without a high degree of caution and they continually sample the air for the scent of a predator.

2. Sit tight.

If you are a sitter, do it right. Get to the place you want to stay and do just that. Get there early, take the time to get comfortable and be sure you don’t stand out. One small stone under your butt can grow to boulder size in less than an hour. Take snacks, a book and a drink.

3. Don’t shoot a small multi-tined buck.

It will never grow large if you do and you are out of the chase because you’ve burned you buck tag. Trophy bucks don’t come easily. You’ll have to earn yours or be extra lucky.

4. Don’t stink up the woods with human scent.

Smart, serious deer hunters will drag a cover scent rag or put some on their boots so the path to their stand doesn’t alarm a deer that might be using the same path.

5. Dress more than warm.

You overheat when hiking to your stand, but a bone chilly drop in comfort comes especially just after daylight. You can always shed a layer or two later in the morning, but you can’t add what you don’t have.

6. Mentally rehearse the shot you expect to take.

Visualize that approaching buck, set a mental plan concerning how and when to take the shot. Stay positive and alert.

7. Carry binoculars and use them.

Check distant deer out with binoculars, never with the rifle, shotgun or muzzleloader scope. And entertain yourself by viewing squirrels, birds and other woodlot creatures.

8. Listen for the right noises just intently as you watch for movement.

Approaching deer make distinctive stepping noises but so to other creatures. Learn to recognize them.

9. Carry everything you’ll need to field dress your deer, and don’t forget the rules about tagging your deer before moving it.

Don’t forget needed things like a pen, gloves, string or nylon tie to fasten a handmade tag to the animal.

10. Sit still and be alert at mid-day.

Other hunters will be moving on their way to lunch or for a number of reasons including boredom. That means that deer which might have bedded will be disturbed and moving too. And hunt till the last minute. Know the minute of quitting time and don’t start walking any earlier.

Those last few minutes are prime time for deer movement and other hunters who walk through the woods can cause even more movement. But don’t forget to unload at quitting time.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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