Ambushing Trophy Whitetails: Tactical Systems for Big-Buck Success

Overview

As I walked the fringe of a harvested cornfield near dark, I stayed close to cover. The last thing I wanted to do was run into the buck that had left the sign where I had placed the new stand, but after traveling only 100 yards, I spotted movement along the field’s edge . . . I could make out heavy antlers and several points as the buck headed for the safety of the woods that I had just left . . . I had run right into the buck I hoped to kill. Would this one be like others, and disappear for the remainder of the ...
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Overview

As I walked the fringe of a harvested cornfield near dark, I stayed close to cover. The last thing I wanted to do was run into the buck that had left the sign where I had placed the new stand, but after traveling only 100 yards, I spotted movement along the field’s edge . . . I could make out heavy antlers and several points as the buck headed for the safety of the woods that I had just left . . . I had run right into the buck I hoped to kill. Would this one be like others, and disappear for the remainder of the hunting season? I could only hope this mature buck did not head for parts unknown.About five days passed before the wind became favorable. I arrived at the stand without incident . . . The next hour passed quickly. When I spotted a deer coming, I did not realize at first that it was the big one. The deer walked very slowly with its head down, following the trail of a small buck that had walked by earlier. Several seconds passed before I spotted his dark antlers against the floor of the woods, and when I did I knew it had to be him. I never took my eyes off the approaching buck as I reached for my hanging bow. I looked ahead for an opening. Then I saw the rubbed tree the small buck had scented. The buck continued approaching and when his head disappeared behind a huge oak, I drew the bow. He was in the opening near the rub in less than a heartbeat. I shot. He disappeared in an instant after going over a small hill, and I heard him crash to the ground.I had patterned a pre-rut buck within his home range, and it paid off. No doubt locating the buck’s area and trail contributed to the kill. It’s worth pointing out how dependable big bucks can be within their home range. After all, I had encountered this buck a few days earlier, yet he remained close to the area where I spooked him. —From Chapter 15, Patterning a Pre-Rut Buck: Second Chances with a Ten-Pointer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592289226
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 545,598
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

John Trout Jr. began hunting with both rifle and bow in the 1960s, and has since taken twelve whitetail buck that would “make book.” His feature writing has appeared in magazines such as Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, and he has written eight books on big-game hunting. He lives in Fairfield, Illinois.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction     1
Section I
Big Bucks, Big Bellies: Creating the Food Ambush     9
Understanding the Food Sources     11
The Oak Phenomenon     12
Other Isolated Foods     17
Getting to and from Isolated Foods     21
Agri-Handouts     22
The Rut: Before, During, and After     29
Reluctant Pre-Rut Movements     30
How Bucks Move During the Rut     31
Patterning Does     33
Hot and Cold Trails     34
Big Bucks and Natural Travel Corridors     35
Back to the Foods     37
Morning and Midday     38
Secrets of the Second Rut     40
Second-Rut Fawns     41
Hot Second-Rut Ambush Locations     42
The Greens     44
A Lesson for the Second Rut     45
The Last Word on the Second-Rut Ambush     47
Big Buck Hot Spots and the Home-Range Factor     49
Hot Spots of the Record Books     49
Home-Range Bucks     55
Home-Range Departures     57
Patterning Pre-Rut Bucks     59
Return of the Survivors     62
Spicing Up the Ambush Site: Smell Right, Sound Good     65
When Grunts Lure in Trophy Whitetails     66
Rattling Techniques     70
When Scents Count     72
Reading Rubs and Scrapes: How to Profile a Big Buck Based on His Sign, and How This Influences the Ambush     77
Rub Research     79
Big Rubs versus Little Rubs     80
Sporadic Rubs versus Rub Lines     81
Big Bucks and Scrape Facts     85
Science of Scrapes     86
Big versus Little versus Recurring Scrapes     87
Scrape Lines     90
Synthetic Scrapes     92
When Big Bucks Become Almost Nocturnal: How to Beat Them     95
How the Nocturnal Transition Begins     96
Ambushing a Nocturnal Buck     98
Hunting the Barometer: Respond to Weather Like a Big Buck     105
Effects of a Falling Barometer     106
Approaching Cold Fronts     108
Timing the Front     109
Analyzing Antlers: A Primer in Field-Judging Trophy Whitetails     113
Recognizing Big Antlers When You See Them     114
First Impression     116
Height and Width     117
Number of Points      118
Sleeper Bucks     120
Coping with the Fever     123
Section II
Stay on the Move: The Multi-Stand System for Big Bucks     127
Why Multiple Stands?     127
Number of Ambush Sites     130
Burning It Up     131
Ideal Multi-Stand Setups     132
Sites That Pay Off Consistently     135
The Eye-to-Eye Ambush: Taking a Trophy on the Ground     139
Hot Ground-Ambush Sites     139
Natural Foliage or Blind?     141
The Comfort Factor     144
The Sanctuary: Secretive Micro-Habitats of Big Bucks     147
The Sanctuary Ambush     148
Fine-Tuning the Ambush     151
Avoid Penetrating Sanctuaries     153
Constructing a Haven     154
Tale of a Scrape-Line Buck     159
Rubs vs. Scrapes     161
Recognizing the Scrape Line     162
Two Bucks Meet Their Destiny in the Oaks     165
The Doe Attraction     168
My Best Bow-Killed Buck: A Moment of Truth     171
The Perfect Ambush Scenarios     174
Patterning a Pre-Rut Buck: Second Chances with a Ten-Pointer     177
Home Range and Patterning Facts      180
Following the Does to a Super Nine-Pointer     183
Putting Together the Puzzle     186
Pinpointing the Next Ambush     189
Those Amazing Sheds     190
Post-Season Scouting     195
Ambush Errors: The Biggest Mistakes and What They Taught Me     199
Hunting a "Dead" Food Source     200
Hunting Only Big-Buck Sign     202
Scouting Errors     204
The Big One: Your Scent     206
Big Bucks Make Mistakes, Too: How to Tip the Hunt in Your Favor     211
The Quick Turnaround     213
Every Minute Counts     215
Surprises and Luck     216
Secrets of the Pros     219
Gabe Shaffner     219
Jay Cassell     220
Tim Hilsmeyer     221
Peter Fiduccia     223
Jeff Hintz     224
Jim Hole, Jr.     225
Eddie Salter     226
Bibliography     229
Index     331
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