It's a Buck!: Whitetail Deer Hunting Stories and Tactics for the Weekend Hunter


It?s a Buck!? was written for the average weekend-hunter who simply enjoys being in the woods, enjoys the good-natured ribbing and camaraderie of his hunting partners, and who is thrilled when good fortune sends ANY buck his way, be it a spike-horn or a big 10-pointer.

There are no stories of Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young record book bucks to be found within these pages.  What you will find, however, are some down-to-earth hunting stories and recommended tactics based on 40 years of lessons learned ...

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It’s a Buck!” was written for the average weekend-hunter who simply enjoys being in the woods, enjoys the good-natured ribbing and camaraderie of his hunting partners, and who is thrilled when good fortune sends ANY buck his way, be it a spike-horn or a big 10-pointer.

There are no stories of Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young record book bucks to be found within these pages.  What you will find, however, are some down-to-earth hunting stories and recommended tactics based on 40 years of lessons learned the hard way.  This is the REAL world of deer hunting.


About the Author:

Don Clute is an avid sportsman, but considers himself only an average hunter and fisherman, and a below average golfer. However, as a result of 40 years experience, Don has learned what it takes to increase the odds for a productive hunt in heavily pressured areas. Don firmly believes that EVERY deer is a trophy and that a hunter has a right to be proud, and should be proud, of any deer taken.     

Don is married, has two married sons and a ten-month-old grandson who received his first camouflage outfit from grandpa before he left the hospital nursery.  Another grandson is on the way.

Don has spent his entire life in the Northeast and has previously been published in the New York Sportsman magazine.  He currently resides in Glenville, New York with his lovely wife Ellen.

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Editorial Reviews

John Pitarresi
This deer hunting book is different.

It's a Buck: Whitetail Deer Hunting Stories and Tactics for the Weekend Hunter is not a how-to book by an expert.

Don Clute has done enough hunting over more than 40 years to know what he's talking about, to be sure, but his stuff doesn't read like so many other hunting books you've read.

Along the way, he's learned a few things about the game, and he presents them in an entertaining, easy-to-take manner. The book is written in layman's terms, the way any everyday hunter might speak or write, and many of the lessons are presented through everyday camp stories about everyday deer - those does and the bucks that aren't all that big, the ones most of us bring home most of the time.

I like it - a lot. I learned things from it.

There is more simple hunting wisdom in the book than Clute probably would claim, and some entertaining stories I'm sure you've never heard the likes of.

I think it makes a good read heading into big game season, or any time.
Utica Observer Dispatch, November 16, 2003

Tom Grace
Real-life advice - a book for weekend hunters who want to fill their freezers, not decorate their walls.
Oneonta Daily Star, November 15, 2003
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593300005
  • Publisher: Aventine Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2003
  • Pages: 239
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 8 - “Memeorable Near Misses”

We had hiked about a half-mile along a hardwood ridge and were headed for an overgrown field where we knew deer frequently fed during the evening.  Our plan was to take up a position along each of two well-used runways that entered the field at adjacent corners.  We were hopeful that one of us would get a crack at a deer heading for the feeding area in the late afternoon.

Moving into the wind, we were approximately 100 yards from the first runway when Gerry suddenly stopped and motioned for me to do the same.  As I followed his gaze, I quickly saw what had caught his attention.  Standing about 50 yards in front of us, and 40 yards down from the top of the ridge, was a large mature 8-point buck!  He was facing away from us into the wind and was completely engrossed in stripping the bark off a 3-inch sapling.  What a sight!  I had never before witnessed a buck in the act of making a rub, and I was mesmerized by his intensity.

The ground was wet from a two-hour downpour earlier in the day, so noise was minimized, and with the deer upwind and facing away, everything seemed perfect for an attempted stalk.  Gerry eased down to his left and ever so slowly began moving toward the unsuspecting animal while I followed the action from my vantage point on the ridge.  I watched as Gerry closed the gap.  The buck would occasionally stop his attack on the sapling to briefly check his surroundings, but he never looked behind him.  He was intent on finishing the job at hand.

Twenty-five yards from the monarch, Gerry unknowingly stepped on a good-sized stick that was buried just under the leaves.  Despite the earlier rain, the stick had apparently stayed relatively dry and gave way to a loud CRACK!  At the sound, the deer wheeled around, stared at Gerry for a few seconds, then slowly turned to its right and froze, offering the classic broadside shot.  Gerry slowly raised his Bear re-curve bow, drew back, took instinctive aim and released his fingers from the string.  As the wooden arrow sailed harmlessly over the deer’s back and slammed into a large oak, the buck bolted and headed straight up the ridge, stopping just short of the crest.  What happened next will forever remain indelibly etched in my memory.

Without warning, the big buck suddenly turned, and with a swift, stiff-legged trot, headed straight toward Gerry!  It stopped less than twenty yards away, pawed the ground, lowered its head and began shaking that impressive rack from side to side!  The animal was not a happy camper.  I could not believe what I was witnessing!

Gerry, having already nocked another arrow, began a not- so-slow and not-so-steady draw.  THUD! The deer exploded as the second arrow hit the soft earth directly in front of its chest.  Back up the ridge it went, stopping at nearly the same spot where it had begun its charge just moments before.  Once again, the buck turned and stared down at Gerry.  Something had trespassed on his domain and he was determined to run it off.  He let out a startling snort and charged again!


Chapter 12 - “Try Hunting Where You Don’t”

I’m sure most of you have heard stories of first-time hunters bagging a nice buck, and perhaps some of you have experienced such success yourself.  I have a fundamental theory as to why this frequently occurs.

Simply put, the neophyte hunter is usually not given the so-called “prime stands” to hunt.  These are the stands that the veteran hunter repeatedly frequents, and is a bit reluctant to relinquish, usually because of some prior success.  Consequently, not knowing any different, the new hunter ends up selecting or is given a stand location that is not often hunted, generally because no one else is interested in hunting there.  These locations are probably not the ones preferred by deer during most of the year, as they may lack a preferred food source or preferred cover.  However, when the hunting season starts, and hunting pressure near prime bedding and feeding areas increases, these sub-par areas by-passed by most hunters often now become the deer’s location of choice.

Utilizing alternate stand location and travel routes, along with minimizing the residual scent you leave behind, certainly helps to minimize the number of deer you might otherwise spook out of a given area, but it won’t entirely prevent this from happening.  So, when hunting pressure increases and the number of deer you are seeing decreases, think about that first-time hunter and try setting up in an area where you and others don’t usually care to hunt.  I’ll wager that is exactly where the deer are heading.



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Table of Contents




1.   The Cast and the Setting

2.   The Spike-Horn and Other Trophy Deer

3.   Beating the Odds

4.   Some Interesting Statistics

5.   The Funnel - The Prime Stand Location

6.   Selecting a Permanent Stand Site

7.   Stay Put!

8.   Memorable Near Misses

9.   Being Prepared

10.  Never Assumed You Missed

11.  Who’s Patterning Who?

12.  Try Hunting Where You Don’t

13.  An Amazing Opening Day

14.  Survival

15.  Tree Stand Construction

16.  Displaying Your Trophy

17.  The Hunting Experience


Appendix A - Venison Marinade and Jerky

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