How to Kill a Big Buck

Show Notes

Let's cut to the chase. Deer season is already open in some states, and the Oklahoma archery opener is just days away. So why beat around the bush? This week on the Oklahoma Outdoors Podcast John gives his 5 step plan to killing a mature whitetail buck this fall. Over the past 5 seasons, John has hung 10 mature bucks on his wall from three different properties and two different states. Mature doesn't always mean giant, but it doesn't matter if the buck you're after scores 120 inches or 200, if it is a mature whitetail, they are just different. 

John starts at the beginning. Sometimes the hardest part about killing a mature buck is just finding a mature buck to chase. As the episode goes on, John dials in his approach including map scouting, trail cameras, weather conditions, and finally that moment of truth. When that buck of your dreams is standing in front of you, will you be ready? In his mind, if you don't go into the woods expecting to kill that buck, there's just no reason to go!

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Hey guys and gals, welcome to the Oklahoma Outdoors podcast brought to you by Arrowhead Land Company. Here you will be educated, entertained, and equipped to get more out of your outdoor experience. So hold on tight because here we go. Welcome to

the Oklahoma Outdoors podcast. I am your host John Hutzpeth and as always welcome to the show. And this week we're talking Killing. Big. Bucks. That's right. It is that time. We're like two weeks from opening day. That's what I'm thinking about. So I know that's what you're thinking about. And so that's just what we're going to talk about.

It's here. It's time. Let's do this thing. I got back from Nebraska, I guess about a week ago now. And just like last year, [00:01:00] it got me all fired up. Like I was getting to hunt and strategize and scout and you know, try to get on deer and do this and that. And then I come home, and I just have to like, slam on the brakes, because the season's not open here yet, but my mind, my mind had already gone there, and there's just no turning back, once I flip that switch, and so, I've just been consumed with Whitetail Deer, I'm sure a lot of you have, and it just so happened that I kinda already had this, uh, podcast in the works, But, uh, I, I put a post on Instagram today asking if anybody had, you know, like, questions or topics they wanted me to cover.

And it just so happened that a lot of the questions people had, I could answer while I did this podcast. And so, I have notes in front of me, like, I, I'm set up, I'm ready to go, I'm organized, and I am ready to just talk about big buck hunting. So that's what we're going to talk about today. I do as always want to go back up and, uh, and cover a few other things.

And so this last weekend I had a really cool [00:02:00] experience. I, I got to do a little dove hunting. My wife was still gone on her trip and I actually went the morning. I had to go pick her up from the airport. So I did the most dad thing I could think of. And I just took our daughter with me. and left her peacefully and safely sleeping in the truck while I went hunting.

Uh, she was perfectly fine, I assure you, she's still, you know, alive, breathing well and everything to this moment. Uh, so yeah, so, uh, set up a, you know, I had like a little mojo and stuff, set up next to a pond. I, I knew it wasn't going to be a great hunt, like we just don't have super good dove hunting this year because it's been so dry and everything, but.

I just wanted to go, uh, you know, it's still early in the season and everything, so I went. I ended up killing like two of only three birds that I saw, or at least that came into range, and uh, I was feeling kind of good at myself, but then I think like the first bird I think it took me Two shots to get it.

The last bird it took me all three before I hit it So it sounds cool saying I killed two of three, but it [00:03:00] took me like I don't know five shots to kill two birds So pretty par for the course when you're talking dove. It's not not super easy. But anyway, so after I was done hunting You know got my daughter out had her little camo shirt on and her jean shorts and stuff And I just got to have like a really cool moment with my daughter Like I wouldn't technically say that was her first hunt She obviously didn't get to take part in the hunting But it just really took me back because that's how I got started in the outdoors like, you know I've told y'all before my dad's not really a deer hunter.

I think he's killed one deer in his life But he did used to do quite a bit of bird hunting and dove season like that was our thing. That was our holiday. You know, my parents will let us skip school on opening day. Even when we got up to high school, it was kind of funny. Just you know, hashtag priorities.

My dad would let us skip school in the morning. We'd go dove hunting, but we had to go back in the afternoon for football practice because you know football took priority. But that's just kind of how I was raised. I was, you know, chasing my dad around the dove fields. I'd like have my BB [00:04:00] gun, you know, he'd shoot a bird and I'd go be the bird dog and bring it back.

And then obviously, you know, eventually I got old enough to shoot a shotgun. And it was just something that my, my dad and brothers and I all did together. And it was just a huge part of, of me growing up and, and like I said, really what spurred me into the outdoors to where now I'm, you know, hunting multiple States and chasing big game across the country.

And, and it all started right there in the dove field. And I kind of got to share a little bit of that with my daughter. So just a really. Really cool dad moment that I'm obviously looking forward to have many more of in the future So that was last weekend. Like I mentioned my wife got back, which was awesome She had a great trip her and her team and so it's great having her back And we had a pretty awesome moment this week that I thought I would share with you guys I've had my wife on the podcast.

We did an episode together I think back around Christmas and New Year's and we just kind of talked about like Her and I's relationship, my relationship with hunting, how the three parties all kind of get along and work and manage and everything. And one [00:05:00] thing that we talked about that we did last year Uh, because we had a newborn baby that worked really well, was actually putting hunting dates, like, on the calendar in advance, just so she kind of had a heads up, I would be gone, she could kind of mentally prepare, physically prepare, you know, if she needed, uh, help with the baby or anything like that, and so that's something we have carried in over to this year, and so, I think I talked about it on here, a few weeks ago, we actually sat down at the table, pulled out the calendar, And we just basically went through the entire fall, like, September to January, pretty much, and we went weekend by weekend, and...

You know, if there was a weekend that I like, really, really wanted to hunt, we put it on the calendar. You know, weekends like, um, I love the last weekend of muzzleloader season. And my Iowa trip, uh, opening of Texas Rifle when I go hang out with my buddies. You know, the, like, the really important dates. And then, obviously, if she had anything, she put it on the calendar.

And then, you know, I had kind of secondary weekends, like, hey, like, if we don't have anything, I would love to hunt this weekend, [00:06:00] but I don't necessarily have to. And so, like I said, went through the entire fall that way. And, uh, this coming weekend, I've had it on the calendar for over a month now, I wanted to go to the ranch.

Um, you know, I'm hoping to plant my food plots, I need to fill my feeders, do all kind of the last minute, right before the season type stuff. And so, I was talking to her earlier today, and, uh, I was just like, hey, you know, by the way, uh, did you remember I wanted to go to the ranch this weekend, and is that still cool?

And guys, she made my year. She was like, yeah, it's on the calendar, like, go knock yourself out. No argument. No discussion, like, it's on the calendar, and so I'm good to go. So, again, just throwing that out there to everybody listening. Uh, planning ahead, uh, putting stuff on the calendar. Communication is very, very important for a happy marriage during hunting season.

So, like I said, just had to share that with y'all real quick. I did want to share one other thing kind of as we're getting into the whole, uh, hunting [00:07:00] seasons and all that stuff. Uh, I just, so I'm, I'm a member of a couple, you know, hunting deals on, on Facebook, like pages. And, you know, a lot of it's just kind of good fun.

And I was scrolling through the other day and I saw this question on this page and it was just, it was the type of question that, Somebody who had hunted, not even a ton, but just a decent amount would have known the answer to, and I'm not going to call the person out or what page or anything like that, but it was just a question that somebody probably would know the answer to if they've done a decent amount of hunting, and uh, so I, I, I, honestly my first thought was like, oh, this must be like a young kid, new hunter, something like that, and so I clicked on their profile, And not only was it a grown man, but I could see where this guy had been giving lots of other people.

hunting advice already. And so, uh, again, not trying to throw this guy under the bus. I'm glad he's asking questions. That's very important, but I'm saying [00:08:00] this more as a warning to you guys. Um, just be careful. Where you're getting your advice and I'm saying that about myself like I'm about to sit here And tell y'all how to kill big bucks and I'm throwing this warning out ahead of time uh Whether it's from me anybody else out there, even if it's the most popular celebrity on tv Just be careful where you get your information and something like I've preached a lot on this on this podcast is just down here hunting, you know, texas oklahoma arkansas, wherever it might be Uh, like the advice we get from a lot of mainstay hunting people who are hunting in the midwest, like, just because that stuff is true in the midwest doesn't necessarily mean that it's true down here where we are.

And so, again, everything, like I said, even what I'm about to say, uh, just take it with a little bit of a grain of salt. Use your, uh, use your discernment, your own mind, think for yourself, use your own experiences, [00:09:00] and just kind of filter through that stuff. And like I said, be careful what you're seeing on the internet, so.

Alright, that's pretty much it. Uh, as I mentioned, I am going out to the ranch this weekend. Uh, been talking about it for weeks, gonna try to plan all my food plots. Hopefully, um, I don't know if we're getting as much rain as I was hoping we would, but I think I'm still gonna go for it. Uh, cause we have more rain in the, in the future it looks like.

And then, gotta fill my feeders, set a blind up, level a blind, y'all have heard me talk about it a bunch, so not gonna go into huge detail there. And that's it for the announcements I think, so we're gonna jump right into the episode. As I mentioned at the beginning, we are talking about how to kill big bucks, because it's that time of year, and I'll say right off the bat, like, just because, like, I'm saying big bucks, but what I really mean is mature bucks, because I know some people say there's a difference between how a 180 inch deer thinks and how a 120 inch deer thinks, and that's I really don't think that's the case.

I don't think a six and a half year old buck knows [00:10:00] if it has gigantic antlers or small antlers. I just really don't think that makes a difference. So, so when I say big bucks, I'm really talking like older, mature, which usually means larger, bigger antlered. So, like I said, that's what we got going. Got my notes ready.

Really pumped about this one. It's frickin deer season, guys. Pretty soon it's gonna be duck season and bear season and all that other stuff also. We made it. I like to say that every year. We finally made it, so. Alright, that's what we got. I've already said that like 18 times. Thank you guys for tuning in.

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I will do my best to talk slowly and concisely. That's one of the biggest critiques I have for myself is I, I get excited and I start talking real fast. And so I'll do my best to slow down, but, uh, I'm gonna start this episode out with doing something I really don't like to do, um, but I just feel like if I'm going to teach people about killing big bucks, I, I have to have some background and prove to people that I can, in fact, do it myself.

I don't want to just be talking about air and things that I haven't backed up, and so I decided to go back five years, and so my... My last five hunting seasons, which would be 2018 to 2022, in that time, I have killed what I would refer to as ten mature [00:12:00] bucks. And when I say mature, I believe one of those was a four year old.

The other nine were either five years and older. And again, when I'm saying big bucks, I'm talking mature. Not all of these were like Boone and Crockett or anything like that. In fact, most of them weren't. Um, the smallest one was probably 120, but that 120 was eight and a half years old. And I, it took me four years to kill him.

I finally killed him when he was eight and a half. And so, um, so yeah, over a five year period, I basically averaged. Two per year. There was one year I only killed one, but then in 2021, I had a really good year and I killed three, um, all those bucks worth various weapons. I think one of them was a muzzle loader.

Uh, the rest were bow and rifle. And, and that was also on three different properties, uh, two in Oklahoma and one in Texas. And so again, like I. I feel weird doing that. If you've listened to this show, I'm not a huge bragger. Um, but again, I just feel like I have to back up what I'm about to preach. And [00:13:00] so, I just wanted to throw that out there.

So, um, And once again, like I said, just because I'm saying big bucks, I'm really talking mature animals. So, anyway, just wanted to get that out of the way. And, and let's talk about killing big bucks. I got five steps for you guys. I got my five steps on how to kill a big buck. Step number one, and this is gonna sound over simplified, but it's just find one.

And we're not to the nitty gritty yet, we're not to killing. This is, you know, 30, 000 foot view. And what I mean by this is, if there is not a big or mature buck in your area, You obviously can't kill one. And so, that could mean maybe you need to find a new area, maybe you need to go to public, maybe you need to start knocking on doors.

But if you've been hunting, you know, the same property year in and year out, and you're just not seeing the type of deer you're after, I'm sorry to tell you, but you're probably just gonna have to go somewhere else. Now, there are a few other options. You can [00:14:00] talk to neighbors, you can manage and stuff, but, like I said, if you've been hunting this property for a while, More than likely, you know, something's not just going to switch overnight.

Uh, my favorite hunting quote of all time. I know I've said it on here a lot. Uh, Mr. Bill Winky, he said, it takes five years to grow a five and a half year old buck. I absolutely love that saying and it's so incredibly true. So um, like I said, if you, if you have access to great property, um, and you have some deer that are close, maybe it is just you and your buddies or whoever hunts on the property, you know, taking a year off, not necessarily taking a year off, but just, uh, heightening your standards, you know, letting that.

3 year old pet walk, letting that 4 year old walk, whatever it might be, because like I said it just if you're wanting to truly kill trophy mature bucks, you just cannot shoot young bucks. My second favorite quote, if you want to shoot, or I'm sorry, what is it? If you shoot good bucks, you'll never shoot [00:15:00] great bucks.

I read that in some magazine when I was in like high school and it's stuck with me ever since. So. Those are my two favorite sayings. Um, and some of you are probably listening to this and you're thinking, Oh man, like I can't afford private land. I can't afford a lease. I don't have access or whatever. I promise you, um, as of right now, you can find big mature bucks on public land in Oklahoma.

And I, maybe I should keep that a secret, but I mean, it's true other places. Also, if you're willing to put in the work, you can find these deer. And I know that because I've. done it. Um, I haven't ran a lot of cameras on public land. I haven't hunted a ton of public land, but I, I, you know, I'm not about to tell you where, but I have found big mature bucks on public land and more than just one.

Um, you know, when it comes down to it every year, I always talk about how when I'm wanting to hunt more public land, but just When I have good deer on public and I have good deer on private, it's just so much easier to go hunt my private. And so I haven't really, [00:16:00] you know, really gone all out on the public land.

But like I said, if, if that's your only option, it can be done. It's going to be harder. Yes. I'm telling you that right up front, but you can find good deer. And like I said, maybe you have to travel, maybe you got to go to Kansas. Maybe you got to figure out a draw system, uh, you know, put in for Iowa, whatever it might be.

If you're not happy with the deer that you are currently hunting, you just have to go somewhere else and you have to find that buck. So again, that's kind of the 30, 000 foot view. We're gonna focus on actually killing one of these suckers, but again, step one, you just gotta find one. Alright, step two. Uh, I call step two, analyze

the deer that you're interested in and... First, you have to figure out if he's huntable. And I use that term because just because you have a picture of this big buck at night during August or at night during November. Or, you know, [00:17:00] whatever the situation might be. If he just passes through one time, that doesn't necessarily mean that he's killable.

Even if you have a bunch of pictures. The 2 percent buck that I'm always talking about is the perfect example of this. I have hundreds of pictures of this buck. And the reason I call him the 2 percent buck is because I give myself a 2 percent chance of killing him. Because he just does not come onto our property where I can hunt him.

In the daylight. He lives on the neighbors. I 100 percent know that. I've talked to the neighbors and tried to get permission. They won't give me permission. I could drop a pin on a map where this deer lives and, and beds and eats and everything. I just can't get access to it. Uh, but again, I get lots of pictures of him.

I, I'm hopeful like someday he might trip up, so I'm keeping that hope alive. But I do not call him a, a huntable buck. And so that is why every year at the top of my hit list, He's normally down at like two or three, because [00:18:00] obviously I would love to kill him, but he's just not huntable. And so what I would call a huntable buck is a buck that is either betting on you or just consistently on you.

And it doesn't necessarily have to be during the day. Um, you know, there are things you can do, and we'll talk about that later. Um, but he has to be consistent. Like your, your hunting area has to be a part of his... Home range and it doesn't have to be the entire home range. More than likely the property you're hunting is not on, you know, his entire range is not on the property that you're hunting.

Um, you know, in order for that to happen, you'd probably have to have a couple thousand acres and most of us don't have that. So. So yeah, that's kind of step one of analyzing the situation. Is this buck huntable? Taking that a little step further is do you have a situation where you could actually get this deer in front of you in a hunting situation, whether you're bow [00:19:00] hunting?

Muzzleloader, rifle, doesn't matter. Can you get that deer in front of you? And we're, we're going to go further on that. I promise. Um, but just, it kind of all comes back to the, to the whole killable thing is, is if you're being honest with yourself, is there a real possibility that you could kill this deer?

So those first two are much more broad. And as we go along, we're going to kind of narrow it in. Uh, step one was find one. Step two was analyze the situation. Step three is scout and reconnaissance. So we have this buck, we've identified him, we've identified that he is most likely killable. Now it's time to actually figure out how to do it.

And one of the questions I got on Instagram was about map scouting, you know, using maps to figure out deer and their patterns and everything. And I'm going to be honest, that's really hard to do over an audio podcast. And so I'm going to give a shout out to the hunting public. They did a collaboration, I think two [00:20:00] years ago, and I think they did another one last year, actually.

They did a collaboration with Onyx, and they did a great job, and it shows, you know, what they're looking for on the map, then they actually go out to those spots, and, you know, find them in real life, and figure out if they were right or not, and that's a lot of kind of how I figured this stuff out, and I used PublicLand mostly to do this, you know, I'd look on maps, I'd watch those videos, Kind of saw what they were looking for, and then I just get on map in my local area and, and try to find those same, same things and actually go out there and, and locate this stuff.

Um, but I, I'll, I'll still give you guys some advice. Um, one of the best things you can do as far as like, you know, map scouting on your property is just use your actual, um, intel. Like, trail cameras, um, you know, hunting sightings, like when you see deer. Um, it doesn't matter if you're hunting a wheat field, a feeder, food plot, or just a field edge, whatever it is, think about where you're at, [00:21:00] think about where those deer are coming to, and then just think about where you've seen deer come from.

And then get on your map and backtrack them. You're like, where, like, I know this, excuse me, sorry. I know this deer was at this location at this time. And they came from this direction. Where were they coming from? Is there CRP? Is there thick timber? Is there a Creek? Is there a, an old field? Just think, I mean, like, literally, just use your brain and try to think about where they were coming from.

And then once you nail that down, and again, you know, don't do it during the season, but maybe in the spring, go to that area and figure out if you were right. Look for deer sign, look for deer trails, uh, beds, whatever it might be. Just look and see if you were right. And once you figure out you are right, take that knowledge and just apply it to other places.

Like, okay, I found deer in this type of habitat. That's what I need to look for. And that is the best advice I can give you as far as learning [00:22:00] how to use your maps on your own property. Other things that are, you know, a little bit more obvious, you know, use the, uh, the topo lines on your map. I almost always have my topo lines on because I want to know how that land rolls and twists and turns.

Look for those saddles. You know, if y'all have listened to the show for a while, I'm always talking about the spot that I call the saddle. And it's a great hunting spot simply because it's a saddle. It's the easiest spot for deer to get from the South to the North or the North for the South is to go through this area.

Saddles also usually create kind of a wind tunnel. And so it collects all that scent from the surrounding area. So not only is it easier for the deer to travel through those, but they can get a good, um, you know, scent and look ahead of what they're heading into. Uh, as I've talked about before, you have to be careful hunting those because if you're too close to that saddle, they're going to pick you up long before they get in range for you to kill them.

But saddles are a great tool. Creeks are obviously, like, [00:23:00] I mean, deer hunting 101 is like. deer like creeks. It's usually thicker vegetation. They have water. They have food. Um, so creeks are a great source. Always look for creeks, saddles, all that good stuff. Uh, going back to our main topic, scat and reconnaissance.

Um, you know, there's lots of ways to do this. Um, in certain parts of the country and state, glassing is a great method. Me personally. I, I feel like I am hurting myself if I'm glassing just because of the type of terrain. Um, there's a decent amount of timber around us, decent amount of hills, and so for me to be close enough to actually glass a deer, I feel like I'm intruding on that deer.

Like, there's a good chance that they, even if they can't smell me then. I'm close enough to the habitat that at some point deer will smell me. And so I'm very, uh, um, uh, you know, I use trail cameras, which is that word. I'm, I'm very reliant [00:24:00] on trail cameras and, um, I've, I've kind of done it both ways and I, and there's no right answer.

Um, I've done the thing where like I leave a camera in one spot all year long without touching it. And I've gotten data that way. And then I've also. very sporadic, like I'll leave a camera there for a week or two. If I'm not getting anything, I'll move it. You just kind of have to use your best judgment.

And, um, I highly, highly recommend cell cameras if you can afford it. Even if you just, uh, you know, have one or two, like, you know, if you put it on a feeder, if that's where you want to put it, put it on a trail, um, whatever it is, the, the more cell cameras you can use. I know some people call it cheating, but it's just, it's really, really good Intel because it, it, um, it lowers your human intrusion.

So, uh, cell cameras are a great way to do it. Like I said, glassing and also just, you know, don't forget about what you're seeing when you're hunting. Um, I, I, [00:25:00] I keep a note on my phone. I keep track of, you know, it changes from year to year, but I keep track of mature buck sightings for sure. Uh, if it's a buck that I'm really after, I'll make a little note of like time, date, weather.

One thing I started doing a few years ago, if I, I'll do this, like if it's my target buck, if I get a daylight picture, I'll screenshot the picture and then I'll screen go to a weather app and I'll screenshot the weather where it shows the temperature and the wind and all that stuff. So I have those two right next to each other.

So I know when it was those conditions on that date, that deer was on its feet during daylight. Um, same thing if I'm, you know, hunting in person. Like, you know, if I see a deer with my eyes, I'll make that same note. Hey, saw this deer because I mean, you've all been there. You've all seen deer. that you know you didn't get a picture of.

Either they didn't come to the, the feeder, or they skirted the edge of the food plot, whatever. Like, you've all seen deer that you didn't get a picture of. [00:26:00] Make sure you're documenting that, because that is a huge piece of the puzzle. Cameras, I've talked about it before, cameras show you such a small part of the overall picture, so you have to use everything to your advantage.

including actual sightings. And part of the reason I'm harping on all this documentation is because another part of this is historical data. Historical data can be huge when it comes to killing these mature bucks. I think I even somewhat called my shot, uh, this summer, I was doing an episode and I was talking about how last year in 2022, the first picture I got of the 2 percent buck was on July 14th.

Guess what date? I got my first picture of the 2 percent buck this year, July 14th. I did the same thing two years ago when he was a five and six year old. Um, I got a picture, I think it was August 28th on this one tree. Next year, same day, same picture on that same tree, got a picture of this buck. These bucks, I mean, it's almost [00:27:00] unbelievable how predictable they can be from one year to another.

And their patterns and their movements and everything like that. So you got to be storing these trail camera photos, storing these notes, and don't forget to go back to them. That's something I'm bad at sometimes, is actually going back and looking at these pictures ahead of time. Uh, I'll give you an example from several years ago.

This would have been, I think, 2017 and 18. It was, uh, I was hunting the property that we sold a few years ago. And just randomly, it was late December, I got a picture of this monster 8 point. And it was the only picture I got of that deer all year long. I think it was like December 27th or something like that.

Right after Christmas. No other pic you know, it was a nice clear photo. I could tell what he was. No other pictures the entire year. The next year, I just so happened to be flipping through my phone. I think I was bored on Christmas Day or something. And I came across that picture and so I actually went and hunted that spot on that day because I didn't have to work [00:28:00] and Of course, I didn't see him and I was all bummed.

I was like, ah, you know long shot I kid you not the next day I got the same picture on the same camera at the same spot of that same buck. He was just one day off So, you know, it's not always Complete science where it's just the exact same day, but man these bucks if you really pay attention, they they are Extremely patternable most deer with how they kind of rotate and move around and and I have other examples of deer that were not that way whatsoever But but on as a whole it you definitely need to pay attention to those historical Historical photos and I'll give you guys one one thing that I'm looking forward to this year I was just going through, once I got the picture of the 2 percent buck and got all excited.

I've, I've been collecting all my historical data. And, uh, not long after, I had my, my encounter with him last year. I think was December, I don't remember, it was late December. Uh, but [00:29:00] I, I just recently, uh, found a camera that I'd left out for a while. And I pulled the card, and it was actually a cell camera.

But when the batteries get low, you know, it stops sending pictures. So I was always, I always double check the card and I was going through the card and I found a picture of the 2 percent buck and, uh, going through the rest of it and actually found multiple daylight pictures right around that same time.

But again, the camera just wasn't sending to me and I think I had tagged out at that point, so it wouldn't have mattered. Um, but again, late December, I know where I'm going to be if I haven't killed him to that point because he was there almost every day. Late in the evening up on this ridge. And so I just already have that mentally stored away using that historical data.

I have two other quick points before we move on to, to number four, the first one being, you know, I mentioned earlier that, uh, at times I can be kind of sporadic with my, with my cameras. And that's because not getting pictures can be [00:30:00] just as valuable. pictures. You know, I talked about this on my Nebraska hunt, uh, where I had had two cameras soaking for quite a while, had a lot of deer on them, but just not anything mature, nothing that I wanted to kill.

That is still valuable data because I now know that I don't need to waste my time hunting those areas. I can go somewhere else. I can focus my efforts somewhere else. I would love to have 200 trail cameras, but I just can't afford that, and I think I'd drive myself crazy if I had that many. Um, so use what you have, and use it efficiently.

Don't be afraid to move those things around a little bit until you get them in the right position. And then, I wanted to give y'all an example. I feel like I keep talking about this 2 percent buck, and obviously I'm kind of obsessed with him, but... I wanted to give y'all a different example. Uh, this is a buck I would, what year did I kill this buck?

I'm pretty sure I killed this buck in 2019 or 2020? Maybe it was 2020. Um, but anyway, uh, it was a, it [00:31:00] was a nice ten point. He was a five year old. And this was one of the most daylight active bucks that I had ever hunted. But he was also the most sporadic, like I just, I couldn't track him down. Um, he'd show up here, I'd hunt there, and he'd be over here, and, and on and on and on.

And so I was just playing this constant moving game. And, uh, so one day I sat down and it was, it was late December and I was like, man, like I gotta figure this buck out. Like there has to be a reason, like I talked about earlier. So I made a file with all of his pictures and it, cause in my mind I was like, what if I just hunt the same spot over and over again until I see him?

But even then it's like, okay, well, what spot do I hunt? And so I sat down with all my trail cameras or photos and was going through the file and I finally noticed one thing This is like one of those things where you got to pay attention to the small stuff There was this one camera that was at a feeder and almost every time he was on this [00:32:00] camera.

He was wet And, meaning it had just rained, and so, I paid attention to that, and the next time it rained, sure enough, as soon as the rain stopped, he was there. And so, I, I, that was like my thing, and so I, I waited for the right conditions, it ended up coming New Year's Eve night, and so bright and early, even though it was super early in the morning, and it's late season, and normally, you know, mornings are bad or whatever, it just so happened that it was supposed to quit raining like right at sunrise.

And so I waited in my truck until it was almost light, and I could tell the rain was moving out, so I had my rain gear on, I hiked in while it was still raining, and not 15 minutes later, as soon as it quit raining, that buck was in front of me, and I killed him. And it was because I just, I had all that data in front of me, I analyzed it, I slowed down, and I looked for the small details, and I don't know how on earth I was able to figure it out.

But I figured it [00:33:00] out and I killed that buck. And so, uh, the, the moral of the story being, don't just look at the picture and say, Oh, cool, this is a picture of this buck, really study it. Look at the weather, look at the wind. Uh, if you believe in the moon, look at the moon, whatever it might be. Analyze this data.

Don't just say, Oh, that's a cool picture and store it away. So now we have found one. We have analyzed the situation. We've done our scouting and reconnaissance. Number four is probably by far the most important but also the hardest for people. Number four is the waiting game. It's being patient. More than likely uh, 90 percent of the people listening to this podcast are not going to kill a buck opening day.

Not because they're bad hunters, not because of whatever reason you want to say. It's just because in this part of the country, mature bucks are probably not going to be on their feet October [00:34:00] 1st in daylight. It's just, it's too warm typically. Now we may get a cool front that might change. It's not a blanket statement.

And I know a lot of people say opening day is the best day to kill a buck. And I, and that is kind of true. You know, they haven't been educated. Hopefully people haven't been in there, but in my experience, there's just not a lot of big mature deer on their feet. opening day for most people who are going to be hunting like a bait situation, a food plot or something like that.

Um, you know, again, like I don't care if it's opening day, November 7th, January 6th, whatever it might be. If that buck is not coming in in daylight, you just can't go hunt him. You're only hurting yourself even worse than that. I've, I've seen a lot of people do this, you know, they're, they've been being patient and all of a sudden that buck daylights and they just go in there no matter what, even if the wind is wrong or rain, whatever the situation is, you have to wait till everything is [00:35:00] right.

Um, man, so many situations I can tell y'all about, uh, the, the, the buck I killed last year with my bow. Great example. That deer was daylight for, I don't know, five days in a row or something. I was working during the week. I had to wait for the weekend. Friday rolls around, I get off work, I run out to the ranch, and the wind is wrong.

And so I, I just waited. I like, sure enough, he showed up in daylight, just like he had, but I knew if I was in that stand, he would have smelt me like the wind was just absolutely wrong. So I don't remember if I took the evening off or hunted somewhere else or what, but I laid off, I went back the next day.

That buck came out, and I killed him. Just the situation was right. The, the buck that I talked about, you know, killing after the rain. You can't kill a buck after the rain stops, unless it's raining. I had to wait for that situation. Uh, the buck I killed with my muzzleloader last year. Uh, it was raining and storming real bad for like three days.

You know, I brought y'all along for the [00:36:00] story, and I kept saying, like, as soon as this rain ends, it's gonna pick up. Like, I wasn't seeing deer. The, the movement was terrible. The deer were, you know, hunkered down cause of the rain. I kept saying like, as soon as this rain ends, something's going to happen.

And I ended up killing 150 H10 point that evening. Um, I mean, just on and on and on, uh, you just, you can't rush it. Killing big mature deer takes an extreme amount of patience and it's patience that a lot of people frankly, just don't have. Um, and, and, and it's something that I did not have for a very, very long time, but I screwed myself enough and I screwed up enough situations and scared enough bucks off that I finally learned it's better to just wait.

Um, I'm thinking of, you know, on the old, actually that the eight and a half year old buck that I talked about earlier. He's a great example. That buck was very consistent in daylight late in the season. Every year he'd be very [00:37:00] consistent. And again, I was working. I didn't get to hunt a ton. And so I'd have the weekend off or whatever.

I'd go out there and I just wanted to hunt because he was coming in daylight. And like I said, even though he wasn't a high scoring buck, he was super old and mature, and he's just kind of making me angry at this point because I tried to kill him for a few years. Um, and so I'd go up there and I'd hunt.

And it just wouldn't be right and I never got him killed and I watched that buck on camera for Year after year after year until I finally got him one day. I'm kind of an off wind And and I was able to outsmart him. Um Like I said, I I can go on and on and on but to to really Be a big buck killer in my opinion.

I think you have to be patient. Uh, there are a few exceptions to this. You know, if you're a big fan of like the hunting beast and the beast, sorry, if you're a big fan of the hunting beast and like the super aggressive style, those people are the opposite of patient. They are just go in there, get them killed.

But you'll even hear those [00:38:00] guys talk about how, um, like they're okay spooking a buck because if they spook that one, they're they'll just go find another one. If you're hunting private land, especially smaller tracks, that's, that's not the situation you want to be in because if you scare that buck and educate them and spook them off your property, you can't just most likely pick it, you know, you can't pick your property up and scoot it over a mile and set it back down.

Like, the deer you have on that property are the deer you have to hunt. And so, like I said, most people are hunting leases, private land, or something like that. Uh, and even public land, like most people don't have the ability to just, Oh, I spooked this buck, so I'm gonna drive three hours this direction to this other piece of public land that's way far away from my house and I have to get a hotel and everything like that.

Like, most people are hunting the area that they're hunting and that's it. And so, if that's the situation you're in, You just have to be so meticulous about how you're hunting when you're going in. [00:39:00] Um, I remember, uh, on a, on a different, uh, different hunting forum thing that I was talking about in my intro, uh, there was a question somebody asked about like, how often do you guys hunt, you know, how many hunts?

And I remember one of the comments, a guy said that in October last year, he hunted. 31 days, he hunted every single day of October. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear that is I hope that guy has 31 different stands, because if you're like most people and you have, you know, three or four stands, if you're hunting 31 times and you only have a couple stands.

You're killing yourself. Like, you're just putting way, way too much pressure on your stand. You might be seeing deer, maybe. You know, you might be seeing some does or whatever. But eventually those deer are gonna catch on to you, and they're gonna get smart. And if you're trying to kill a mature deer, you just can't let them get on to you like that.

Um, I don't know how many stands and, and setups and stuff I have. I want to say [00:40:00] like eight or something like that. Which is, you know, not that many, honestly. Um, but I'm just smart. Like I, I rotate them. Uh, I have certain stands that are kind of my like odd day stands, like days where I can go hunting, I want to go hunting, maybe the conditions are right.

Aren't that good. And so I go hunt these stands and those are my like, kind of bad day stands. I'm hoping to just maybe get lucky or kill a doe or something, and then I have like my true kill stands, and that's where my big bucks are, that's where the ones I'm after are at, and I only hunt those stands if I truly believe in my heart that there is a chance I could kill that buck.

Um, a great example, uh, sorry I'm gonna go back to the 2 percent buck, but I have, I've had this setup where he comes, you know, at night all the time. Uh, I think I've been running a feeder in this pasture for, gosh, I don't know, four years, something like that. Uh, in that four years, uh, I have hunted that setup, I don't know, I'd [00:41:00] be scared to say, definitely less than 20.

Like, I average probably less than five hunts a year in that setup. Even though, like, this big buck that I've been after for all this, and have all this history, like, even though he's been there, Almost nightly at times. He's just not there in the daylight. And so I don't hunt it because I know with that particular deer who does not bet on us, if I have any hope of killing that deer, it is one, I just get super lucky and I catch him, you know, chasing a hot doe on some random day.

Or I just make that deer so dadgum comfortable around that feeder that he gets so just, you know, willy nilly that he finally starts coming out in daylight. And so even though I have this deer coming in, even if the wind is right. I, I'm just not hunting there because I want him to be patient and I'm waiting for the exact situation that I can kill that deer.

Um, yeah, so, patience, patience, patience, [00:42:00] patience. You have the right to the best wireless service. Bravado Wireless provides the best mobile wireless, high speed internet, latest devices, and customer service at prices you feel good about. Bravado Wireless strives to put these values first and offer you the best wireless service available.

See what they have to offer at BravadoWireless. com or one of their retail locations in Eastern Oklahoma. Let Bravado Wireless connect you to your family, friends, and business partners. all over the world bravado wireless the power of connection all right number five the last thing we're going to talk about the actual kill and so we've we've done our homework we found one we've analyzed all that stuff that i've just talked about it's time to actually go in and kill this deer so So, as I've been saying all along, if you have done your homework, and you're going in, like, you should have a good idea that the deer you're after is going to be [00:43:00] there, and that has to be your mentality.

If you're going in like, oh it'd be cool if he shows up, you're not gonna be ready, you're not gonna be in the right mind space, you're not gonna be prepared, you have to go in thinking, alright, today I am killing him. And, uh, that means you have practiced with your weapon, no matter what weapon it is. Um, you've probably familiar, familiarized yourself with the spot you're going to be hunting.

You know your ranges, you know where deer typically come from. You've imagined in your head a hundred times like, Alright, that buck is probably going to come from this. He's going to circle this way and he's going to come in like this. He's going to be standing here. You've ran that through your mind over and over again.

You have, and this is a big part, this is something that I did terrible. A lot of, I've heard a lot of people talk about it and I did not do a good job of, you have. some kills under your belt. You've, like I said, whether it's rifle, muzzleloader, bow, doesn't matter. Whatever weapon you're using, crossbow, [00:44:00] you have been there before.

Um, and does are a great way to get that done. Uh, you know, if you're a younger listener, I mean, I'm glad you're listening to what I'm saying, and I hope you're working your way up to this moment, but kill those younger bucks. Just, just shoot some deer. Get some kills under your belt. Uh, because that was something I was really bad at, like I mentioned.

Like... I killed some decent deer with a rifle, I started getting serious into bow hunting, and, you know, I'd have small bucks and does in front of me, and I'd be like, oh, like, I'm holding out for a big, you know, like, I want to kill something bigger than what I've killed with my rifle. And, excuse me. And when the moment finally came to kill my first deer with a bow, um, I was a nervous wreck, because I hadn't been there before.

And so, do some, you know, preliminary work, you know, early season, kill some does. Uh, whatever it might be. Previous years. Work your way up to this moment. Um, make sure your gear is 100 percent good to go. [00:45:00] Make sure you're comfortable with it. Um, this is not a time, like let's say, you know, the moment comes, you've had this gear in daylight, you're going in to kill.

This is not a moment to go in and try to self film for the first time because you think it'd be cool to get this on, on camera. If you've never set up your camera arm, if you're not comfortable with your camera, Uh, if you've never, you know, thought about the position you'd have the camera in while you draw your bow, whatever it might be, don't do that.

Be comfortable with your equipment. Uh, know where your release is. Uh, know where you're gonna hang your arrows. Know if you're gonna have an extra arrow. Um, you know, if you're using a gun. Uh, take your sling off when you get in the blind so you don't run the risk of it hitting something. Be careful with your barrel as it goes out the window so you don't hit the blind and, and alert that buck as you're, you know, getting ready to shoot.

Um, just, just familiar, uh, familiarize yourself with the situation. One thing I used to do a lot that I'm kind of bad at nowadays and I need to get uh, better at is I used to [00:46:00] practice out of a tree stand a lot. Um, because that's how I hunt most of the time, from an elevated position. Um, if you've only practiced off the ground, and all of a sudden you're sitting in a tree, and you're sitting down, and you're up high and everything, and you're not used to that...

You're, you're gonna have a bad day. Um, your, your arrow more than likely is gonna hit higher than where you've been practicing from the ground because of gravity. Um, so yeah, like I said, when you, when you go in, you just have to be all in because when that buck that you've had all those pictures of and you've been drooling over and dreaming over dreaming of and you already got the mount picked out and everything.

When that deer actually walks out in front of you and turns broadside within range, you have to be laser focused. You can't be thinking oh my gosh here he is what do I do now. Um, I've told y'all before like my, my thing is I start telling myself aim low because I've shot, I've [00:47:00] shot two or three deer in a row.

Uh, I shot him high, I was able to recover him, they were all kills, but it was just higher than I should have. Um, uh, two years ago, the, the deer that I killed with my bow, I remember thinking that I was, you know, I was kind of murmuring to myself, aim low, aim low. But he kept moving, he kept taking a step, like every time I was getting comfortable, he would take another step.

And I ended up, you know, I got all excited, and I shot, and I shot him high, because I got too excited. This last deer, last deer that I killed this year, I just kept saying he, he faced me for a long time, which was like the best thing he could have possibly done because I came to full draw and I'm sitting there, but he's facing me, so I don't have a good shot.

And the whole time I'm just sitting there whispering to myself, aim low, aim low, aim low. He finally turned broadside. He threw that leg up and I just 12 ringed him. Best shot I've ever made in my life on a deer was this past year, but it was because I had been there and I had practiced and I had been through those motions before I knew where my stuff was.

I always hang my [00:48:00] bag in this certain area. I always have my release clipped on the string. Uh, I did have my camera running. I'd set it up and taking it down a hundred times that season. I was just, I was there. I was in the moment. I was ready to go and I was focused and I was able to execute the shot. And that stuff only comes with.

experience and repetition. That stuff doesn't just happen overnight. Wow, that was, that was a lot, so. So yes, when it comes time to kill you just have to cross all your T's, dot all your I's Um, I, I, I'll throw this out there, I I, the longer I hunt, the less scent control I do. Uh, I, like I did the whole Ozonics thing I still have an Ozonics, I still use the Ozonics from time to time I think I was running the Ozonics when I killed my deer this year But I'm no longer like reliant on that thing.

Like it's, it's kind of that backup, how it's meant to be. It's not made to make you invisible, despite what the commercials say, [00:49:00] it's made to help. And so I'll run it on my clothes from time to time. Like I said, if, if the wind's a little iffy or I'm super confident that buck's going to be there, I'll have it in the tree with me.

Um, But I just, I wait for the right conditions. Uh, most of the time, the main sync control I use, and it's probably not doing a whole lot except for giving me a little bit of confidence, is just like some super cheap squirt bottle stuff that I get from Walmart. And, you know, at the truck I spray myself down, spray my boots and my pack and everything.

Um, but I'm just, I'm so much more careful now with how I Enter the woods, how I get to my stand and the wind, when my stand, or, you know, when I'm in my stand and where I'm hunting. And I think I talked about this a long time ago, but, uh, one thing that really took my hunting up a notch was. Not just thinking about where I want the deer to be when I'm hunting and in relation to the wind But where that deer is coming from [00:50:00] also because just because you're downwind of your feeder Doesn't mean that you're not gonna get scented by deer if deer can come from behind you Guess what?

They're gonna scent you and almost every deer I've killed at a feeder has circled downwind of that sucker They've come from the downwind side So like I said, I like to have my stand kind of off, you know, uh, like, uh, gosh, sorry. I keep talking about this, but just trying to give you guys real examples. Uh, this, this, uh, stain that I have where I actually I've killed my last two bucks out of this one stand.

Um, the deer come from the East. I have my feeder there and then my stand is a little bit. Northwest of the feeder. It's along a creek that runs to the northwest. And so I hunt it on a south or a southeast wind. So, when the deer come from the east to the feeder, even if they circle to the, to the north of the feeder, you know, which would be downwind on a south wind, they never get downwind of me [00:51:00] because I'm further to the west.

And my scent goes down into that creek. It follows the creek out to the northwest, and it's just a dynamite spot. And so, look for areas like that, um, yeah. Like I said, I have really enjoyed this episode. I hope I've made sense. I hope I'm not leaving anything out. Uh, I'm gonna pull my phone up here and run down our list one last time.

So, number one, you gotta find one. There's gotta be a deer there to kill. Number two, you got to analyze the situation. Is this a deer that I think I can truly number three, scout and reconnaissance. Where is this deer living? Where is he eating? Where is he sleeping? How does he get to all those different spots and where can I find his weakness?

Number four, the waiting game. You gotta be patient. You gotta wait until everything is perfect. Number five, the kill. You gotta have everything dialed. You gotta be ready for the moment of truth because when it comes, [00:52:00] it's probably going to come really quickly. And your heart is going to be racing out of your chest.

All right, guys, I think that's it. I think I'm just going to end it there. Not really going to do a true outro. I feel pretty darn good about that one. So, uh, if you guys have any questions, please hit me up on social media, uh, mainly Instagram. I need to get better at Facebook. I always say that, but I never do.

Uh, Instagram is definitely the best way to get ahold of me. Be following along for this upcoming season. Uh, as it's turned out, I got a couple good bucks that I'm going to be chasing. Very, very excited. Let's see if I can, uh, can back up what I just said in this episode and kill a few more bucks this year.

So, like I said, that's all I got. Thank you guys so much for following along on the podcast. I'm really excited. Good luck to everyone this season. I wish you all the best stay safe, God bless. And until next week, I will see y'all right back here on the Oklahoma outdoors podcast.[00:53:00]