SEEK­ING

Field and Stream - - COVER STORY -

THE LOW­DOWN

Ever watched a great bird dog work­ing cover to find a hun­kered-down pheas­ant or quail? That’s your white­tail buck right now, only he’s look­ing for does. With testos­terone lev­els surg­ing, bucks start pa­trolling like crazy, check­ing food sources, doe bed­ding sites, and tran­si­tion ar­eas for that first bit of ac­tion.

EX­PERT TIPS 9. READ THE BODY

“The key to call­ing in bucks is read­ing body lan­guage. When bucks are seek­ing, I look for an an­i­mal that’s trav­el­ing with in­tent and seem­ingly un­aware of his sur­round­ings. Any slow-mov­ing buck is no good; I leave him alone. But if he’s mov­ing right along, I know he’s look­ing for some­thing to chase or ha­rass. Bonus points for any buck with his ears laid back and hair erect. He’s telling me he’s feel­ing ag­gres­sive, and he’ll come to the first call he hears.”

—Mark Drury, TV host, drury out­doors.com

10. GET A GOOD VIEW

“For much of the year, bucks stick to thick cover, but that changes now. They re­ally start us­ing their eyes to find other deer, and they seek out open ar­eas to do so. I copy them by choos­ing stands in ar­eas where I can see well, es­pe­cially on an af­ter­noon hunt.”

—Dan Perez, land man­ager and TV host, white­tail prop­er­ties.com

11. GO IT A LONE

“Any time I hunt open or bro­ken cover, I look for a large lone tree or brush­pile. Bucks cross­ing be­tween patches of cover will go to that lone tree like a mag­net, paus­ing to as­sess their sur­round­ings be­fore mov­ing on. These spots are es­pe­cially deadly when bucks are cov­er­ing lots of ground to find does.”

—Mark Clif­ford, Ken­tucky out­fit­ter, pre­mier­out­fit­ters. com

12. SPY ON THE GIRLS

“Lots of guys delete doe pic­tures from their trail cam­eras, but right now the does tell you where the bucks will be. I keep close tabs on my cam­eras and scan cards for the spots with the best doe ac­tiv­ity—and then I im­me­di­ately put my hun­ters in those spots.” —T.C.

13. TALK LIKE A LADY

“Up un­til this phase in the rut, I stick mainly to grunt­ing and rat­tling for pulling a buck into range. But now’s the time to switch to doe bleats. By this point a buck might be tired of fight­ing or just had his butt kicked. But he is most def­i­nitely in the mood for a doe.”

—Joe Gizdic, land man­ager and Illi­nois guide, white­tail prop­er­ties.com

14. KILL A FROST GI­ANT

“I love to hunt the first hard frost of the year, which of­ten oc­curs dur­ing the seek­ing phase. The ear­ly­morn­ing cold puts

deer off food sources be­fore day­light, and they go back in the tim­ber to bed. When the sun warms things up—usu­ally eight or nine o’clock—they move back out to feed for a while. So I get in a stand be­fore first light and catch bucks mov­ing out to feed at mid­morn­ing, then back to bed again in late morn­ing. Bucks are both feed­ing and ha­rass­ing does the whole time. The ac­tion can be in­cred­i­ble.” —M.D.

The Seeker

A ma­ture Wis­con­sin buck trolls for does af­ter dawn.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.