Finding trophy bucks to hunt can be easy. To live long enough to become a trophy buck, all the deer have to do is survive long enough to obtain heavy body weights and large antlers. If you can accept this fact, then we can narrow your search down quickly. Trophy bucks most often will be where no hunter hunts. There are several reasons why hunters don’t hunt certain areas.
Most muzzleloader hunters:
* don’t like to cross water to reach their hunting sites where no one else hunts, because most often they either will have to wear a pair of waders or take a canoe or a boat with them.
* don’t hunt in very-thick cover areas, because they know, if they go into that thick cover, they will spook the deer that are there, and they won’t be able to see well enough to spot deer as they move through thick cover.
* don’t hunt usually on properties less than 50 to100 acres. They believe that the more acres they have to hunt, the bigger and better bucks they can find.
* don’t hunt generally where they have to knock on doors and get permission to hunt.
* don’t ask to hunt properties where they see long driveways leading up to very-expensive houses, because they are intimidated by long driveways and expensive houses.
However, the properties with the long driveways and expensive houses are the types of properties I target. When you knock on the door of that expensive house, the person will say, “No, you can’t hunt my property,” or, “Yes, you can hunt my property.” This is the only two answers you will get.
I tell the landowner that if I can get exclusive rights to hunt his property, I will help manage his deer herds and I will help with his other property problems. I’ll cut grass, weed whack grown-up areas and fix and build fences. I try and help the landowner any way I can, if that landowner gives me exclusive permission to hunt that property.
Most of the lands I hunt are from as little as 6 acres to as much as 400 acres. I always look for properties in areas where I’ve seen big bucks. Once I get the exclusive rights to hunt that property, not only do I learn all I can about the property, but also all I can about the properties that border the land where I can hunt. Once I have 6 to 20 acres or more to hunt, if all the property around is being hunted heavily, then that little piece of property that nobody probably ever has hunted before has become a sanctuary for big deer. The more the neighbor’s property is hunted, the more big bucks they will push onto the 6- to 20-acre sanctuary that nobody hunts, but where I’ll set-up.
Next I put-up trail cameras on these small acreages, to try to determine the buck-to-doe ratio and the number of older-age-class bucks that either live in that sanctuary or will stay there during daylight hours. I leave my trail cameras up all year long. This way, I get plenty of pictures of the bucks living on the property and can learn where and when the older-age-class bucks move into these sanctuaries during hunting season. This gives me a better idea on the time during the season I need to hunt this property, and it lets me know at what time the bucks are walking in front of my trail cameras. Too, I identify pinch points and funnels on the properties, because these types of areas are where the deer are most likely to travel to get from one point to another point.
When hunting season comes in, I become a scent freak. I:
* bathe in scent-eliminating soap;
* wash the towel I dry off with in scent-eliminating clothes wash;
* wear a carbon suit to absorb my odor made by Scent-Lok.
* carry odor-eliminating spray in the woods; and
* won’t hunt an area without a favorable wind.
I may have to walk a mile or more out of my way to get to my stand site without the deer seeing or hearing me.
By: Mike Monteleone of Westminster, Maryland, who has been hunting deer for 34 years. He hunts small properties in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. He gets exclusive permission to be the only hunter who hunts these lands.