Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Give “BUCK NAKED” for X-mas

Looking for that special gift for the outdoorsman in your life? Give them the gift that truly keeps on giving, a copy of the book Buck Naked; The Straight Dope on Trophy Whitetails.

Here’s a gift that will be appreciated this Christmas season and for years to come. Buck Naked is jammed packed with tips, tactics, and strategies that will benefit both the novice and seasoned hunter.

Have a great Holiday Season,

Grab a copy for your special hunter here

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shed Hunting

Now is the time to start shed hunting.

The biggest bucks begin to lose their antlers shortly after the rut (with the exemption of bucks on deer farms or in areas where there is ample feed and nutritional supplements). I like to start looking for sheds as soon after the end of the hunting season as possible. December’s moist earth or fresh snow makes it a great time to look for tracks and to learn more about deer patterns in your area. Snow reveals the truths about the how’s and why’s of deer movement in any area.

if you find a monster shed, you’ll know exactly where that buck was during the rut, and should have a darn good idea where to look for him next fall. This is when you start looking for trees to hang a stand in next year. Look for nearby funnels, and brush thickets close to bedding areas. This is the one time of the year that busting a buck out of his bed won’t come back to haunt you.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Do you know the way to bigger bucks?

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Here's an exercise for you; imagine that it's possible for you to harvest bucks much bigger than you currently are. If you're taking 120" bucks, imagine for a moment that it's possible for you to take 150" bucks consistently..

The first reaction of most people to that exercise is to smile briefly and then to begin thinking about why it isn't possible. One man said to me, "If you knew how hard it's for me to harvest the quality of bucks I’m currently taking, you wouldn't be suggesting that I could start harvesting larger buck consistently."

Well, my response to that is "Don't sell yourself short."

Mark Twain once wrote: "there are a thousand excuses for every failure but never a good reason."

The truth is, the average American hunter has the potential to harvest far bigger bucks than he or she is doing currently.

That's why I created a special book for you called "Buck Naked."


Increase your hunting potential today,


Monday, November 18, 2013

Hitting Running Deer

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

If you can’t hit a running animal, you’re missing a lot of action.

Why is it shooting at a standing bird (ground sluicing) is considered un-sportsman like, while shooting at a running deer is un-ethical. For the life of me, I can’t see the difference.

Hitting running deer can be a daunting task even for experienced shooters. However, there are a few tricks, which will greatly improve your shooting performance at running deer.

There are two schools of thought on hitting running game with a high powered rifle. They are the swing through and the sustained lead.

Swinging through the deer is the same as swinging a shotgun at a flying bird. The hunter moves the cross-hairs through the target and squeezes the trigger when the cross-hairs pass the intended target.

Sustained lead is just that. The hunter leads the deer with his cross-hairs and hopes the deer runs into the bullet. Unfortunately, this rarely works out.

A rifleman with a good swing is about 5 times more successful at hitting running game than one using the sustained lead method.

Here’s how to master the swing:

Mounting the Rifle

One common mistakes most hunters make is properly mounting the rifle. The tendency is to bring the butt of the rifle up to your shoulder. The butt of the rifle can easily get hung-up on our heavier hunting jacket making it difficult to get a consistent mount. It’s best to practice pushing the rifle away from your body and then bringing it straight back to the shoulder. Good shooter practice their mount before they go to the range.

Gripping the Rifle

Learning to mount your rifle properly will ensure a good solid anchor of the rifle to your shoulder. Equally important is learning how to properly grip the forearm. A good shooter will extend their index finger and aline it with the barrel. Where the finger points, the barrel also points. This makes it a lot easier to follow the deer with the muzzle.

Trigger Pull

A good trigger pull will greatly improve your shooting at all game, moving or not. Factory triggers tend to be stiff, have excessive pull or both. A hunter should never have to force the trigger. If you have to put too much pressure on the trigger or there is too much slop in the pull, you’re likely to slow or even stop your swing causing a miss. The rifle should go off easily when the hunter wants it to. I like my hunting trigger to be crisp, with a pull between 2 and 3 pounds. Any gunsmith can help you adjust your trigger to the proper pull.

Swing and Follow Through

A good swing and follow through is a lot like playing baseball. The batter keeps his eye on the ball and doesn’t stop his swing when he hits the ball. He follows through. Likewise, a batter has to time his swing to make contact with the ball. If he gets excited and swings too fast or too slow, he’ll miss the ball all together. These same principle apply to shooting.

Our natural tendency is to stop the swing once the rifle goes off. This inevitably causes our shot to land behind the deer. If we swing too fast or try to speed up our swing, we’ll shoot in front of the deer. Practicing your swing and follow through is essential if you want to become an accomplished shot at running game.

It’s best to keep the rifle moving at the same speed as the deer and slowly increase the speed of the muzzle and squeeze the trigger when the cross-hairs pass through the deer.

Just like a batters focus is on the ball and not the bat, our focus should always be on the deer not the cross-hairs. If we shift our focus between the deer and the cross-hairs, our swing will be erratic and we’ll miss.

Hitting running deer isn’t easy. It never is. However, if you follow these four simple tricks, you’ll greatly improve your odds at hitting the running buck.



Monday, November 11, 2013

Look for secondary food sources

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails
Don’t focus all of your attention on primary food plots. While we see a lot of does and smaller bucks in the fields at dawn and dusk, the big bucks will tend to visit these locations only under the cover of darkness.

We are better of finding secondary food sources such as mast crops in heavier cover. Bucks often go to mast before entering the primary food source. Look for acorns, apples, berries, honeysuckle, and other soft browse in your area.



Friday, November 8, 2013

Stuck in a Rut

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Nearly every time hunters are successful, they think they have discovered a "Gold Mine" for hunting trophy bucks.

We tend to over hunt an area or over use a tactic to the point where we are educating the buck as to our presence. Wary, old bucks learn to pattern hunters better then hunters learn to pattern wary, old bucks.

Once a good deer is located, avoid hunting him until conditions are perfect. Even then, we should avoid approaching the stand from the same direction every time we hunt. It’s best to change things around a bit and keep that buck on his toes or hoofs.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shy Old Bucks

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
A lot of hunters don’t realize that, as a buck matures, his core area often shrinks. A big bucks living quarters can be as small as 150 acres or 1/4 square mile. Theses are small sections of land which receive little or no human contact. Oddly, a lot of these secluded tracts are near heavily populated areas. All that’s required is feed, cover, and little human interference.
Bucks which inhabit these areas have become experts at avoiding human contact. They are skittish and wary. The good news is-these bucks generally try to return to these secluded patches of cover daily, even during the rut.
Once you’ve located a bucks core area, the best way to hunt him is to stay with his does and wait for him to make an appearance. Since these shy old bucks tend to check their does at night, some careful scouting will be required. I like to setup between the buck and his does and as close to his core area as possible without disturbing it.


Monday, November 4, 2013

It might not be the best place to hunt

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Rubs and scrapes are the easiest buck sign to spot. While finding these signs is exciting, it might not be the best place to place a stand.

Whitetail deer are crepuscular. Crepuscular animals are most active during twilight: both at dawn and dusk. This makes complete sense. Bucks feed most heavily a few hours after sunset and again right before dawn and are making most of their rubs and scrapes at those times. That’s why we see the heaviest concentration of this sign near crop fields.

Most hunters place their stands right there-where the most sign is. The problem is the buck usually does reach this spot until well after shooting hours has expired. We are better off placing our stand 300 to 400 yards away from the preferred food source and intercepting the on his why to feed. This will require a little careful backtracking on your part, but it will greatly improve your chances on a big buck.


Friday, November 1, 2013

It's About the Does

Apple Creek Whitetails Picture
What’s most important to remember about the rut, is that it’s about the does not the bucks. The doe will only be in heat for about 24 hours. If you miss that opportunity, you missed your opportunity. The short answer to hunting the rut is; do what the bucks are doing, hunt doe groups.

Learn More Now

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Making Changes

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Time and again I run into hunters who are looking for success or are just plain waiting for success to find them. They dream of harvesting a trophy buck, but they just don’t know how to get started. It’s like the "big buck" is barely out of their reach. They are waiting for a break-through or a new and unique product that will revolutionize their hunting world. They have the misconception that if they can just hang in there long enough success will find them. Sadly, it rarely works this way. The truth is, waiting for success to find you is like waiting to be struck by lightning. The odds are it won’t happen.

We must be willing to change ourselves and the way we hunt if we expect to change our results. I hope that you will join me as I uncover the truth about trophy hunting, what it takes to achieve consistent success.

Read More Here

Monday, October 28, 2013

The General Season is Here

Apple Creek Photo
Imagine yourself taking the biggest buck of you life this fall. Can you feel the excitement, the thrill?
With the general deer season just around the corner, you'll want all the information you can get to ensure success this fall.
That's why I wrote "BUCK NAKED, The Straight Dope on Trophy Whitetails". I want to help you to become a more successful hunter.
You can purchase a copy of my book from Amazon.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Who you hunt with....

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with.
And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes.
And the changes are what you become.
Change the outcome by changing who you hunt with..
The fastest way to become a better hunter is to start hanging out with better hunters.
You’ll only be as good as the average of your 5 best hunting friends. Maybe you should make some new hunting friends?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Estrus Bleats

Photo courtesy Apple Creek Ranch
I have heard a lot of does bleat during the rut; the vast majorities were yearlings experiencing their first breeding season. The poor little darlings don’t know what to expect. All they know is that the buck keeps coming for them relentlessly. They feel the urge of blood calling to blood and they’re scared to death.
The doe leads the buck into thick cover in an effort to escape him, not to find a cozy place where they can be alone.
As hunters we often try to impose noble human attributes to the animals we hunt. But there is nothing noble or gentlemanly about a whitetail buck, especially during the rut.
The estrus bleat is truly a rape bleat. The young doe is panicked. This sound is worth imitating because when an old buck hears this sound, he’ll know that some other buck is up to no good. He will think another buck is tending a young doe and will come in and attempt to steal the doe.


Monday, October 21, 2013

The Lifeblood of Hunting

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Of all the skills you can learn to be more successful, scouting is by far the single most valuable skill you could ever master.
Although it seems a daunting task, scouting is one of the easiest and fastest skills to master. It’s also one of the most misunderstood skills.
In fact, if you are a hunter or thinking about becoming one, you will need to develop your scouting skills, and fast. Don’t for even a minute start thinking your hunting style is different and you will never have to do any real scouting.
Your success in hunting will depend directly on your ability to scout deer effectively.
Scouting is the life-blood from which all your hunting dreams and goals are accomplished. So how can you learn to scout better without working so hard at it?
Good Luck and Good Hunting,
Advanced Scouting Skills Here

Friday, October 18, 2013

The 7 Deadly Sins of Whitetail Hunting

The 7 Deadly Sins of Whitetail Hunting

1) Lack of Scouting

The number one cause for failure in whitetail hunting is the lack of scouting. The second greatest cause for failure in whitetail hunting is not knowing what to look for while scouting. Proper scouting is for more than just seeing big deer. We must learn to differentiate between deer sign left by does and deer sign left by bucks. Furthermore, we must be able to differentiate average buck sign from exceptional buck sign.

2) Lack of Scent Control

Too often hunters enter the field with little regard to their scent. Scent control requires more than simply wearing clean unscented clothing. We must be aware of wind direction at all times and how the morning and evening thermals drift our scent through the forest. Cover scents are nice, but seldom do they put venison in the freezer.

3) Lack of Awareness

We must stay focused on the task at hand. If we allow our thoughts to drift elsewhere, when the buck shows we won’t be ready. Hunting trophy deer often involves many hours of boredom. Keeping our minds in the now is crucially important. One way to help accomplish this is to focus on our breathing whenever we find our thoughts wandering away from the hunt.

4) Lack of Shooting Proficiency

Practice, practice, practice. We should be so familiar with our bow or rifle that shooting it and shooting it accurately is second nature to us. A hunter fiddling around with a weapon he is unfamiliar with has saved the lives of more big bucks than just about anything else.. Our focus needs to be on seeing dear. The shooting should be automatic.

5) Lack of Whitetail Knowledge

Deer are not people. We tend to attribute human characteristics to the deer. Unfortunately, deer view the world completely different than humans do. An understanding of how deer react to different stimulus is critical. We need to understand both a deer’s physical needs and which type of habitats deer prefer.

6) The Inability to Adapt to Changes in Deer Behavior

Nothing in nature is static. Everything is in constant flux. Weather and wind direction can change rapidly. A food source that was available weeks ago has now dried up. We must constantly evaluate changes in the environment which affect deer behavior and adjust our strategies and tactics to adapt to the current situation.

7) Lack of True Intent

Odds are you will only harvest a buck as big as what you are willing to settle for. Hunters with a good visual image of the buck they want generally harvest bigger bucks. Simply stated, everyone wants a big buck, but if you’re willing to settle for less that’s what you’ll get.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Apple Creek Whitetails
There’s only one rut. That being when the does are receptive to the bucks.

Simply put, the rut takes place each fall over a couple of week period. Within that period, there is a narrow 4 to 6 day window where the majority of the does, let’s say 80%, are bred.

When a doe is experiencing her special moment, there will be bucks around. Usually there are several bucks hanging around.

Remember, if you are not seeing bucks, then you need to be looking where the action is.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hunt Rub Lines

I prefer hunting over rub lines as opposed to scrape lines. First off, bucks make rubs, does don’t. Secondly, bucks rub trees for three months each fall, while ground scrapes are limited to a few of weeks during the rut. Thirdly, scrape lines almost always follow rub lines. You can take it to the bank. Most important, it is far easier to tell the potential size of a buck from a rub than from a scrape.

I’m looking for a tree with a rub length of 24 " or more.

Hunting rubs is more effective earlier in the fall before the urgency of the rut sets in.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Antler Rattling

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Rattling is most effective immediately prior to and immediately after the prime rutting period. Even though I’ve rattled and several whoppers, it’s not my favorite method of calling. Horn rattling can be a little too aggressive for the more timid big buck.

Big bucks are increasingly wary in areas where a lot of hunters are pounding antlers together. However, in areas with little hunting pressure it is still one of the most effective ways to harvest a big buck. Just remember the buck always approaches from downwind in hopes of catching the scent of the bucks he believes are fighting. It’s important to have a good shooting lane downwind from your rattling position.

I begin by crashing the antlers together. Then I twist and work the antlers together in an effort to imitate the sounds of two bucks sparring. My entire rattling sequence only lasts about 15 seconds. I try not to rattle more than once every 10 to 15 minutes because the last thing I want is a buck to catch me rattling. It’s happened more than once and every time the results have been less than desirable.

Today, I rely more on bleat calls and grunt calls. I still carry rattling horns with me, but use them more as a last ditch effort.

Many times I’ll have a big buck approaching my stand and for no good reason at the last minute he’ll turn and walk out of range. As soon as he is out of sight, I’ll crash the antlers together for a few seconds. Often, if the buck is not on a hot doe’s trail, he’ll immediately return to investigate and I’ll be waiting.
More on Rattling

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hunting the Transition Period

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Throughout July and August the bucks have been coming out into the crop fields like clockwork. Sometime around the first week of September we’ll notice the first shreds of velvet coming off the larger buck’s antlers. Within a day or two, buck we’ve been watching all summer seems to vanish into thin air.
The fact is, the bucks are still there, but will now become very secretive until the rut is in full swing. A lot of hunters call this the "Transition Period". It is the time of the year when testosterone levels in the buck begin to rise and they try to establish a pecking order. Adolescent bucks begin to challenge the older deer, much in the same way that adolescent human males challenge old men. Big bucks are wary and timid by nature and generally give the younger bucks some space, preferring to save their energy for the rutting season. The bucks are becoming more nocturnal, more solitary, and sometimes move off to different food sources altogether. The comradery and friendship of the bachelor group has vanished, not the deer.

For those of you who have been patterning a big buck with the hopes of arrowing him in the coming archery season, the race is on. If you don’t stick him before the velvet comes off you will more than likely have to re-patterned him. Sitting on the edge of a crop field after the velvet comes off is hit and miss at best. Remember you’re only going to get one, maybe two shots at it before shift happens.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,

Learn More

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stand Placement

Apple Creek Whitetails Picture
Morning stands are generally more productive than evening stands. With the exception of early-season hunting in mountainous terrain. In those instances an evening stand at the base of the mountain is for more productive since it utilizes the evening air thermal direction.
For the rest of the season morning stands rule. I try to keep my stand on the highest ground possible. There is more deer activity in the bottom lands during daylight hours, but the danger of the daytime air thermals lifting your scent and spreading it for several hundred yards in all directions is just too great. Always opt for a stand high on the ridge.

Throughout most of the United States the prevailing wind direction comes out of the southwest. Approaching from the east keeps us from stinking the whole place up before we even start to hunt. I like to keep my stand, whether it’s a tree stand or a ground blind, on the eastern side of the funnel for the same reasons.

It’s hard to find a perfect set up, but the basic principles of wind direction, undetected approach and concealment hold true no matter where you hunt. Having the prevailing wind in your face and an undetected approach to the stand are crucial for consistent success.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,




Thursday, October 3, 2013

Deer Calling Tips

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Unfortunately, most hunters calling efforts only succeed in educating the deer to their presence. Consequently, the deer become increasingly wary and cautious in their response to calls. Rattling has been so overdone in some sections that when a buck hears the horns come together he instinctively runs in the other direction. Who could blame him? If every time he hears antlers crashing he bumps into a hunter, he’ll soon figure out what’s up.
Most hunters called too often and too loud. Remember, were not trying to seduce some sex starved bimbo. We are only trying to stimulate an instinctive response within the deer.
I called very sparingly, no more than once every 15 min. to half an hour. I’m trying to peque a deer’s curiosity, not running out of the county.
For detailed instructions on how to effectively call deer, read the book Buck Naked; The Straight Dope on Trophy Whitetails.
Good Luck and Good Hunting,
Learn More

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Taking Advantage of the Buttonhook

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Big bucks have the nastiest habit of looping back on their own trails in order to see if anything is following them. I only had to be button hooked by big bucks a kajillion times before I figured out what they were up to.

Eventually and with some reluctance on my part, I discovered if I paralleled the deer’s trail 30 to 40 yards on the downwind side I had a much greater chance of intercepting him. It doesn’t work every time, nothing does, but for a change I was putting the odds in my favor.

The first time I tried this technique I killed a big 4 x 4 buck lying in his bed at seven yards. He was watching his back trail, expecting to catch me following him and was totally unaware of my presence until it was too late. I’ve been able to trail and harvest several big bucks over the years with this technique.

You can learn more about this and other techniques in my new book, Buck Naked; The Straight Dope on Trophy Whitetails. Available in bookstores and on the Internet.

Good Luck and Good Hunting,
Get the Book Here

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Buck Analytics for Dummies (Part 4) The Rut

This is where analytics can really help your hunting. I run two separate analysis. One for bucks and another for does.

Food is the major concern for both bucks and does prior to the rutting period. Once the rut starts, the bucks are more interested in sex than in food. However, the does primary interest is still in feeding and that’s where we want to begin.

Focus on primary feeding areas and the travel routes between them and the bedding areas.

I like to transfer my doe map onto clear plastic Mylar. (This map includes: travel routes, feeding areas, bedding areas, etc.) Next I transfer my buck map to Mylar. Lastly, I layer these two clear Mylar maps onto a fresh map.

I’m looking for where the buck and does patterns overlap. To be exact, I’m looking for where their daytime travel routes overlap. When in doubt, I always lean towards where the does are, as the bucks will be following them.

Wind direction is key here. Not only the wind direction at your stand, but also the wind direction as it effects your travel route to the stand.

As always, I’m asked about the timing of the rut.

The answer is simple, the rut will occur the exact same time as it did last year. Which is the exact same time it occurred the year before that and so on.

Using analytics in this way greatly increase your odds of being where the deer want to be before they get there.

Good luck,

Get the Book Now

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Buck Analytics for Dummies (Part 3)

Identifying Deer Preferences through Micro Segmentation

Micro segmentation identifies each individual deer’s preferences, needs, and behaviors. In order to get down to the individual deer level, it’s necessary to score the individual deer and set location where we might intercept that deer. I score my deer and stand locations on a 1-5 scale based on

  • Recency: How recent are my deer sightings? ("1" can be a year ago; "5" can be two days ago)
  • Frequency: How frequently does he visit? ("1" can be once a week; "5" can be every other day)
  • Environmental; What environmental considerations need to met? ("1" can be any travel funnel: "5" an be a funnel with an active primary food source near by)

It’s important to establish scores which weights all factor equally: You don’t distinguish the value of one of the three measurements from the others.

For example, if a deer scores low in every measure, you would give him a score like 1-1-1. If they’re high on the frequency score, you would get something like this 1-4-1. As you an see; the first buck has a total score of 3 and the second buck has a score of 6, making the second buck twice as likely to be encountered.

Scoring allows us to weigh each deer on each day and enhance our hunting odds by focusing on relationships and not just on deer sightings. This can only be effective if we remain neutral in applying scores.

We call this making a decision tree. Decision trees show the open and interpretable patterns which were discovered. This enables us to target individual deer and locations that are relevant in real time. We can determine the right deer to pursue and how to pursue him.

We can use deer analytics to gain deeper insights into deer behavior, but only in areas with little or no hunting pressure.

More on deer analytics





Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Buck Analytics for Dummies (Part 2)

Segmenting Data

The days of "stay and pray" hunting may be over. Segmenting allows us to layer and group like data to reduce the number of unproductive days in the field and to select the most likely places to hunt on any given day.

Things to consider when segmenting data are:

1) deer density

2) feed and bedding locations

3) daytime travel corridors

4) location of licking branches

5) weather patterns ( including barometric pressure, wind direction, humidity)

6) date

Visualizing Results

Hunters need to make decisions - and fast. Transforming these predictable insights into visuals is critical in making key decisions quickly and effectively.

Segmenting your hunting intelligence is essential because it allows you to quickly see

  • Underlying reasons for the deer’s actions
  • Relationships between data collected
  • What-if situations in real time
  • If new locations will be productive

For example:

There are three funnels on a piece of land I hunt. I have set trail cameras near licking branches on all three funnels.

Camera 1 has pictures of several deer and images of a monster buck. Problem; The buck comes through only hours after dark.

Camera 2 has pictures of deer, but the majority of these pictures are on sunny days with the wind

blowing from the southwest.

Camera 3 has pictures of deer on rainy days with a north wind.

Most hunters would hunt the funnel where camera 1 is located and pray the buck will show during shooting hours. By analyzing all the data, the smart hunter would pick one of the other funnels and hunt when the weather conditions are most favorable to see deer during the day. Remember that during thee rut, the bucks are doing exactly what you are doing. They are hunting other deer.

Behavioral data (frequency where we see deer) is good place to start segmenting. But in order to get a complete view of the deer in your area you’ll need to incorporate environmental data as well.
More on segmenting deer data

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Buck Analytics for Dummies (Part 1)

Buck analytics is a method of turning data into insights which will allow us to better predict deer behavior. It helps the hunter to segment this data, uncover hidden patterns, and to make optimal decisions on where and when to hunt. The challenge is to figure out what data is useful and what should be ignored.

Turning data into predictable insights includes:

  • Finding the ideal buck to hunt.
  • Locating the ideal stand location.
  • Optimizing your valuable hunting time.
  • Increasing your success rate on big bucks.

Today hunters can find all of the data they need to dramatically improve their hunting success. There are harvest reports from wildlife departments, satellite images from outer space, and trail cameras. Our ability to gather data has changed the way we hunt forever.

While gathering data has become relatively easy, segmenting that data can be difficult. Start by defining what you want to achieve through analytics. What will have the biggest impact on your hunting? Is your focus on finding new locations to hunt or are you trying to determine how to better hunt an existing location? Perhaps your biggest concern is limit unproductive days? The questions you ask yourself up-front will narrow the amount of data you’ll need for any scenario.

More on Buck Analytics

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Buck Communication Hot-Line

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Most communication between mature deer is through the use of scent. Every hunter knows about scrapes and some even understand their importance in buck hierarchy. While scrapes are important, they don’t start showing up until immediately before the rut. This leaves us wondering where the bucks are the rest of the year.
While all scrapes are used to communicate a bucks presence to other bucks, all scrapes are not equal. The scrapes which are most important are the ones with a well used "licking branch" above them. These are the scrapes which will be visited by several bucks.
The most important roll of scrapes to a hunter is in helping him to locate these "licking branches".
To a deer, a licking branch has more meaning than a scrape. Bucks use "licking branches" throughout the entire year. Licking branches hold scent better than scrapes. Urine deposited in scrapes dissipates quickly. Pre-orbital scent on licking branches stays considerably longer.
One way to really get the a buck’s attention is to remove a licking branch from one area and place it over a scrape in an area where you plan to hunt. It won't take long for the bucks to notice an intruder is in their area.
Licking branches get way more attention than scrapes.
Get the book here!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Early Season Stand Placement

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
There’s an old saying, "When the velvet comes off, the brains go in." By now the majority of bucks have shed their velvet and are entering the transition period between summer hangouts and the rut.

Bucks who were as predictable as clock work have seemed to vanish. Bachelor groups are now breaking up and the bucks are establishing a pecking order.

Early season hunting is not as productive as it will be when the weather cools and the rut kicks in. Early in the fall, stand placement is critical for success.

This time of year I do most of my hunting in the afternoon. It’s just too easy to spook deer while trying to get to your stand in the early morning. I focus on feed and place my stand between bedding areas and the primary food source.

Big deer like to enter a field on a inside corner and this is an excellent place to place a stand. Mature bucks are always the last to come into a food source. Often the bigger deer don’t show until it is too late to shoot, for that reason, I prefer to place my stand a 100 to 200 back form the inside corner of a food plot.

I like my stands high and 20 feet above the ground works real good at keeping your scent above the deer. Be sure to hunt only when wind direction is favorable. You don’t want your scent blowing towards the trail where the buck will becoming or blowing directly towards deer feeding. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been busted by my scent drifting down on feeding does.



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lost Connection

The vast majority of people on this contentment have lost all connection with the earth. They think food comes from a grocery store. They have never raised wheat, grown a vegetable garden, plucked a chicken, or shaved a pig. They have lost connection to where food comes from.

There is a lot more to hunting than killing a deer. The biggest part of hunting is to provide food. Few of us can actually process a deer into eatable meat.

My friends at Deer Dummy have produced a great video on how to properly butcher a deer. I only wish this video had come out years ago when I first started hunting. It sure would have saved a lot of wasted time.

Become a complete hunter and learn how to process your own venison. I can promise you that venison you cut and wrap yourself tastes better.

Be sure to visit deerdummy.com and order your copy of “follow the bone deer cutting” today.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Three Most Important Qualities

The Three Most Important Qualities a Hunter Can Possess

I believe the three most important qualities and abilities a hunter can possess are:

1. An understanding of one's self (self-mastery)

2. An understanding of the nature of deer

3. An understanding of how to carry out a real investigation

We will manage the hunt by first mastering ourselves. There’s a world of difference between mastery and control. The average hunter will attempt to establish his self-importance by controlling his environment. The more experienced hunter may actually have more difficulty practicing proper scouting techniques than a relative novice. He may think he’s seen it all and thus will miss subtle but essential changes in a deer’s behavior. Thinking we "know it all" is the kiss of death in hunting. We must lose our ego and look at everything with fresh eyes. That’s where the novice has it over the seasoned veteran.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Your first mistake might be assuming deer are rational

Your second mistake could be assuming that hunters adapt to changes in environment quickly.

And the hunter’s third mistake is assuming that once they learn a strategy, they will be able to apply it.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stooge Hunting

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
The Three Stooges have impulse control issues.
It’s not that they are stupid, slow, or even dimwitted.  No, the problem with the Stooges is they do whatever comes to mind without any thought of the consequences.  They slap, poke and stumble their way through life. They never consider the outcome of a project, they just do it.
Stooge hunting is much the same. It’s what happens when hunters when hunters do what feels right in the short term without thinking of the alternatives or implications. It’s due to boredom, fear, or lack of focus.
Nearly every hunt gone awry is the result of Stooge hunting. We aren’t thinking of long term success just the satisfaction of immediate impulses. We would do better if we didn’t act like Stooges.
Look at the BIG picture. Short term thinking often leads to dead ends and failed hunts.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Staying Flexible in a Changing Hunting Environment

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails
Think of yourself as stretchable, expandable, and able to adapt to anything new. Who wants to view themselves as static, inflexible, and unable to adapt? Changes in the hunting environment are unpredictable, and we will be asked to adapt to changes we never anticipated.

When changes occur it’s best to think ahead, but not too far ahead. Instead of abandoning our efforts, focus on changes we can make in the immediate future. I mean think of how you can get ahead of the deer, not next time, but right NOW!

The most important strategy for staying flexible during change is to prepare for various change scenarios. If we create a plan for each possible set of change circumstances, we are prepared to engage change in any way that affects us in the field.



Thursday, August 29, 2013

SHH! A Little Known Secret About Attracting Monster Bucks

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
I want to share with you a little known secret on attracting Big Bucks.


If you really want to put your buck into a tizzy, try making a mock scrape. Dig up the dirt from a scrape in a different location and place it in the scrape you’re hunting over. Be sure to use scent-free gear and a shovel. Dig down about six inches and transport the dirt in a clean plastic bag. Empty this dirt into your hunting scrape and your buck will perceive this as an intrusion by another buck. He’ll begin refreshing this scrape in earnest. This is most effective in the pre-rut, before the bucks are on the does.

Learn more about scrape hunting

Realizing why scrapes are made, and how deer use them to communicate with each other will help boost your hunting to a higher level.


Monday, August 26, 2013

The Truth About Luck?

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Luck has been in my corner since day I shot my first whitetail buck.

I was extraordinarily lucky to be born in Idaho into a lower-middle class family with six children.

I was lucky enough to have parents, who worked hard for very little money, which has given me a good work ethic.

I was lucky to grow up in a time when hunting was a necessity, not a luxury. And boy was I lucky to have went to grade school with patches on my knees. 

I've also been lucky to make friends with some of the best hunters in America. Lucky to have a father that would rather be hunting or fishing than at work.

What about your luck? Have you lucked out and been fortunate to have gone through similar struggles? Have you been given the inspiration to hunt harder than ever?

I can only hope you've been as lucky as I have over the years. And the old saying is true, you know, "The harder I work, the luckier I get".

You can greatly increase your luck by learning from my mistakes and getting a copy of my book, Buck Naked.

Grab a copy TODAY

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Houdini Effect

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Bucks seem to appear out of nowhere and vanish into thin air. It’s so common, we expect it. Houdini couldn’t preform such magic or could he?

The magic isn’t in the buck’s movement. In reality, it’s a problem within our own minds. Understanding how we see and what we don’t see can greatly improve your hunting success.  More often than not, the deer moved in plain sight. We just failed to see it.

A deer’s eyes are on the sides of its head to help in the detection of movement. Our eyes are located on the front of our faces to ad in depth perception and focus. However, we are only able to achieve sharp focus in about 1/1000th of our entire field of vision. Everything outside of our center of vision becomes blurry and darkened. It’s a loophole in our brain and the deer take advantage of it. This ability to focus keeps us from seeing a lot of what’s going on around us.  It’s the same tactic magicians use to fool us with “sleight of hand” tricks.

Let me explain:

Have you ever seen the magician’s trick where he hides a ball under one of three cups? Quickly, he moves the cups around and we are to guess which cup the ball is under. We get it wrong almost every time. While we focused on the cup the ball was originally under, the magician slides the ball to another cup. We missed it. This happens because our minds have trained our eyes to focus on objects and not on the gaps between objects.

Humans focus in extremely high resolution. This leaves our peripheral vision capable of only low resolution.  Our minds can only focus on one thing at a time. We draw associations of where we expect the deer to appear or re-appear, when the buck doesn’t show where we expected, we sharpen our focus and miss any movement in our peripheral vision. A lot of this movement is in plain sight, believe it or not. An enhanced field of vision is an illusion.

The more we concentrate our focus, the less we see in our peripheral view, and the more action we miss. This tendency to focus on objects, rather than the gaps between objects, is called unintentional blindness.

As hunters, our eyes focus on trees, rocks, and limbs. We wait for a deer to appear and miss a lot of going on in the gaps. Those gaps are where the deer are moving.  We just missed it. The brown color of the deer just makes its escape easier.

Try not to let your mind see what it expects to see. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll see, if can lose this concentration and become more aware of everything around you. It doesn’t matter if you are still hunting, tracking or stand hunting, if you ease up on your concentration and instead look into the gaps, you’ll see a lot more deer.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Make the buck hear more than one deer

Apple Creek Whitetail Photograph
During the rut it’s natural for a buck to hear the sounds of more than one deer. After all it takes two to tango. I like to carry one grunt call and two different bleat calls with me while hunting. This gives the illusion of there being more than one receptive doe in the area. Giving least three bleats to every grunt has worked best for me. Remember does don’t estrous bleat to sound their receptiveness, they bleat when they are trying to flee an overly aggressive buck.
In the end the tool that takes most deer is patience.
More on calling deer


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Keep the Sun at Your Back

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails
Always approach deer or place your stand where the sun is at your back. A face bathed in sunlight is just too easy to be seen by the buck. I often use one stand for morning hunts and another for evening hunts to take advantage of the suns angle.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Look for Easy Travel Routes

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Big bucks prefer to travel the easy way. Often they will follow a trail or abandoned logging road. When standing over a road or trail always set up on a curve. Deer can’t see around the bend and will often be in range when he comes into view.

More on travel routes

Friday, August 16, 2013

Rattle Downhill from Bucks when Possible

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Bucks like the advantage of being on the uphill side of a sparring match. Giving the buck a path to respond to rattling which allows him to come in from an uphill location will greatly increase your chances of calling. Be sure to avoid any obstructions the buck won’t want to go around. Ledges, large blow downs and the like often discourage a buck from coming in.


More on rattling deer here

Monday, August 12, 2013

Aggressive Calling Rarely Works

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Overly aggressive calling has saved more bucks lives than just about anything else. Aggressive calling is only used when bucks are a long ways off. The buck has to hear your call in order to respond.
If a good buck is responding to your call, shut-up. If he stops or hesitates, try a few subtle calls. A few doe bleats will often get a buck that is hung-up to begin to move in your direction again. Don’t get forceful with your calling until all else has failed.

Learn more about calling here

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bucks on Does are Tough Customers

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Most bucks will not leave a doe to respond to calling. Try calling in areas where more than one buck is present or in funnels where the lone buck feels comfortable traveling during daylight hours.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Don’t Call in Open Areas

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

If you don’t have a decoy, calling where the buck can see everything is useless. You have to give the buck a reason why he can’t see the deer that’s calling, or he won’t be comfortable coming in. always take full advantage of the cover and vegetation in your area.


Get the Naked Truth on Whitetails here

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Keep Your Head Down

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

Avoid lifting your head to get a better look at the deer. The sudden appearance of your face usually gets instant attention. Wait until the deer comes into your view if possible. If you just have to see, it’s best to look around objects and not over them.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Take Careful Shots

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo

Too often a buck will come in from behind you. Be patient and don’t take shots at an extreme angle. A missed shot and your chances of seeing that deer again will go to slim to none instantly.


Get your book here

Friday, August 2, 2013

Dress for Success

Apple Creek Whitetails Photo
Invest in hunting clothes that will keep you comfortable. A good camouflage pattern won’t help you if you’re freezing your buns off. I prefer to dress in layers. This way I can remove layers to keep from overheating and add layers when I’m not moving.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don’t Bet the Farm

Photo courtesy of Apple Creek Whitetails

If you’ve located a big buck close to a road with plenty of access, don’t bet the farm on him being there when the season opens. You can be sure other hunters have seen him too. While you shouldn’t over look these convenient places, your pre-season scouting should be focused on giving as many options as possible.


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