Every prepared bowhunter has deer on his or her hit-list that they would skip their own wedding to get a shot at, but yet 9/10 times, you never see him during shooting light. So, how can you conquer your dream buck? Get in his head. Although every buck has his own characteristics, mature bucks often share a lot of bedding, watering, and feeding habits.
Unlike immature deer, a big buck prefers to bed in a high security area. In fact, it has been proven that mature deer often bed up against large structures (logs, rocks, banks) in order to have more protection from predators.
Secondly, mature deer often change their bedding habits as the season progresses. Early on, deer will bed close to their food source because of the heat and the fact that they are still unpressured. As the season goes on and they become pressured, they often move further away from their food source to bed.
Finally, deer almost always bed facing downwind. This gives them another mode of protection from their predators.
Deer don’t just eat whatever food is most available. In fact, deer will find the most nutrient-rich food on a property, and feed there until it’s no longer available.
Mature deer usually don't feed through large open fields in shooting light. They will usually find a staging area first, where they can eat in a more secure area. Staging areas are smaller food plots, pockets of acorns, and other confined spaces that yield a food source.
Unlike small, immature deer, big bucks will often take a longer, more indirect route to a food source. This is why bigger bucks show up later than does and small bucks.
Feeding habits change. As food sources change, the deer find new sources of nutrition, which in turn also changes their travel routes and their bedding habits. Stay on top of the food sources and adjust your sets to accommodate the changes.
Deer will get up to drink several times a day. Studies have shown that deer often drink anywhere from 3-5 quarts of water every day.
Just like people, deer have to stay hydrated. The hotter the days, the more deer need to drink. So, on those hot days that you don’t even want to sit in a stand, consider sitting over a water source.
So, next time you have a booner on your hit-list, get in his head and figure him out before you sit in a stand and cross your fingers. Contact us if you have any questions, and as always, shoot straight.