3 Reasons Why You Didn’t Kill a Mature Whitetail Buck

You worked hard during the 2019/2020 deer season, hunted numerous days but still came home without a mature whitetail buck. What happened?

3 Reasons Why You Didn’t Kill a Mature Whitetail Buck

Your deer season has probably come to a close, so it’s a bit therapeutic to think about what went right — and wrong. If you didn’t tag a mature whitetail buck, why not?

Of course, it’s impossible for me to answer that question for you specifically because I’m not your No. 1 hunting partner. That said, I’ve been involved in this chess match with whitetails long enough to offer three probable suggestions.

1. You overhunted (and over-scouted) your property.

Nothing hinders deer movement more than people pressure. Period. If you traveled into your area frequently to hunt, check trail cams, etc., then chances are good that deer decided to move only after dark, or they took up residence on the neighbor’s sanctuary.

Solution? Be smarter with your hunting pressure. Consider finding another property (public if necessary) to spend at least half your time next deer season.

 

2. You underestimated a deer’s sense of smell.

We should all know better by now, but every deer season we climb into treestands and ground blinds thinking we can get away with a marginal wind. Sure, there are times when mature bucks appear downwind and we still get a close-range shot. People also win the mega lottery.

Solution? If the wind is wrong for a spot, hunt elsewhere. Don’t risk alerting deer to your presence because you just have to hunt such-and-such stand.

 

3. You missed primetime.

Perhaps commitments at work or with family prevented you from being in the stand during those magical few days when seemingly every mature buck in the forest is on his feet in pursuit of a hot doe.

Solution? Put all your eggs in the primetime basket. My buddies and I were lucky during the 2019 South Dakota deer season to arrow three mature bucks in a week (160-acre property). We stayed off the land until Halloween, then were careful to minimize our intrusions each subsequent day. We didn’t hike around looking for fresh buck sign. We placed numerous treestands in early September and then didn’t visit them again until early November. It worked.

The author (center) and his two hunting buddies arrowed South Dakota whitetails on a small private property by staying off it entirely until primetime. The buck on the left was killed November 4, the author’s buck on November 5, and the buck on the right November 7.
The author (center) and his two hunting buddies arrowed South Dakota whitetails on a small private property by staying off it entirely until primetime. The buck on the left was killed November 4, the author’s buck on November 5, and the buck on the right November 7.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


Discussion

Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.