How NOT to Take an Older Age Class Buck
Wildlife and the Outdoors
How “NOT” to Take an Older Age Class Buck
Joel D. Glover, Wildlife Biologist
There is definitely no shortage of articles and stories on how to harvest a large buck. Numerous so-called experts seem to come out of the woodwork with tips and strategies to guarantee the success of the hunter who will employ their technique. Even more prevalent are those with a product or gadget that, when used properly, will no doubt bring a monster buck into your sights. Although we receive a tremendous amount of what to do information, what not to do information isn’t quite as prevalent. There are several things you can do that will help to ensure that you do not take an older age class buck. Unfortunately, many hunters have forgotten that these things should be avoided.
Probably one of the best ways not to take an older buck is to pay little or no attention to the direction of the wind. Unlike many hunters, the whitetail buck will definitely pay attention to what the wind tells him. Even when using a scent cover or elimination product, you should still consider wind direction. Many hunters today hunt from stationary stands or shooting houses. These stands are normally located to provide the best possible vantage point of the area the deer may frequent. Unfortunately, the prevailing wind direction isn’t always considered at the time of stand placement. In addition some stands are on the opposite end of the field from where the hunter approaches causing the hunter to walk through the area where he intends for the deer to emerge. This often leaves a telltale line of scent that a wary older-aged buck will avoid like the plague. Hunters should always be aware of the wind direction and do their best to avoid having their scent spread throughout the hunting area.
Exclusively hunting fields is another good way not to take an older aged buck. Hunters who consistently hunt wildlife openings may enjoy some success taking does and young bucks; however, the big boys simply don’t like to stand out in the open. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule and I’ve heard the stories of the hunter who took the Boone & Crockett trophy in the middle of a food plot at noon. Of course that has happened; however, it is not the norm. In reality, even during the rut, the larger bucks will normally check the field at a distance using the wind.
Lastly, probably the best way not to take an older age class buck is to take him while he’s young. Many hunters ask, “Where are our older age class bucks?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is often “they’ve been in your freezer for 2-3 years!” That is to say they were killed when they were one or two years old. Although not all bucks are harvested, on many properties the harvest of young bucks is enough to significantly limit the number of bucks that reach the older age classes.
So, if you pass young bucks, pay attention to the wind and don’t exclusively hunt wildlife openings you’ll start taking older bucks. Well, not exactly. Although I feel that employing those techniques will definitely increase your odds, it seems that whitetail bucks seem to grow a lot faster in wisdom than in years. After many years of hunting I have found that just about the time I have a buck figured out is about one day after he has me figured out. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer for that!
For more information, contact Joel D. Glover, Wildlife Biologist, at P.O. Box 212, Rockford, AL, 35136-0212.