Time on Task for Big Bucks
Dr. John Woods 12.27.19
I have many deer hunters ask me the best strategy for hunting big whitetail bucks. There are a myriad of strategies and tactics and some of them work — some all the time, and some only sometimes. The single most critical deer hunting tactic though is simple: It’s time on task.
You’ve all heard the old saying about “butts in the seat.” That’s the clue. If you want to kill a big buck, any buck, or any deer for that matter, you have to be hunting. That means sitting in a tree stand overlooking a draw, relaxing in a reclining office chair up in an enclosed shooting house, or slipping along a meandering creek following a well-used deer trail or a rub line.
What sounds on the surface to be entirely way too simple, actually isn’t. For many hunters these days, just getting a couple weekends off to prowl the whitetail woods is tough enough. Those lucky enough to hunt a week or a month, are likely in the hunting business. I just saw a deer hunting television program where one hunter spent eight days in one state, ten in another, and then he headed out to Texas for two weeks. I mean who has that kind of hunting time?
The trick though is to carve out as many hunting days as you can manage. Check life and work calendar and schedules to see where you can squeeze out time to hunt. Naturally you need as many days as possible and ideally as many in a row you can get them. Two or three or more days in a row is better than parts of random weekends.
When to hunt? Well, the best times are just before and during the rut. You know why that is. The deal is to get as much consistent time in the stand seat as possible. The more you hunt, the more you are exposed to the hunting habitat, the better are your chances of seeing more deer and that means more bucks. It is a law of averages pure and simple.
When you do get to hunt, maximize your time. That means prepare to go early, and stay late. Plan your hunts out in advance. Know where, which stands you want to hunt so there is as little confusion as possible once you get to your hunting area. Concentrate on the task and lock down your time and attitude about it. At least time on task increases your chances. After the hunt, treat your significant other to dinner and roses.