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Killing Mature Bucks.

Article By Tyler Bentley | @TylerBentley314


A wise man once told me if you can kill deer in Michigan you can kill them in any state. This statement was based solely on how difficult our deer in Michigan are to hunt here. If you are from MI or maybe PA you know exactly what I'm talking about. Our deer literally walk around with their heads and noses in the air, looking in the trees. These overpressured hyper sensitive whitetail deer will impress you with their intelligence by avoiding bait piles, mineral licks, and food plots in regular shooting hours of the day. but in the same breath that buck will run out into speeding traffic and leave you scratching your head. (This comment I hear from a lot of nonhunters really fires me up but well save that for another day. haha) back to the story.



 

It may seem like your attempting an impossible feat to even accept the challenge of holding out for a mature whitetail deer. Even tho you have had him on trail camera and he seemed pretty regular in July, August, and maybe even September. That doesn't mean jack squat to this older Michigan buck. He's been around and seen more hunters than he probably has seen other deer in his age class. His tendencies may include staying bedded in a thicket for 18+ hours a day, only moving 60-80 yards from bed for food or a quick snack, or maybe even showing up like Hollywood every night taunting you on all your trail cameras. You beating him at his own game might seem like an impossible task, without an insane amount of luck. I'm going to quote Michael Jordan's basketball coach Tim Grover: "People say 'Good luck!' in pressure situations, but you don't need luck if you're prepared. Luck is an insult if you've done the work." The success behind Killing mature bucks or deer, in general, happens in the off-season. When your hanging stands, practicing shooting your bow, etc. so I loved when I heard him say this because I truly don't factor in luck into my hunting plans.


 

All hope is not lost... hear me out. over the past 15 years of bowhunting Michigan and also out-of-state deer I've learned a thing or two that might just help you seal the deal. I'm going to make a brief list prioritized from 1-3 that I believe are the most important keys to being successful in Michigan or any high pressured state on a 3 or 4 plus year-old whitetail deer.



 


  1. Stay the Hell out. I'll explain. I own a 20-acre piece of hunting land in central Michigan, I have about 15 other neighboring parcels in my square mile block. My area is flat and has a variety of thickets mixed with some mature timber and ag fields about 50/50. I have had the opportunity to meet all the landowners in the last 3-5 years. Not all of them hunt, but most have a grandson, buddy, cousin who does. So all these parcels are being hunted. That is some serious hunting pressure from humans in the woods. So what I have learned is ONLY hunting when the conditions are 100% perfect or in my favor. 10 out of 10. Cold front, red moon, ideal wind direction, and speed. (Using an app like HuntWise or WeatherUnderground is extremely helpful in sorting this data out) These neighbors are applying the pressure, leaving scents, checking cameras, hunting continuously, educating the deer herd. I don't want to be like them. After multiple failed years of "complaining about my neighbors," I have made the change to use them to my advantage! Let them pressure the deer and push them onto what I call my "Zero Pressure property" that is manicured strictly for whitetail habitat.

  2. Strike on a weather front. I briefly mentioned this in #1 but deer weather is what controls when and why deer move. If you have hunted long enough you understand this theory fairly well. Deer love to move before and just after a rain or major weather shift. Maybe they wanna chow down on a food plot if they are going to be stuck hunkering down in a storm for a whole day.. or maybe if they didn't eat much before the storm and now they are getting up asap to go eat just after the rain has stopped. If it's raining and it's about to stop, go get your ass in the stand. There are all kinds of studies done about deers noses and how they can breathe and smell better in moist environments so this will also increase deer movement.

  3. Put Your Time In. So you got to be careful here or you're going to end up being like my neighbors. Putting your time in doesn't mean sit your favorite spots every day. Remember we're letting the other neighbors push the deer to us. Our property is a sanctuary. When I say put your time in.. here is what I mean specifically. Get to your stand 1 hour before sunrise. be set up and quiet for 40 min before that sun starts to peak. You're trying to catch that buck going back to bed so it's most likely going to be early. With that being said sometimes bucks are moving from a long way off.. let's say late October or early November. They are covering some serious ground at this point most likely a mile or more. so they might not move by your stand until noon or 2:00 PM. I mean there is no telling might be the last light of the day. How bad do you want to be successful? Pay attention to the guys who kill good bucks year after year. How many hours do they put in the stand? Pack a lunch, plan ahead your in for the long haul.


 


I truly believe that being successful on mature bucks year after year in high pressured hunting areas has more to do with your "stay-out tolerance" and new understanding that you need to be the one not applying the hunting pressure and letting the others pressure the deer to your property. Then it goes hand in hand with you being there to capitalize on that movement solely based on weather.


In closing id like to say, if you are anything like me you love to hunt. Like as much as possible, this article may come off as a buzzkill... me telling you not to hunt as often is one of the tickets to being successful. However, I do have a solution there as well. If you have the day off work or it's the weekend. You and a buddy wanna go hunt, keep the pressure off your property and go hunt some public land nearby, or maybe another piece you have permission on. You having the option of having multiple spots is another huge key to having success year after year because it allows you to not over pressure either property.


I'm no "deer genius guru" and I am definitely no expert writer/blogger either. But I had some time today and had some thoughts spooling in my mind I wanted to share with you guys rolling into this deer season. I hope some of this info helps you be successful this fall.


Side Note: Season Four of our Rise Hunt Segment Series - Airs on carbon TV October 1st, 2021. I would love for you to follow along with us as we document our journeys and hunts throughout the season and post our videos in a SEMI Live fashion for you all to follow along with us. We appreciate you guys so much and good luck this season!


-Tyler Bentley | Creator/Founder @TheRiseHunt

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