The creator poses along with his finest buck ever — a Kentucky whitetail tagged throughout the 2023 season scoring over 168 inches. (Honeycutt Inventive images)

Some hunters appear to kill massive bucks yr after yr. They’ve crushed their private finest buck time after time. And also you’re left questioning, what’s their secret?

There isn’t any one magical factor although. Persistently tagging mature bucks isn’t simple. Discovering a strategy to shoot your greatest deer ever isn’t both. Comply with this 15-step plan that can be utilized to perform the latter.

1. Discover That Buck

You possibly can’t kill a buck that isn’t there. And you’ll’t tag your finest buck ever in case you don’t discover it first. Oftentimes, essentially the most troublesome a part of taking pictures a mature buck is finding one. Discovering a deer that outscores the perfect in your wall is perhaps simple. It is perhaps troublesome. Regardless, work to discover a buck that’s your finest deer ever, and also you’ve taken a giant step in the appropriate course.

2. Move That Buck

When you’ve got a youthful deer that reveals critical potential within the antler genetic division, think about passing it for an additional yr or two. That is particularly good to do if the deer is a yr or two youthful that the age class you sometimes goal. And even when it’s a 4 ½-year-old stud, if the possibilities are good it’ll reside one other yr, hunt that buck at 5 ½. Deer could make massive antler jumps, and generally don’t develop their greatest rack till 7 ½ or 8 ½.


The creator first realized of the deer in 2021 when it was 2 ½ years previous. In 2022, the buck blossomed right into a strong 3 ½-year-old deer with numerous promise. He even had quite a few encounters with him, however elected to cross.

3. Move Different Bucks

It’s not simple to cross a 140-inch deer. Nevertheless it’s a bit of simpler when a 170-incher resides on the farm. You possibly can’t kill the largest buck on the property in case you shoot the No. 2 or 3 deer. Maintain out a bit of longer, and also you is perhaps rewarded for having endurance.

4. Be taught His Core

When you’ve homed in on a goal, study that buck’s core. Don’t invade the bedding space. You don’t wish to alert him. However do as a lot low-impact scouting as attainable. Put up some cams. Find out how the deer is utilizing and maneuvering the property.

This season, the creator labored diligently to study this buck’s core space.

5. Pour Over Apps and Maps

Trendy apps — resembling onX, HuntStand, and others — harbor highly effective instruments. Pouring over app layers and bodily maps can enormously improve the percentages of success. Finding out aerial-based layers can showcase high quality bedding areas and potential meals sources. Utilizing topography-based layers may help pinpoint key topographical options that may trace at the place a buck is bedding or utilizing as journey routes. The ability of 3D maps actually assist break down a property.

6. Discover Mattress-to-Feed Traces of Motion

Realizing the place a buck beds, eats, and the way he will get from level A to B is a serious step within the course of. For those who don’t know the place every of those are, the possibilities of intercepting it are very low. At that time, it’s principally luck.

7. Discover the Interception Level

Mature bucks develop previous as a result of they find out how and the place to reside to keep away from looking stress. It is a crucial factor in bucks reaching older age courses. Due to this, there are only a few areas inside their house vary that make them weak. Hunters should discover these spots. And often, it’s a location that entails superb entry and exit routes that preserve that you just off that buck’s radar. And, after all, these entry and exit routes should connect with a spot that buck likes to cross by throughout daylight.

8. Be Affected person

As soon as you discover that spot or two the place you suppose it’s attainable to tag that buck, don’t play your hand till the appropriate time. Be affected person. Look forward to the appropriate situations. Possibly till the primary time the buck daylights on digicam, or perhaps a chilly entrance. 

After many sightings and years of commentary, this was his remaining encounter with the “Large 12.”

9. However Strike Proper Now

Don’t wait too lengthy although. Being too passive is simply as unhealthy as, perhaps worse than being too aggressive. Strike precisely when the situations align to chase that buck. Don’t wait till the window of alternative closes.

10. Give Him the Wind

Some bucks don’t like touring with out no less than a slight wind benefit. Even when it isn’t within the buck’s nostril, it’ll use a quartering or crosswind. Discovering the stand location alongside that buck’s line of motion the place the wind is generally within the buck’s favor, however is simply off sufficient that it doesn’t scent you, might be lethal.

11. Kill Him Rapidly

For those who discover a massive deer, ready till the rut is usually a poor selection. You by no means know the place that deer will probably be, or the place it is going to go. So, in case you have a sample on the deer, tag it earlier than the rut begins in case you can.

12. Use the Rut Crutch

On the flip facet, in case you nonetheless don’t have a sample on the deer —  or in case you haven’t discovered your biggest-buck-ever goal — think about using the rut as a “crutch.” Not that the rut makes issues simpler, after all. Large, previous bucks are nonetheless good throughout the rut, however it would possibly assist.

13. Profit from His Stomach

Earlier than the rut, it’s all about meals. After the rut, it’s all about unpressured cowl, safety bedding, photo voltaic bedding, thermal bedding, and good meals. Regroup, discover these key parts, and also you simply would possibly relocate that massive goal buck.

14. Don’t Make Errors

All through the method, strive to not make errors. Large deer would possibly offer you one blunder. You would possibly even get away with two. However they will not offer you a 3rd, and generally not even one. So, be meticulous, suppose by every little thing, and attempt to do issues the appropriate approach.

15. Beat Buck Fever

When that buck steps out, be prepared. That begins earlier than the hunt and carries by the shot and restoration course of.

Set up , repeatable shot routine. Keep on with archery apply routine. Observe marksmanship on small sport. Implement correct respiratory earlier than and after the shot. Be taught to distract your self from the dimensions of the rack. Think about an awesome shot placement (earlier than sending it). Let the shot shock you. Maintain accruing in-the-field expertise. Give the buck loads of time and be good in regards to the restoration effort.

My Largest Buck Ever

This season, I shot my greatest deer ever. It was a 4 ½-year-old Kentucky buck that I had three years of historical past with. It scored 168 6/8, which surpassed my earlier better of 163 6/8. Of the above ideas, numbers 1-11 in addition to 14 and 15, all performed roles in my success for “Large 12.” I used these ideas to shoot my finest buck ever. And the nice Lord prepared, perhaps I’ll get to do it once more down the highway.

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