Deer hunters often wonder what is the best time to see a trophy buck. Having been an avid hunter for years and spending countless hours in the woods honing my skills, I hope to share some insights into when and under what conditions you can expect to see the biggest deer of your life.
1. As soon as you lower your gun from your treestand, and it is dangling from a rope 25' below.
2. When you get up from your ground-blind to go relieve yourself, and leave your gun behind because you tell yourself, "I'll only be a minute."
3. About 3/10 of a second after you realize you forgot to power off your cell phone.
4. The only time in your life you have ever felt the uncontrollable urge to cough, sneeze, or toot in the woods.
5. At the exact moment your hunting buddy walks up to meet you at your treestand. (This happened to my brother last week.)
6. After watching and listening to a gray squirrel scamper around beneath you for 30 minutes you decide to throw a stick at it to scare it away. Only this time when you look down, it isn't the squirrel.
7. Immediately after you convince yourself it is too dark to see, and you need to come down from your stand. Stand up, turn around, and he will be 10 yards behind you.
8. You want to practice poking your gun out the window of the shooting house just to see what it will be like when the big buck comes out.
9. After not seeing a single deer on the coldest day of your life, the noise of your vehicle door opening spooks him out of his bed 10 yards from you.
10. October 14 and February 1 (if you are in Alabama).
11. In the back of a truck that is carrying any 7 year old girl who is out hunting for the first time or a city-slicker who doesn't understand why people like deer hunting, but decided to go with a friend anyway.
12. While you are checking that pride-swelling button buck you just downed.
13. Other notable times include: when your scope or binoculars fog up, just as you try your new game call, in your neighbor's back yard, if the chamber on your rifle is empty, or on the day you forgot to bring the release for your bow.
Perhaps you were expecting some information about barometric pressure, moon phases, ideal temperatures, or perfect scent conditions. None of that stuff really matters unless you want to film a hunt for the Outdoor Channel. All you need to do is be prepared when you least think you will see a big buck, and he will appear. It seems counter-intuitive, but here is the real nugget from this article: When nothing exciting seems to be happening in the woods around you, that is probably when "old mossy horns" is going to walk past your stand. Reflect on that next time you're in the woods instead of getting up to stretch. You'll probably see more deer, and you're less likely to drop your binoculars from 30' to the cold ground below.
Most of these "tips" are based on personal experience or on stories related by some of my other "field pro-staff" friends and relatives. The point of hunting is simply spending time in the woods. I learn or see something new almost every time I venture outdoors. Get out there and make some memories with your kids or so that you'll have your own tales to add while sitting around the campfire. Feel free to add any other "tips" you've learned in the comment section below.