As hunters, we are constantly learning more about the deer we pursue with each scouting endeavor, with every trail camera photo and with every encounter we experience. I personally think of deer hunting as a giant puzzle; the more pieces I have, the better my chances at completing the puzzle and connecting the dots, which ultimately means putting an arrow through a mature whitetail buck. The problem during Winter months, at least for me, is my lack of time to scout because of work and the distance I have to travel to the property I hunt.
A puzzle, much like deer hunting, takes time and keen attention to detail in order to put the pieces together and for everything to align. Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle in a day and succeeded? No, I’m not talking about one of those 50 piece specials that you pick up at the dollar mart. I talking about the 2,000 piece popcorn kernel marathon that takes an hour just to get two pieces to match up! Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a successful whitetail pursuit for the do-it-yourself guys.
Make sure read Part 1 of this series, Taking Post Season Inventory With Big Tine Fortified Deer Blend: Part 1 as it will help paint a better picture as to what I’m doing at this time of year.
Putting The Pieces Together
When it comes to hunting mature deer, I’ll take any legal advantage I can get in an effort to put the pieces together towards killing a trophy buck. Big Tine is another tool in the arsenal and plays a valuable role in my post season scouting. In conjunction with trail cameras, Big Tine allows me to determine which deer made it through (or didn’t make it through) the season.
I’m not going to lie – I was hoping to showcase this article with all of the monster bucks I have on camera running around my hunting property but the truth is, my trail camera pictures are less than ideal. I put the cameras out for over three weeks and have a bunch of does, small bucks, and mule deer to show for it but no big boys showed themselves.
Does this mean that my hunting property is terrible? No. Does this mean that Big Tine doesn’t work? No. What I’m learning is that the properties I hunt do not hold the same amount of deer during the Winter months as they do during the Fall. I’m slowly putting the pieces together!
The pictures are telling me that there are indeed deer in the area but I’m certainly not getting mature buck pictures. My guess is that the majority of deer are wintering elsewhere due to the fact that the bedding areas and fields on the properties are now cow pastures. It is common practice for farmers to switch pastures for cows on a seasonal basis so that they can sustain them throughout the Winter months. Long story short; if cattle are present in both major bedding and feeding areas, deer numbers on the property will decline.
It’s Better To Know Than To Wonder
My trail camera pictures were not as I had hoped but at least now I know more about Winter movement and the reasons that may be affecting the lack of deer in the area. If it weren’t for putting out Big Tine and checking the cameras, I would have never known in the first place. Its better to know – knowledge is power.
One of the highlights of my weekend endeavor, in addition to checking trail cameras, was finding a matched set of antlers in close proximity to one of Big Tine sites. This little guy is an up-and-comer with great genetics for a 1 1/2 year buck! I believe I have pictures of this guy from last Fall so it will be cool to see what he turns into as a 2-year-old.
Learn more about how I use my QuietKat as an efficient shed hunting vehicle, HERE. I also found another nice 4 point side that had been laying a while (not fresh) and I also witnessed something that I have been wanting to see for a long time. I watched the bigger mule deer buck I have on camera shed one of his antlers as he was running away! After three hours of grid searching the spot where I saw him drop in knee-high grass, I was not able to locate his shed but it was still cool to see none the less.
Never Stop Learning
I encourage you all to go out and run cameras over the top of Big Tine Fortified Deer Blend. It will not only help you discover what deer are using the properties you hunt but it will also add to your overall knowledge of deer movement and patterns. Whatever the outcome may be, it will make you a better deer hunter and will help you find the real reasons behind your results. It forces you to analyze and ask questions as to why deer are or aren’t there. And above all, it gets you outside doing what you love the most.
For more information about Big Tine Fortified Deer Blend and Attractants, please visit:
– Adam Parr