I’m excited today to introduce one of our newest contributors, Dan Infalt. Dan is a true master of hunting big bucks, and his unique ability to find and kill mature bucks on public ground and in highly pressured areas has garnered him quite a following. Dan has shared his expertise through the forums on his website TheHuntingBeast.com and in two DVDs, Hunting Marsh Bucks and Hill Country Bucks. Both videos are terrific educational resources, and the insight that Dan has shared on his website has been instrumental in accelerating many hunters’ learning curves, including those of a number of guys on the Wired To Hunt pro staff. With all that said, I know that we’ll all have plenty to learn from Dan, so dig in and take notes! – Mark Kenyon
By Dan Infalt
A lot of hunters seem to be in the mindset that if they are seeing lots of deer it’s just a matter of time before they get a crack at a mature buck. What really amazes me, is how many guys do this every year with very little success on mature bucks, and just think they are unlucky.
It has been said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results …
Some people claim they are unlucky. Another common phrase is “I would rather be lucky than good”. Let me assure you, when it comes to consistently killing big bucks “luck” has little to do with it..
From my years of big buck slaying I have learned that hunting the typical run ways, funnels, food sources, rub lines, scrapes, and other heavy deer sign typically gets you cracks at young bucks, or lots of “deer”.
Mature bucks are almost like hunting a different kind of animal. Expecting to shoot a big buck while “deer” hunting is like expecting to shoot a pheasant while rabbit hunting. I get a lot of strange looks when I tell people that I hunted 2 weeks straight and only saw one deer, or none. However, a high percentage of the ones I do see are big.
Big bucks are generally loners. They don’t tolerate other bucks, and other deer generally avoid them. I have shot the overall majority of my big bucks by hunting spots with very little sign. The sign that I do find however, is from mature animals. Big tracks are usually a good sign. Not heavy beaten trails with lots of little tracks. One big track going back and forth is the best sign to me.
Another good way to avoid big bucks, is to hunt in the middle of open woods or the edges of fields. When you’re looking for spots that hold mature bucks, you should be close to thick cover used for bedding areas. They only move so far in daylight.
Take a look at the buck pictured below, I watched this buck bed in the same bed almost every time we had a west wind for two seasons! I even picked up one of his sheds lying right in the bed before I finally killed him. The interesting part of this is that there was not a rub, scrape, or beat trail within 100 yards of this bucks bed.
The last part of the puzzle is that you have to hunt a property where a big buck exists in order to kill it. Might sound simple, but a lot of guys hunt properties where you can’t find a big rub, or cut a big track. If there is no big buck sign, there is no big buck.
As you’re doing your scouting this spring, try to think about hunting “big bucks” rather than deer, or the same sign everybody else is keying in on. Remember, extraordinary success is rarely the result of ordinary measures. Conventional wisdom and common procedure will only guarantee the status quo.
The Big Buck Serial Killer