Hunting tips #1
by Christopher Wood
I hope by sharing a technique I used when I hunted upstate New York helps someone get that big buck they are after.
I need snow, and it doesn't matter how much. I don't start to "hunt" until I have tracks to follow. I cover ground quickly on foot until I find a good buck track, then I follow it until it hooks left or right and starts to meander, this tells me that the buck should be just up ahead, either feeding or bedded. If a buck track is lining straight out along the easiest path he is covering ground, like we do on the highway, this tells me that I need to move fast to catch up. When the track takes a turn unexpectedly to the left or right its time to slow down and move a little slower. Next will come several meandering turns time to move even slower, His tracks will show that he stood in one spot or stepped to the side, at this point I stop dead and scan the area for anything that might look out of place for a full five minuets. If I don't see anything I take one step and do it all over again. I keep doing this until one of three things happen, kill him, bump him, or walk up to an empty bed.
The post-rut is by far the best time to track a deer and the time I have had the most luck in the past. In the past where I hunted didn’t matter. I could drive to any piece of public wilderness and head in. When I step into the woods, I head uphill to the hardwood ridges, for one reason: I can cover more ground to find that big track.
The mistake everyone makes is they start hunting deer as soon as they leave the truck. I hunt for tracks and you don’t have to sneak up on a hoof print. I think the key is I believe 100 percent that the buck is there. The second I doubt it is when he gets up and runs. It doesn't matter how old the track is because they always go home, I have tried using this same method here in North East Pennsylvania and the only problem I have run into is Posted Signs.