Alan Benton | Mossy Oak ProStaffer
I never completely put my bow down and take only my gun. I designate the properties I have to hunt into either rifle or bowhunting lands. I’ll pick up a rifle and go hunt larger properties where my likelihood of seeing a big deer is greatest at more than 30 yards. Some of the places I’ve named for bowhunting only are where I just enjoy hunting with my bow. Other areas the landowner may restrict as bowhunting only due to the smallness of the property. Or, if I’m hunting close to a subdivision, I’ll designate it as a bowhunting only.
On the larger lands I hunt, I’ll rifle hunt. My general rule for designating whether I’ll hunt with a bow or a rifle is the size of the property, and whether or not the county allows rifle hunting. However, I tend to prefer to hunt my bowhunting lands rather than my rifle lands. Another reason I set up these properties this way is because when I’m asking a landowner for permission to hunt, I’ve found getting permission to hunt somewhere is easier if you tell the landowner you’ll only bowhunt his land. With this approach, I can get numbers of small properties to hunt that other hunters won’t even think about hunting or never can get permission to hunt.
Remember that the mindsets of most deer hunters is that the larger piece of property they have to hunt, the greater their odds are for finding an older-age-class buck. But I’ve discovered that the smaller lands I hunt often produce the most big deer. Generally over the years, no one has hunted those small places, making them sanctuaries for older-age-class bucks. If someone has 5 acres, and you’re bowhunting, you even can hunt in someone’s back yard.
One of the biggest bucks I’ve ever taken was in a neighborhood. I had permission to hunt about 20 acres that backed up to a subdivision. This 5-1/2-year old buck was a 129-7/8 inch 8-pointer. When I’d previously driven home late in the afternoon after work, I’d see two big bucks crossing the road to feed on an apple tree in a lady’s front yard. Once a friend of mine bought that nearby property, he gave me permission to hunt those bucks on his land. Then I got a call two weeks before bow season arrived and was told the big buck (scored in the 160s Boone & Crockett) had been hit by a car and killed. The people who hit the buck, picked him up, put him in their trunk and took him home with them.
Land in suburban areas can be great places to hunt. It’s important to be mindful of those nearby.
Forty-one-year-old Alan Benton of McDonough, Georgia, is a 9-year veteran of the Mossy Oak ProStaff.
“Mossy Oak is more than a camo pattern. Mossy Oak is a lifestyle with which I associate,” said Benton. “I like what Mossy Oak represents. Toxey Haas, the creator of Mossy Oak, and his family are hometown people. I like the conservation organizations that Mossy Oak is a part of and supports and the charitable contributions the company makes to help people and wildlife. I feel if I’m going to put my time, effort and money into hunting, I need to be wearing the best camouflage on the market, and I believe Mossy Oak is that camouflage.”