Editor’s Note: Marvin Temple of Nixa, Missouri, has been hunting deer for more than 40 years. He’s been a Mossy Oak Pro ever since the program began. “When the Mossy Oak Treestand pattern first came out in the 1980s, I thought it was an incredible pattern, and I've been wearing it ever since,” Temple says.
In recent years, we’ve relied heavily on our trail cameras to create a hit list of the bucks we’re hoping to take on the properties we lease. However, we’ve discovered that the deer’s movement patterns seem to change more now than they ever have in the past. On some of the properties we hunt, our neighbors like to put their deer stands on the edges of the properties’ lines. I'm sure none of you have that problem (grin).
Many times, we won’t see bucks we photograph in October again until the rut starts, if we see them at all. We don’t hunt many of our very best stands until the rut begins -mainly because, we don’t want to overhunt those stands before we have an opportunity to take a mature buck. Our best stands seem to be in or over natural funnels. Usually, during the rut, there’s more deer activity in these funnels and drainages than at any other time of the year. I think this is because bucks are chasing does, bucks are expanding their home ranges, and bucks are moving during daylight hours, searching for estrous does.
My hunting partners who lease the land with me are very limited in the time they have to hunt. They understand that the only way we can take older-age class bucks is to set-up some type of management program by: planting Mossy Oak BioLogic green fields; passing up young bucks; and determining when and where we’ll hunt older-age class bucks and not go into those areas, until our chances are best for seeing one of those mature bucks during daylight hours.
Two more hunters are on the land leases I hunt in Kansas and Missouri. I only have one friend on the lease with me in Texas. So, we don’t have a lot of opinions to consider when we decide what we’ll plant, where we’ll plant it, what stands we’ll hunt, when we’ll hunt those stands, and what stands we won’t hunt until the end of the season. I think limiting the number of people that you have on any lease makes managing that lease much easier and provides better hunting, even if you have small leases. Our program on all of our hunting lands is that at the first of deer season, we hunt the edges of crop fields, acorn flats and any other primary food sources the deer are utilizing. When the rut begins, we hunt funnel areas. The way the rut is working out this year, our rut should be right at the end of the time the acorns start dropping. So, we’ll be able to transition from hunting acorn flats and the edges of the crop fields to lastly hunting our funnel areas.
In deer hunting, there are no absolutes. If we get a trail-camera picture of a big buck consistently moving through one of our funnels during daylight hours, when we’re hunting acorn flats, then we’ll change our routine to try and take that big buck. I'm not saying that the system we use is the best way for you to hunt on the land you hunt, but this system has worked very well for many years on the properties we hunt.
On October 31, 2015, I was hunting one of my favorite oak flats in Kansas. The rut had just kicked in, and six or seven bucks came in constantly, chasing 20 or 30 does. All these bucks were high stepping with their front legs, and they had their necks stretched out trying to find estrous does. For me, this is the most exciting time of the year to be hunting. We see a lot of this kind of activity during the rut in the funnel areas that we don’t hunt until the rut arrives.
To learn more about hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ new eBook and print book, “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows.” You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or Smartphone.
For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from http://johninthewild.com/free-books.
Tomorrow: Three States with Three Weapons