Start Scouting Now to Take Bigger Buck Deer This Fall
Editor’s Note: Allen Treadwell from Seligman, Missouri, was a world champion in the international skeet shooting discipline and was on the Olympic team as a shotgun shooter. He was first sponsored by Bass Pro Shops as an Olympic shotgun shooter, then on the Bass Pro Shops’ professional hunting team and the company’s “King of Bucks” TV show. He’s also been featured on the “Winchester Rack Masters” TV show. His main focus is white-tailed deer. Treadwell says, “I wear Mossy Oak on both shows, but I’d wear Mossy Oak even if I wasn’t on television. I believe in the Mossy Oak patterns, and I know they help me take more deer. But more importantly, I believe in the Mossy Oak philosophy of family, fraternity, conservation and passing on our outdoor heritage. I like that Mossy Oak has more than one pattern. When I’m deer hunting, I like to wear Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity. When I’m turkey hunting, most of the time, I wear Obsession. Both of these patterns are open patterns that blend in with the terrain where I hunt. In early deer season, when there's still a lot of green in the woods, I wear Obsession rather than the Break-Up Infinity.”
Right now, I’m talking with outfitters and building relationships with landowners where I plan to hunt this coming deer season. I start planning my hunts about the first of June and working with my outfitters and landowners. I try to schedule hunts, so I can go from on hunt to another hunt, instead of going home and unpacking, and then packing later for another hunt. Next, I have to look at the season dates for each state I plan to hunt, and I have to check the moon phase for the dates I want to hunt there. I also try and stay away from areas where there has been a breakout of blue tongue or where there’s been a drought.
During the spring, I’ll put in for draw hunting in all the states that have draw hunts where I plan to hunt. At this time of the year, I begin to find out which states I've drawn tags to hunt that may cause me to possibly rearrange my schedule. I plan to go to the states that I have deer tags for and not go to the states where I don’t have deer tags. Also I send out about 15 to 20 trail cameras to eight guides, outfitters and landowners where I plan to hunt. I ask them to put the cameras in the places where they think I need to hunt to take a big deer. The bucks start putting on their racks now. I like to get trail-camera pictures of the deer in the locations I’ll be hunting. Then I’ll know where to hunt, when I go there in the fall. Because I do TV shows, I very rarely have time to put-out trail cameras and hunt one buck on one piece of property all season long.
When I arrive at a hunting lodge or a landowner’s property, I’ll only have 4 or 5 days to try and take a really-nice buck. But by sending these trail cameras ahead, especially starting in the summer, I can know what size bucks are in the area where I plant to hunt, and I can watch those bucks’ antlers grow until I get to the property to hunt. This summertime scouting also helps me make better decisions on which buck to take. For instance, if I see three or four bucks that have inside spreads of about 16 inches and 8 points, and I see another buck that has 22 inches inside the main beams, heavy mass and he's a 10 or 12 pointer, then, I know that’s the buck I want to hunt. Even if another buck comes in that may be bigger than the three or four 8 pointers, I still won’t take that bigger buck, because I’ll hold out for the bigger buck that I’ve seen on my trail cameras. Knowing the size of deer that I have to hunt on land well in advance helps to make sure that I take the best buck I possibly can in the area I'm hunting within the time limit I have to hunt.
Remember – I’m in the hunting business, and I have to produce big bucks every season for TV shows. However the same system I use will work for you, whether you're hunting public or private lands. Most hunters won’t go into the woods in the summertime to inventory their deer herds. At this time of year, they won’t use trail cameras to look for bucks in the velvet and watch their antlers grow all summer long. However, by starting early to find the buck you want to take in the fall, you're 100 percent ahead of the other hunters who may hunt this same property, because they haven’t done their homework and located the biggest bucks they can take on the properties they’ll be hunting this fall. I had much rather hunt one big deer and know what he looks like than to just walk in the woods and pray I’ll get lucky. If you'll use this strategy of pinpointing the bucks in the summertime and selecting the bucks you want to take well in advance of opening day, you'll be a better hunter. Too, you'll consistently take bigger bucks each season than the other hunters do.