How to Hunt Elusive Bucks


It’s a well-known fact among hunters that large, older deer make for tougher hunting because they’re smart enough to have avoided hunters and predators for multiple seasons. Field & Stream‘s Scott Bestul says that there’s likely a “hermit buck” on your hunting property, but that you must use different hunting tactics for hermit bucks than you would for younger deer.

Preusser2008 Photo by NY DEC… [A]s a buck ages, his living quarters shrink. In Dr. Mickey Hellickson’s groundbreaking 1995 King Ranch telemetry study (updated in 2010), the average core area for older bucks was a mere 151 acres. Increasingly reclusive, some of these bucks do not run widely even during the rut. Every year, I hear more stories of docile, old bucks that virtually never leave some funky little spot. And I’ve arrowed two of them in the last three years, including a 179-inch 5-year-old that had dug in at an 80-acre farm I hunt.

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Photos: Field & Stream (top); George Barnett (center)

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Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.