Deer hunting season is closer than you think. The bucks that survived winter are dropping last years headgear and beginning to grow new antlers now. Next years racks are sure to be bigger.

Whether you lease property, hunt public land, or visit game farms and management areas, deer season is just around the corner. Prime dates are always in demand. Rut is a predictable time of year, and smart hunters plan their vacation times accordingly.

Look at the rut timelines for your specific zone. This is when the bucks are most active during the day and are chasing does. It is during the rut that the smartest, oldest, and biggest bucks are likely to make a mistake.

Great bucks do not get to be big by being stupid. Most deer survive less than 3 seasons. Wise old Gray Bucks can live to 7-8 years of age. Ironically these older deer will eventually succumb because of worn out teeth. Deer need over 40 lbs. of food a day. That ends up being a lot of chewing and grinding. Throw in some apples, corn cobs, and other local favorite foods, and Big Bucks end up with Big tooth problems.

If you plan to hunt a game farm, or guide service, keep in mind that there are limited dates on the calendar. Throw in holidays, birthdays, weekend only, and some bad weather, and now you understand. It is better to have booked a hunt rather than hope for something better. “Woulda, coulda, shouldas”, do not fill very many tags.

If you wait for the perfect day to hunt, you will hunt very little. Great hunters adapt and adjust to what nature throws at them. Some of the best hunting can happen during the roughest weather. Barometric pressure, snow, rain, and harsh, cold conditions often put deer on the feed. If deer need to stay warm, fat, and happy, they need to eat.

Public land hunts may involve reserving a campsite or booking a room, or farm house. There are some amazing hunting opportunities out there. A quick Google search can give you some great ideas. Self-guided hunts can be supported with a camp cook, or camp guide. Support equipment like wheelers, horses, and tree stands may also be available.

Books are also a good idea to record information when you start scouting for next years buck. We have many excuses to venture forth. Sheds are falling now, mushrooms are coming soon, turkeys live in the same areas. Scouting deer and recording data into a observation book is so valuable.

When work is hard, days are long, folks are yelling at you for whatever, just go to your happy place. If you hunted a certain blind, that is available, book it! It is also ok to mix up your hunting experiences and locations. If you have never hunted a game farm, treat yourself and a guest for a special day. Game farm hunts are safe, and a perfect way to introduce new hunters to the fold. Don’t just hunt. Ask questions, get involved and learn. This is the real trophy that you pay for.

As hunters age, a more accommodating hunt may be required. Booking a guided hunt really helps to keep challenged hunters in the game. Having an extra set of young eyes, helping hands, and good company allows the hunt to be safe and successful.

Bucks never come easy. Fate, luck, and other factors all come into play. In the end, the best bucks are the memories of who you shared the hunt with. Every time you gaze at the antlers on the wall, they remind you of moments when you made good choices and decisions. No regrets!

Hunt hard, hunt harder!

Montana Grant

For more Montana grant, check out his blog at Deer Hunting Blind