How to tell if a big buck is in your area?

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Video how to tell if a big buck is in your area

A buck’s core area is where he spends the majority of his daylight hours. If you can consistently see a buck or get daylight trail cam pics of him, then you are in that bucks core area. Consistency is not just getting his picture a couple times in a single week and then never seeing him again. Consistency means you are getting several daylight pictures or having encounters with him over a large duration of the hunting season for at least several weeks. When I get 1 or 2 daylight pictures of the same buck every week for several weeks in a row, I know I’m in the buck’s core area.

Finding a bucks core area can be extremely hard to find unless you are hunting a large chunk of public ground or have access to several hundred or thousands of acres. Hopefully you are lucky enough that a buck’s core area is already where you are hunting or have permission to hunt. Most of the time, that doesn’t seem to be the case. If you have the ability to track down a buck’s core area based on the size of ground you have to hunt, then the process of finding him is a lot of fun.

When you track down a specific bucks core area, you already have some kind of information that the bucks exists. Either you saw the deer while scouting, got him on your trail camera, or someone else told you about him. The majority of hunters today are scouting with trail cameras so the odds would say you probably found out about a buck from a trail camera picture. If you got a bucks picture at night try to analyze that photo or video the best you can. Try to determine the direction that the buck came from and the time of night that he passed by the camera. This is an important part of tracking down a buck’s core area.

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Let’s assume it gets dark at 6pm and you got his picture taken at midnight (6 hours after dark). For every 2 hours from dark, add 1 mile of distance in the direction that you think the deer came from and find key spots you expect a big buck might be bedding. In our example, you would search for areas around 3 miles in the general direction that you believe the buck came from. If the topography of the area is really hilly then you can reduce the distance. Try 2 miles instead.

This method of finding a big buck core area is an imperfect science. To dumb it down, you should try to triangulate the buck to narrow down his core area through a process of elimination. Sometimes you get lucky and find his core area quick and sometimes it takes years. The good news is that deer will continue to use the same core areas every year as long as nothing major changes his habits, such as hunting pressure, or the habitat he lives in. The more trail cameras you are able to use the better your odds are in finding your bucks core area and doing it in a faster amount of time.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>