What is Mature-Buck-Effective? Deer Hunters, Don’t Miss Reading This Blog

Mature bucks 3-1/2 to 6-1/2 years of age are the most elusive and most wasted of whitetails during deer hunting seasons. The reason is, there is hardly a whitetail buck anywhere in America today that has survived three or more hunting seasons that does not know exactly how to safely locate, identify and avoid hunters making drives, hunters moving about on foot in search of deer and hunters using elevated or ground level stands. Dr. Ken Nordberg’s six new hunting methods, ranging in complexity from simple portable stump hunting to opportunistic stand hunting were specificlly designed to hunt such deer. All are mature-buck-effective and fair chase (no bait) hunting methods. Between 1990 and 2017 these hunting methods enabled Doc and his three sons to take 98 mature bucks on public land with low deer numbers and overabundant wolves, their best buck hunting ever.

Unlike back in the 1980s when newly introduced portable tree stands and doe-in-heat buck lures combined to launch two decades of unusually easy buck hunting, no new hunting aid is available today that can make it happen again. Our only salvation as deer hunters today is more knowedgeable and skillful deer hunting, mature-buck-effective hunting methods if you’d like to regularly take mature bucks. To be mature-buck-effectice, Dr. Nordberg’s new hunting methods include the follow key elements.

At the top of the list are special elevated or ground level stand sites…

  • Used one day or half day for the first time ever (most productive for for taking older bucks), used one day or half day per hunting season during multiple years, sometimes used an additional day or half day 4–7 days later per hunting season (for  good reasons only).
  • At a site or in a tree tree providing superior human-silhouette masking natural and unaltered cover (no man-made shooting lane) requiring little or no preparation or preparation time.
  • Can be approached without being positively identified by nearby deer.
  • Located within easy shooting distance downwind or crosswind of freshly made tracks and/or droppings made by a mature walking (unalarmed) buck in or near a whitetail feeding area (graze or browse) – the one area in which whitetails are most predictable, most easily seen and easiest targets.
  • Located within sight of fresh tracks of a buck that dragged its hooves from track to track in snow (under the influence of airborne doe in heat pheromone) in or adjacent to a feeding area or doe bedding area (must be stand hunted very soon).
  • Located within sight of lots of fresh droppings made by yearling and/or mature does in or near a feeding area when or where no snow covers the ground.
  • Located within sight downwind or crosswind of a freshly made or renewed buck ground scrape not approached within 10–20 yards by a hunter.
  • Located 10–20 yards back in timber from the edge of a feeding area.

A non-aggressive hunting method is used, namely, “skilled stand hunting,” which is much different from the way most stand hunters stand hunt these days.

The hunter scouts 2–3 weeks before a hunting season begins to find one or two mature-buck-effective stand sites per hunter per day to be used during the first 2–3 days of the hunting season.

A mid-hunt scouting method that does not alarm deer, limited to deer trails designated for this purpose during specific time periods, is used to find new mature-buck-efective  stand sites daily during the balance of the hunting season until a buck is taken. Vicinities, trails and sites being frequented by mature bucks right now, today, which are very likely to be used again by the same buck later today and tomorrow morning if the hunter does things right (with the posible exceptions of trails) – locations made evident by very fresh tracks, droppings and other deer signs – are searched for daily, selecting promising stand sites along the way without halting, to be used during the next 24 hours, or halting to begin using imediately.

A through knowledge of deer signs and the ability to accurately identify tracks and droppings made by mature bucks without halting to measure them during a hunting season are required.

The spread of ruinous lasting human trail scents in the hunting area must be minimized throughout the hunting season.

Certain proven tactics are used to avoid alarming deer along the way while hiking to stand sites and avoid being positively identified by deer near stand sites.

Precautions are taken to allow whitetails to remain in their home ranges throughout a hunting season.

As silently as possible (best done with a backpacked stool), beginning day three the hunter switches to a new stand site every day or half day (best) 100 yards or more away from any previously used stand site until a buck or other deer is taken.

Dr. Nordberg’s six new hunting methods, introduced in his newly published Whitetail Hunters Almanac, 10th Edition, have all of the elements (above) needed to be mature-buck-effective. Used properly, each of these hunting methods can put you close to one or more mature bucks once or twice every day or half day of a hunt, though you may not realize it until after you find tracks that reveal a mature buck spent some time downwind of your stand site. Do not despair when this happens. After a mature buck discovers you stand hunting (not moving about, which it can detect via smell alone), it will only quit approaching within about 100 yards of where you were sitting. It won’t abandon its range unless you somehow greatly alarm it – an all important advantage provided by stand hunting. Moving 100 yards or more to a new stand site during the following day or half day will put you back in the ball game. The buck will have to find you all over again before it can be safe  while engaging in its daily activities. Sooner or later, that buck will be a short distance away, unsuspecting, before it realizes you are taking aim at it.

Be assured, because Dr. Nordberg’s mature-buck-effective hunting methods evolved from more than a half century of scientifically-based, hunting-related field research with wild whitetails, they work. Once mastered, you will soon begin to realize tree stand hunting is no longer the best or only way to hunt mature bucks or other deer. Over the long run a ground level stand hunter usng a backpacked stool and mature-buck-effective hunting methods can outhunt any deer hunter using any other hunting method.


Portable Stump Hunting: the Most Simple Form of Mature-Buck-Effect Stand Hunting

Back when I began hunting whitetails at age ten, stand hunters were commonly called “stump sitters.” Tree stand hunting was unknown then. After fifteen years of being a member of a gang that only made drives, rarely taking bucks older than yearlings, I finally became serious about stump (log) sitting, after which I finally began taking mature bucks. In the 1960s, long before tree stand hunting became known, I began studying and hunting deer from primitive platforms nailed to trees six feet above the ground. After that, tree stand hunting was my favorite hunting method until the late 1980s, then the favorite hunting method of deer hunters all over America, At that time, however, it was becoming obvious mature bucks were learning to identify avoid hunters in trees. For this reason, I then began experimenting with stump sitting again. Real stumps being damp and uncomfortable and rarely located where I wanted to sit, I began using a homemade folding stool with a camo fabric seat, oak frame and shoulder straps, calling it a “portable stump.” The advantages provided by a portable stump, the basic tool for this most simple form of mature-buck-effective stand hunting, are amazing. The following is one of many tales I have written for outdoor magazines) about how my portable stump has provided me with great buck hunting.

It was 5 AM, pitch dark, when I arrived at the spot where I planned to turn straight east a mile north of camp, about another mile northwest of where I planned to sit. The ground level stand site I had in mind was a clump of 4-foot oak saplings with retained leaves beneath a scrubby red oak on a slope overlooking a deer trail discovered while scouting three weeks earlier. Coursing between a large hill west of that tree and a beaver pond east of it, this well-worn trail was full of fresh and old tracks and droppings made by at least two different mature bucks plus several regularly renewed ground scrapes.

The unaltered series of deer trails I planned to use to get there from downwind, illuminated by my flashlight, crossed a saddle near the south end of a high ridge and then dipped down through a low browse area much visited by whitetails during past hunting seasons. From there I followed a familiar, moss-covered deer trail through scattered spruces to the northern tip of a white granite slab of rock more than a quarter-mile long. My intended stand site was at the south end. When I halted there to decide whether I should proceed across that opening or head southeast to a deer trail that curved toward my stand site through dense brush and tall quaking aspens, a yearling doe trotted past without haste ahead of me, tail down, made barely visible by the narrow glow beginning to widen along the eastern horizon, and disappeared into a stand of young aspens on my left.

Deer obviously being in the vicinity, I decided to use the trail coursing through the tall aspens. Shortly before finding it, however, I came across a patch of snow about 20 feet in diameter where two mature bucks had obviously battled a short time earlier. Now anxious to get to my stand site as soon as possible, I proceeded at a steady pace into the wind along that deer trail, keeping my head pointed straight ahead (in case any deer along the way were watching me) until about 100 feet east of where I planned to sit. There I halted again upon discovering another heavily tracked patch of snow where the two bucks had obviously battled a very short time earlier. The smell of buck musk was still strong there. About 20 feet to the right of the site of this battle I noticed a splash of black dirt scattered across the snow. Upon taking a few steps nearer, it became obvious it was a very recently renewed ground scrape, surely made by a dominant breeding buck, November breeding being in progress. The scrape was more than four feet in diameter and an overhanging bough of an adjacent black spruce was well mangled, pieces of it scattered across the scrape.

 Now excited, I then backed carefully away downwind, soon spotting what appeared to be an appropriate spot to place my stool. After tiptoeing through a dense patch of 4-foot-tall mountain maples, managing to avoid making any discernable sounds, I sat down on my stool with my back against the rough bark of the 2-foot-wide trunk of an ancient aspen and pulled my camo headnet down over my face.

Thirty minutes later, then fully light, I was suddenly astonished to see of the head of an 8-point buck with wide antlers facing me, intently rubbing scalp musk on that ravaged spruce bough only 25 yards away. While slowly leaning to my right, I finally found a narrow, clear opening to the center of the buck’s throat patch and squeezed my trigger. After waiting about five minutes, hearing nothing, I anxiously arose and pushed through the mountain maples toward the scrape. There it was: a beautiful 8-pointer lying motionless across the scrape (see photo above).

There is much to learn about portable stump hunting, the simplest form of mature-buck-effective stand hunting. Learn it all in my newly published Whitetail Hunters Almanac, 10th Edition.