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.


Where Hunter Densities are High, Hunt Where Few Others Care to Hunt

[From Dr. Nordberg’s Whitetail Hunters Almanac, 10th Edition]

Where hunter densities are high, hunt where few others care to hunt: on islands or land that can only be reached via watercraft, hip boots or waders, high top waterproof boots or a tough climb, for example. Hunt on or adjacent to small highlands in wooded swamps or bogs. My best buck and best bear in 74 years of hunting came from such sites. Other spots likely to be avoided by other hunters include middle portions of steep, well-wooded hillsides, especially rugged terrain, large expanses of dense brush or other types of dense cover including cornfields. In cornfields, sit in the last twenty rows of corn next to timber furthest from buildings, dogs and public roads.

Spring has Finally Sprung in Minnesota Deer Woods.

It’s April 22nd. Spring has finally arrived all across Minnesota. Snow from last week’s blizzard is 80% gone. Starving whitetails are finally abandoning their thoroughly chewed wintering areas and heading back to their previously established summer home ranges, does trailed by surviving fawns and yearlings, mature bucks alone. All frequently pause along the way to hungrily nibble on this year’s first sprouting green-leafed plants, most abundant, it seems, adjacent to well-traveled roadways. Be watchful for them and slow down as you approach, prepared to suddenly stop. Younger deer don’t realize they can’t outrun speeding cars.

Dark fuzzy knobs (budding antlers) are beginning to form on foreheads of bucks, including buck fawns soon to become yearlings. Bucks that were most dominant last fall are beginning to display aggressive behavior, glaring malevolently at one another with ears sagging and cupped downward. Some rise up on their nimble hind legs to rain thudding blows on one another with their fore-hooves until one is temporarily stunned by a straight shot to its nose.

Last year’s yearlings are in for a surprise upon returning to the home ranges of their mothers, the only home ranges they have ever known. Their very pregnant mothers are going to viciously drive them off their ranges, forcing them to begin searching for first home ranges of their own. Most will wander many miles before finding a suitably-sized range in suitable habitat not claimed by older or more aggressive deer – Nature’s plan to prevent inbreeding.

Once settled in their individual ranges, mature bucks will become hermits, living in small secluded hideaways until they shed velvet from their fully developed antlers about September 1st. Does aren’t that lucky. Within the next few weeks they will give birth to about 85% of this year’s fawns – single fawns, twins and even some triplets. After that, it’s all work for them. Gray wolves will find most fawns in my far north study area by November 1st, after which only about one doe in two will have one fawn.

Productive Scouting — Part I

Step one: heed this basic whitetail scouting truth — freshly made signs such as tracks or droppings made by undisturbed, unseen whitetails yield far greater hunting success than sightings of bounding (greatly alarmed) deer. Most deer seen while scouting are alarmed deer. All you will learn from sightings of them is, greatly alarmed whitetails bound away. Later you may also learn bounding deer do not return to their home ranges soon, especially older bucks. You will be much more successful during hunting seasons if you see no deer while scouting. If you do it right, most deer will remain unseen while you are scouting, being able to easily keep out of sight without becoming greatly alarmed. When not greatly alarmed, your scouting will not seriously affect their habits and behavior during following hunting seasons. Given time, all will then be in their home ranges opening morning, doing predictable things in predictable places during predictable hours.

Before stepping into the woods to scout therefore, plan to make it easy for whitetails ahead to hear, smell and/or see you coming so they have adequate time move out of your path without great haste while still what they consider to be a safe distance away. Don’t try to scout (walk about) without making telltale sounds. Instead, feel free to talk out loud and don’t concern yourself with snapping branches or wind direction. The time for that only begins opening day.

Keep in mind too, whitetails 2-1/2 years of age or older (especially older bucks) that are commonly seen feeding a great distance away in farm fields, clearcuts or food (bait) plots, for example, will likely be seen by many other hunters who will also plan to hunt them. Following minutes before or after sunrise opening morning, competing hunters will be almost certain to convince those deer it would be advisable to feed in such an area only at night only or abandon it altogether for the rest of the hunting season. Don’t waste valuable time or effort preparing to hunt commonly sighted deer unless they are on private land and you have an exclusive right to hunt them.

Doc’s New Whitetail Tracks Guidebook

Dr. Ken Nordberg’s NEW 2016 Pocket Guidebook to WHITETAIL TRACKS Fall & Winter is evolved from 45 years of dedicated, hunting-related research with wild deer and 70 years of very successful deer (buck) hunting. Every serious whitetail hunter should own this inexpensive ($4.99) book because it is extremely valuable, its 84 pages introducing the following extensive list of amazing innovations guaranteed to greatly improve success wherever whitetails are hunted.

  • Accurately identify all unseen whitetail deer in your hunting area via their track lengths (first introduced by Dr. Nordberg in the early 1980s in outdoor magazine articles and hunting seminars).
  • Key on one or more classes of whitetails — fawns, yearling does or bucks, does 2-1/2 years of age or older, bucks 2-1/2 years of age or trophy-class bucks 3-1/2 to 6-1/2 years of age.
  • Instantly recognize hunting values of whitetail tracks and track formations.
  • Recognize where, when and how to stand hunt next based on information provided by tracks throughout the 4 month period of rut-related activities beginning in September.
  • Take quick and skillful advantage of promising information provided by tracks.
  • Avoid wasting time where odds of hunting success are poor.
  • Keep whitetails from abandoning their ranges and/or becoming nocturnal during hunting seasons.
  • Become skilled at taking unsuspecting deer, standing or moving slowly, within easy shooting range.
  • Keep close to unsuspecting deer every day or half-day you hunt.

This ebook can now be downloaded in 2 versions. One is designed for Apple’s iBooks software. The second is designed for Amazon’s Kindle software.

Doc used Apple’s iBooks Author software to develop the iBooks version. This provides many advantages, for example, a better quality of typesetting. The Apple ibook version can be downloaded onto computers compatible with Apple’s iBook software. That includes PCs, Macs, iPads, and iPhones. Think of that! You can carry this version into the woods on your phone for quick and easy reference while scouting and hunting. The iBooks  ebook version can be found here.

The Amazon ebook version is now available. This version contains almost exactly the same text, graphics and photos as the iBooks version. However, because the typesetting for this version was much more difficult there are a few, very minor differences. This version can be read with any device compatible with the free Kindle app. That includes: PC, Macs, Kindles, iPads, and almost every type of smart phone.

We will continue to tweak both versions in order to make them better. Keep in mind, with both the iBooks version, and the Kindle version, when changes are made, people that purchase them now will be able to download the updated versions in the future.

Next, Doc has plans to publish a printed version of this GuideBook — a 4″ x 6″ pocket-sized paperback. Watch for announcements about when the printed version becomes available in Midwest Outdoors Magazine, on Twitter, on this blog and at Dr. Ken Nordberg’s encyclopedia-like website: www.drnordbergondeerhnting.com. Ordering information for all versions will be found on this website.

Also watch for announcements about when Dr. Nordberg’s long-awaited 10th Edition of Whitetail Hunters Almanac becomes available (text now completed), a huge 500-plus-page Apple ibook with more than 500 illustrative color photos and interactive videos evolved from Dr. Nordberg’s past 16 years of ongoing hunting-related research with wild deer from Minnesota and Wisconsin to Texas. Like all nine previous editions which many thousands of hunters have long considered to be “Deer Hunting Bibles,” this new book is also loaded with new hunting tips and an introduction to another new, well-tested hunting method, actually the best (most productive) method ever for taking otherwise seldom seen mature bucks and older does. An Amazon ibook and a paperback version are also planned for this book. Don’t miss buying the printed version when it becomes available, it likely to sell out fast. Like all other out-of-print Whitetail Hunters Almanacs today, its resale value will increase 25-fold or more.