Well, Alyssa isn’t just any 15 year old girl when it comes to deer hunting experience, she is my oldest granddaughter and has been tagging along with us ever since she could walk. In fact, her dad Greg and I often referred to her as “The human sponge”, in reference to her desire to learn everything we knew about deer hunting, and she learned well. Last year I wrote an article in the Woods-N-Waters News about a compromise I made with my three grandchildren who had a desire to deer hunt, two of them wanted us to allow them to carry their smart phones on the hunt. Truth is, there were a few big problems that Greg and I had to overcome. For instance, none had the strength yet to pull a bow with the poundage needed for an ethical kill, plus they claimed that they could sit still in a tree stand, even with their smart phones, we rather doubted that.. The solution ? We bought each one of them a 5’x5′ Shadow Hunter Crossbow blind, and put crossbows in each of their hands. This would give them the safety we worried about, while giving them the independence all teenagers believe they should have. Now they could text, play their games, and hunt, all without missing a beat. In time, as they grow older and acquire more experience and skill they then can choose the style of hunting that best suits them. All three had shot deer that year from their Shadow Hunter blinds, a proud moment for all of us. We hunt in three Southern Michigan counties, and on several different leases. Last May we took delivery of two more Shadow hunter blinds for the farms that didn’t have any blinds on them (and will be taking delivery of two more this year). We asked each of our young hunters if they were happy with their blind’s location, or if any of them wanted to change blind locations, or even to hunt on a different farm. Two of the younger ones elected to hunt their same blinds. Alyssa, with three beautiful racked bucks under her belt elected to try a different farm. We all felt that the deer were starting to change their travel patterns in her area and that it would be beneficial in the long run to let things cool down. This will be a smart move because things like that will happen occasionly when deer no longer feel secure traveling in certain areas, for whatever reasons. We all studied the plat maps, aerial photographs and Topographical maps of the new lease that didn’t have any blinds on it.. With the plat maps we wanted to see the exact farm’s boundary lines, the aerial photographs will show us probable bedding areas, food plots , and funnels. The topographical maps will show changes in elevations and the structure of the land, and how the big bucks are most apt to utilize these structures to their advantage in their travels. After the three of us discussed different options and suggestions, it would ultimately be Alyssa’s final decision to chose the blind’s location. As it turned out her choice was outstanding. The blind would be situated where a beautiful highly active funnel plays out to disperse the deer in many directions, thus giving the deer freedom of choice without fear of ambush.Further, behind her chosen blind’s location is a ridge with several high producing White Oak trees and above the ridge is a 2 acre food plot planted with the Whitetail Institute’s Chicory Plus. Alyssa had actually chosen the absolutely most productive spot on the whole farm. Here’s why, not only did this spot allow the deer unobstructive travels to their nearby bedding areas, it gave them freedom of unobstructive movement to a variety of constant food sources as well, but wisely and most importantly Alyssa, weather knowlingly or not used the funnel to it’s fullest potential. The vast majority of experienced deer hunters, and I mean professional hunters as well, would mistakenly have chosen a pinch point somewhere in the funnel to hunt. That may work for a year or two on big bucks, but at some point the word will get out. I asked Alyssa why she had chosen this particular spot? Her response was spot on, “because they have everything they need here”, meaning what drew the deer to this particular area will continue to do so for many years to come. We placed her new Shadow Hunter blind exactly where she wanted it. The rut was nearing and the chase phase was in full swing. Greg and Alyssa had sprayed “She Heat” on several deer runs and mock scrapes to hopefully stop a buck in shooting range. A lone doe walked up to one of the scrapes,seemingly mesmerized by it, her tail twitching rapidly back and forth. Of course that got Greg and Alyssa’s full attention when all of a sudden Alyssa spotted the big buck comming out of the funnel, and he was making a beeline straight for the doe. But before anyone could react the buck chased the doe completly out of sight. Crestfallen, Alyssa turning to her Dad could only say, “wow”, when miraculously the doe having made a full circle was returning to the spot and the buck wasn’t too far behind her. This time Alyssa had her crossbow out the window and was ready. As soon as the buck came into range Greg grunted to stop him, and the rest is history.
“Master The Deadly Art Of Mock Scrapes”
Many of you readers are aware that my son Greg and I are inventors. We invent hunting products and we invent hunting tactics. We own A-Way Hunting Products and A-Way Outdoors Invention Consulting. The vast majority of our inventions are geared toward deer hunting. Especially for the big Michigan bucks that we love to hunt, and have so much respect for. Why Michigan bucks ? Because their low numbers in this State make them an amazing challenge. Over the years we started giving away our hunting secrets at seminars and articles in the Woods-N-Waters News. It’s no longer a secret that mock scrapes are the backbone to our success, so much so, that we actually invented and patented the world’s most powerful deer attractant scents, and by far the easiest to use. Since we rely heavily on scent use throughout the season it was only natural for us to focus on some of the problems that they can, and have created. When we discover a problem our mindset automatically seeks a solution. Unfortunately we have no control over mother nature, sometimes we all have to hunt in whatever weather she presents to us. Here’s the problem, the liquid scents that we relied on had a strong tendency to wash out at the first hint of rain or snow, worse, its two part application process forces all hunters into a self-contamination situation when mixing and hanging these devices. These problems were not helpful in our quest for big bucks, nor were they acceptable. Here’s our solution: We found and patented a way to totally eliminate the contamination and scent delivery issues (see photo).
Then we formulated an extremely powerful scent to last up to 5 days through RAIN OR SHINE, (the use of the words-Lasts Up To 5 Days was for legal purposes). The truth is if it rains the scent reactivates and can last days longer). We believe the stronger the scent, the stronger the attraction. No other deer attractant scent in the world today could do what these scents could do, thus conditioning any buck into returning time and again. We simply used a buck’s nose to our advantage especially with the knowledge that big bucks are always motivated or driven either by the rut or by sheer curiosity. Although this newly developed tactic you are about to read about has not been tested in the earlier seasons, we see no reason why this tactic shouldn’t work during the first pre-rut/rut time frames, especially where big nocturnal bucks are concerned.(This tactic was actually developed specifically for a December hunt). By the time our Michigan December muzzle loading season kicks-in many unsuccessful deer hunters recall what took place during the rifle season after the second or third day, where few shots were heard or fired, along with the lack of deer sightings. Many hunters believe the muzzle loading season will only offer more of the same and stay home. Absolutely not true. We consider this time frame to be our most productive, one where the biggest bucks of all are literally forced to be on the move. Consider the two dynamics that are taking place all at once in December… that DO NOT take place at any other time frame during the earlier hunting seasons, gun or bow. This much we do know, many big rutting bucks from the first rut have lost upwards of 25% of their body weight, or more, and have a desperate need to regain that lost weight back fast by frequenting food sources more often before the winter weather sets in. Otherwise they will be one of the first to die, and they know it. Another very important factor worth noting that occurs only in December is that many doe fawns born in the same year will mature enough to come into estrus for the first time. These doe fawns do not have the experience to visit scrapes to advertise their condition like a mature doe would do, a condition in which they have absolutely no inkling of what is occuring in their bodies. So what do they do ? They simply follow their mothers from food source to food source not knowing what the changes in their bodies mean. But a big buck surely does, and he is on the prowl actively seeking them out… and he knows exactly where to find them. So of course with this knowledge of deer behavior in mind our thoughts would naturally seek a solution to exploit these amazing dynamics. The vast majority of big bucks are by now fully nocturnal and will rarely enter a food plot during this time frame in full daylight, rut or not. Especially after having been shot at, or having fresh unpleasant memories of scenting humans for the past several weeks. But they most definately WILL STAGE somewhere close to a food plot, or some other food source while waiting for dark, especially if the food source contains estrus does. When Greg and I were developing this new tactic the main sticking point questions were two fold, could we assure a buck of his safety while moving him into position, and could we condition a buck into staging at a precise spot of our choosing… during daylight”? As it turned out later, the answer was: YES, and as it so happened, it would happen twice, thus activley eliminating the luck factor. The conditions that we felt we needed to suceed could only be found on two of the seven farms that we hunt. Here are the multiple elements that it eventually took in order for this tactic to become successful. We picked a well used deer run leading from the woods to one of our Imperial Whitetail clover food plots which was getting hammered daily by does and their fawns. We then chose a spot which gave a buck an absolute vantage point where the wind was totally in his favor, and we also chose a spot where he had the ability to see into the food plot, but remain hidden and unseen in the woods…a perfect set-up that would assure any buck of his safety. Further, we would attempt to entice him by creating a mock scrape and a licking branch off to the side of the run, and sprayed our most powerful scent, “She Heat” on both the licking branch and the mock scrape, this would be the ambush site. We then created a subtle shooting lane, this is a small lane barely 3 or 4 feet wide where we remove a branch or two, or a small tree in the lane that would not be noticeable to the buck. I would be hunting in one of our Shadow Hunter blinds which was roughly 157 yards away. Greg and I both shoot 50 caliber Ultimate Firearms muzzle loaders loaded with 180 grains of magnum triple seven pellets, and 300 grain Hornady SST bullets. A very deadly and accurate combination. Two days after we finished this setup a big buck advertised his presence by rubbing on a tree near the mock scrape. The large rub and his 4″ tracks confirmed him to be who he claimed to be, a big buck. Since this tactic could only work in the evenings we were hunting mornings on other farms. The very next evening after my setup was hit I caught a big buck working my mock scrape a full hour before dark. He had his nose in the scrape when I shot. The buck actually ran and died right in our Whitetail Clover food plot. We were amazed by his body size, reminding me of some of our Canidian bucks where the bodies are so big it makes the antlers look small. When we brought the quad to drag him out all four wheels sunk into the ground, we had to use our quad’s wench to pull us out. Later back at camp we tried to weigh the big buck but our scales only went up to 275 pounds, and it bottomed out. This Jackson County buck was easily the heaviest buck that I have ever shot.
Soon after I shot this buck our trail cameras on another farm picked up several pictures of a big buck hitting Greg’s mock scrape setup near our food plot planted with Whitetail Institute’s Tall Tine Tubers. We were elated to discover the buck was staging exactly where we were hoping he would, and most amazing, all of the pictures were captured in the evening with plenty of daylight left. This so excited me that I asked Greg if I could tag along on his hunt. Of course, was his response. The next morning we quietly went in and hung another stand near Greg’s stand. That afternoon we got into our stands a good three hours early. I could feel the tension and excitement growing as the magic hour approached even though I was just an observer. Both Greg and I were scanning the woods with our binoculars searching for any movement when Greg whispered, here he comes. I was riveted as the big buck went directly to the scrape stopping perfectly broadside. After taking the hit the buck whirled around and ran in the direction where he had come from. His mad dash only carried him about 50 yards and we witnessed him go down. It was a thrilling end to a thrilling hunt with Greg and I high fiving each other over such a beautiful majestic animal. This moment was truly a role reversal for me, imagine that, my son taking me on a hunt for a change, how cool was that ?
Hunters today are much more educated in their sport than at any time in the previous 150 years, and so is the technology that most embrace. They also are educated in deer behavior, so does that put deer at a total disadvantage? No, not at all simply because despite our knowledge and desire to be successful a certain sequence must fall into place. For example, a hunter has watched a big buck all summer long entering and leaving a food plot and knows exactly which trail the buck has been using. .Finally the season arrives and the hunter is waiting in ambush, but the buck never shows up because he had changed his travel pattern. The hunter’s mistake? He allowed the buck to control the situation. The simple solution was to mow a trail starting in late summer that the hunter wanted the deer to follow. Deer are creatures of habit and that habit could have been instilled in the summer, plus deer are lazy and will always take the path of least resistance. While there are no guarantees that live animals will follow the script, you do put the odds in your favor. As many of readers are aware, my son Greg and I are inventors and we own A-Way Hunting Products and A-Way Outdoors Invention Consulting. We invent hunting products and we invent hunting tactics. Ironically, all of the products that we have invented and now sell in our business were never initially meant for the consumer, they were for the most part designed solely to give us an advantage over the big Michigan bucks that we love to hunt. As our knowledge and experience in the field grew we realized we needed to invent different hunting aids for the many different situations that have created a problem for all hunters, especially since these hunting aids did not exist on the shelves of your local sporting good stores. Once invented it didn’t take long to notice that what worked on mature bucks easily worked on all other bucks. Some of these products have become extremely deadly on big bucks, and that’s exactly what we were hoping to accomplish. All of our tactics begin and revolve around deer/hunter communication in one fashion or another. We needed to first open a dialogue with bucks before we could ask them questions. The best starting point is in the late summer time frame near or over food plots, or some other favored food source where deer are most apt to congregate. Every one of our 24 food plots are planted exclusively with a variety of forage products offered by the Whitetail Institute. Starting in mid-August we create several small mock scrapes, along with using any existing scrapes on each farm that we hunt. The scrapes are scattered near the trails that the deer use to get to, or return from these food sources. This is the first phase, now we could ask questions through our actions. In about a week’s time we should receive partial answers through a buck’s physical reaction. For instance, our actions come in the form of using what are probably the world’s most powerful deer attractant scents, they are designed to work for up to 5 days or longer, through rain or shine in the scrapes and on the licking branches. We constantly change up by using different scents on each visit to keep the bucks interested and curious. The expected buck’s counter-actions will come in the form of expanding the scrape. In time each deer run will become so well defined that they will tell us exactly which trails the bigger bucks use, where his bedding area is (by back tracking), he will also tell us how big he is by the size of his tracks and how heavy he is by how deep his hooves sink in the dirt. This is what I mean by opening a dialogue. Mock scrapes and scrapes in general are not as seasonal as the vast majority of old school hunters believe. These scrapes are the equivalent of our internet to deer, and bucks are capable of scraping all year long, it’s simply a form of communication to them. If I had to choose one tactic over the rest it would be mock scrapes, we utilize them all season long. Like most hunters our favorite time for scent use is the all important pre-rut/rut time frame when the thoughts of every buck (of age) turns to reproduction, and of course like every hunter out there, we also use doe in estrus type attractant scents. But unfortunately there are highly ineffective times for scent use. The first (and worst) happens to fall during the early part of bow season where we have very few tactics to rely on, and the second falls after the rut. If you were to add both time frames together you will discover it covers a significant portion of our total deer season. If ever there was a problem that needed a solution, it was this one. After much trial and error we discovered certain patentable characteristics in proprietary synthetic scents which led to the inventing of “She- Duction”. It’s role is to specifically cover these two dead periods with its ability to heighten a buck’s sense of curiosity much beyond normal, (the stronger the smell of the scent, the stronger the attraction to a buck), and it all came about because we focused on a deer’s strong sense of curiosity tinged with a dominant buck’s territorial instincts. Nobody has ever merged these two known buck behavior patterns together, until now. We have always considered curiosity as a weakness that any hunter could exploit. Consider this, 75% of deer attractant scent use is geared strictly toward a buck’s sense of curiosity, and the other 25% is pre-rut/rut related doe in estrus type scents. Each has their time and place. Two years ago I was able to take a huge, gorgeous 11 point buck that had been nocturnal. I had spent considerable time bow hunting him when he finally made a critical 1st mistake by responding to a mock scrape with much too much aggression. Overkill, was my first impression when I discovered what he had done. This buck had just given up more information than he probably intended, and it would ultimately get him killed the very next morning. He spent considerable energy destroying big branches off of the same tree that held the licking branch above our mock scrape. He continued by kicking dirt 20 feet away and finished his tirade by making his own scrape near my scrape. His message was clear, actually it was more that a message, it was a strong statement. He was telling the world and any local or neighboring contenders that this was his territory and his intentions were to stick around and answer to all challengers. I knew timing was critical being so close to the rut. So I created another scrape near his scrape, informing the aggressive buck that his challenge has been accepted. My hope was to force him into another mistake that hopefully would stall him long enough until shooting light, you will never shoot a mature buck unless he himself makes a mistake. I sprayed three different powerful scents in the scrapes knowing that the buck could not possibly decipher their message. This is the incident where the inventing of a new tactic called “Cluster Scrapes” was born. Even before daylight I could hear a buck grunting, then as more daylight filtered in I could see the shape of a big body, he was going from one scrape to another sniffing so loud that I could hear him from 75 yards away. Legal shooting light had finally arrived and the buck not realizing that he had just made the worst mistake of his life was slowly ambling toward his bedding area, down the same trail where I was on stand waiting for him. Fast forward to last year’s muzzle loading season. We hunt in several different Southern Michigan counties and on 8 different farms, by the time we rotated back to the same farm where I took the big buck, the second rut in December was about to kick in. Earlier in the season we scouted this farm and found some mild scrape activity on the same scrape where I took that big buck the year before. Nothing to write home about though, which led us to believe that no new dominant buck took over the territory which is what usually happens in farm country. What we found this time on that same scrape absolutely shocked us. Broken branches, dirt sprayed all over, and this new buck even opened his own scrape near our scrape, an exact duplication of what we had found the year before. We normally pull our trail cameras early to avoid the temptation of checking them and to avoid disturbing the area. So, on this hunt we would depend on the sign left by the buck. We found plenty of tracks that indicated the culprit was a good size buck and based on the large tracks Greg choose to hunt this area. I was working a buck on a different farm. Since we didn’t know if this new buck was nocturnal or not Greg decided not to take any chances and would use the “Cluster Scrape” tactic again. He then refreshed each scrape with a different scent. The next morning Greg positioned himself on a high vantage point about 125 yards away from the scrape site. Greg’s muzzle loader is a custom (made in Michigan) Ultimate Firearms in 50 cal with 180 grains of magnum Triple 7 pellets and a 300 grain Hornady SST bullet, topped with a 3×10 power Swarovski scope. We not only use these guns exclusively during our regular rifle season here, we have taken these super accurate and powerful guns to Africa where we used 200 grains of triple 7 pellets and astounded the PH (guide) by dropping several big game animals at 275 yards on average. After the hunt Greg related the story to me how he had witnessed an exact replay of what had happened to me the year before. The buck came in grunting, taking his time to loudly sniff each scrape, and repeating the process over and over again until Greg could plainly see through the gathering light that the buck was a definite shooter. Here is where the story goes off script and takes on an odd bizarre twist that you only hear, or read about. As Greg was lining up his cross hairs behind the big buck’s shoulder a movement caught his eye, suddenly another, even bigger buck entered the picture from behind the first one and shockingly charged and gored the other buck with his antlers and chased him off, thus inadvertently saving the first buck’s life. The bigger buck began to do exactly what the other buck was doing, he went from scrape to scrape sniffing loudly then amazingly he ended up broadside over the same scrape where the other buck was standing. Once Greg got over the shock of what had just transpired his hunting instincts took over and he lined up his cross hairs on the new buck. The big buck fell a short distance later, but he would leave us with some lingering thoughts. Was he the buck who aggressively left his calling card, or was it the smaller buck who left the sign? Only time will tell, but what we do know is that there is another possible future contender in the neighborhood.
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Fred once again is sharing his vast knowledge of Michigan big buck hunting at this year’s Woods-N-Water Outdoor Weekend. If you love deer hunting, you don’t want to miss this highly informative seminar. Fred speaks from unparalleled experience and has the proof to back it up. He is Michigan’s number 1 ranking trophy hunter with 56 bucks in the record books of Commemorative Bucks Of Michigan, with the majority taken with a bow, and is the only hunter in Michigan’s history to tag 4 trophy book bucks in one season, 1990, the last year Michigan had a 4 buck limit.
New Deadly Tactic… “Cluster Scrapes and Scent Confusion”
By Fred Abbas
Out of all of our deer hunting tactics nothing has performed so consistently as mock scrapes, they have proven to be our single most productive tactic year in and year out. Consider this, mock scrapes are absolutely the only means a hunter has in which to communicate directly with a buck. How else can you personally ask a buck a question, and get an answer? Scrapes and licking branches are simply a form of communication between deer and bucks are capable of using them the year round, and they do. Once a mock scrape has been opened and expanded every single visiting buck will tell you exactly which trail he is using to get to the scrapes, he will tell you how big he is by the size of the tracks he leaves behind, and he will also tell you how heavy he is by how deep he sinks into the earth, he will even tell you exactly where his secret bedding area is located.Who better to ask a question than to one posed directly to a buck himself, and get an unbiased truthful answer, and you will get an answer. All of our mock scrapes on each of our farms start out small, about 10” around and we apply as many as 10 on each farm starting as early as a month before the season opens, even sooner on new leases. By starting our scrapes so early it offers us the opportunity to learn many things about a buck, and at the same time we are actually conditioning him into a habit that may cost him later on. Since there are very few useful deer attractants to choose from during this early time frame we had to actually invent our own knowing that deer urine’s are totally meaningless in late summer and early fall. Recently we changed our original formulation when we discovered one that seemed to be more appealing to deer, and yes, I will divulge this new formulation at my seminars as well. Once you begin a scrape and the deer expand it you should continue applying scent (usually about once per week )until either the hunt ends or the season ends. That may require gallons of scent and is one of the main reasons why we had to invent our own. The different ingredients for this formulation can be purchased at Walt Marts for about $10.00 and you will be able to make many gallons of scent at home. Within one week you will know if a particular scrape is worthy of your time. Notice how a buck can communicate with you, if a scrape receives no activity the buck has spoken, he said (through my interpretation), I don’t like the area you chose and I won’t be back. If the scrape expands the buck is talking to you again and telling you that he likes this spot and WILL return. Eventually every single scrape that continues to expand will become a full blown scrape where the messages between deer begin to flow via urine’s, gland secretions, and saliva onto the licking branches and into the scrapes, especially during the pre- rut/rut time frame. Once the process of local buck participation escalates bucks from the surrounding farms will be drawn to these scrapes to add their opinions as well.. A very busy and exciting time for all, bucks and hunters alike.. Despite the bucks answering all of our questions over time they are unable to tell us about their true antler size. Now is the time to find out who is who by setting out our trail cameras before we place our stands. Up to this point the only thing that we really had no control over was when a buck would visit a scrape, if he’s coming at night, which is usually the case, it does a hunter very little good. Witness the many trail camera pictures posted by hunters, the vast majority are taken at night. If ever there was a problem needing a solution, it was this one, and we intended to do something about it. We needed to find a way to neutralize and then exploit this type of situation, it was a big problem for all deer hunters who use deer attractant scents. As inventors we firmly believe that there is a solution to every problem. In our search seeking a solution the first thing we looked into was a deer’s life cycle, which revolves around food, water, safety, and reproduction for answers, and found nothing there that could offer us a solution for that particular problem. We then looked into every hunting tactic that we had used to exploit one weakness or another of a buck’s that worked for us over the years. Finally one old tactic virtually jumped right out at us, CURIOSITY, we knew immediately that we were on to something that may draw a nocturnal buck into a scrape during day light. In the past we had used curiosity successfully many times in other situations, and we even considered it to be a buck’s weakness that was exploitable. We knew that we needed to invent something extraordinary, and after much trial and error we did, when we developed and patented the world’s strongest deer attractant scents, “She Heat” and “She-Duction” along with them being so powerful that they are able to last several days on site through rain or snow without the hunter having to return to refreshen the scrape. The stronger the scent, the stronger the attraction. We even removed the often fatal hunter self-contamination factor by removing the need to handle cotton balls and other scent hanging devices. The theory behind the theory was that by creating such powerful scents a nocturnal buck, or any buck for that matter, would more than likely keep visiting the scrape which in turn could lead him into making a mistake by lingering too long on site and getting caught in day light. Truthfully speaking, no matter how skillful the hunter, he will never shoot a trophy size buck unless the buck himself makes a mistake. It seemed like a sound idea and it did have strong merit, but we felt that the usual scent application on a single scrape probably wouldn’t be enough to arouse a nocturnal buck’s sense of curiosity high enough to do what we wanted him to do. We needed to find a way to draw a much higher level of curiosity out of a buck and basically confuse him enough as to keep him in the area longer. The idea of cluster scrapes was born, and now we just needed to find the right buck to test it on. As the bow season progressed we were seeing a lot of different bucks, some really nice bucks too, all coming into the scrape areas. Just before the rut I rotated on to one of our newer leases in Jackson County. We knew that there were a couple of dandy bucks on this farm, we even captured a few night pictures of them working our scrapes. The first scrape I visited astounded me by the buck’s sheer aggressive nature, he delivered a strong message to all by destroying big branches on a bush and a tree, pawing dirt everywhere, followed by him working my scrape and then him making a new scrape mere feet away from my scrape, a rather strong territorial message. We had pulled our cameras prior to this time but knew that this buck had to be a big one by the damaging signs that he left behind. His strong message plainly stated that he was the dominant boss buck around here and that he would hang around for any challengers, and I totally believed him. Since the rut was right around the corner my fear was that he would be drawn out of the area by some hot doe. Now would be the time to try our “cluster scrapes” theory in an attempt to force this nocturnal buck to make the mistake I needed. My answer to him came in the form of multiple mock scrapes surrounding his scrape. I used DIFFERENT powerful scents in each of the scrapes to confuse him and to heighten his sense of curiosity much beyond normal in an effort to stall his return to his bedding area until after daylight. His challenge had been answered, now it was his move. Most hunters make a critical mistake by using a single scent throughout the season not realizing that it is purely curiosity that draws a buck in the majority of cases and one scent rarely keeps his interest for long. I then back tracked his tracks showing the trail that the buck used to get to the scrape and the same trail he used to return. I set my stand at an interception point down the trail about 75 yards away from the scrapes. The very next morning just before day break I could see a huge form working the scrapes and grunting softly, he spent considerable time at each scrape, going from one scrape to the other, never once did he lift his head to look around. It was most gratifying to witness the intensity of his concentration while he attempted to decipher the messages in each scrape, especially since he had just put his seal of approval on an untested new tactic. This buck was doing exactly what I had hoped he would do… he was following a script that I had written. Unwittingly he had allowed daylight to creep in on him. He had a big wide and high rack, but what really grabbed my attention was his perfectly matching brow tines, they must have been at least a foot long. I was having trouble controlling my breathing and my heart wasn’t doing much better. In an effort to gain control I looked away from the buck, when I looked back I was astounded to discover that he was in the center of my shooting lane sniffing the scent (She Heat) that I had put there to stop him exactly where I wanted him to stop. I couldn’t believe what had just happened, then when reality set in my hunting instinct took over. The buck was now standing broadside to me, his attention totally riveted on the scent, I slowly drew my Mathews bow aiming right behind the shoulder and released. I clearly saw the arrow slice through the big buck with a double lung shot. Soon after, the hunt turned into a family affair once word got out via radio. Both granddaughters, Alyssa and Kaitlyn took up the blood trail while my son Greg and I and my brother Allie climbed to higher ground to scan for the buck with binoculars. We spotted the downed buck about 75 yards in front of the girls who were painstakingly following the specks of blood, one drop at a time. Their concentration was so amazing that neither noticed that the buck was directly in front of Kaitlyn. We could see she was about to trip over the buck if she didn’t look up. We had to laugh when a few seconds later Kaitlyn finally discovered the buck was mere inches in front of her, she screamed so loud we imagined every buck in the country ran for the border…. She had found my buck. We followed the jubilant girls to the fallen buck. It was a great ending to a thrilling hunt of a majestic animal that would leave our family with a lifetime of cherished memories, what more could one ask for.
Fred and Greg turned a love of hunting into a successful business with their inventive minds forming A-Way Hunting Products and A-Way Outdoors television. In an effort to give something back to the hunting community they have created a new business, “Invention Consulting” where they are able to help struggling inventors reach their dreams without falling into the usual money pitfalls along with avoiding the high costs of doing business with mold makers and manufacturers in a very competitive industry. This highly knowledgeable duo will thoroughly walk you through the whole process from A to Z.
If you’re a new or a diehard deer hunter looking for fresh ideas and new tactics, you don’t want to miss Fred’s highly informative seminar.
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