Your most tactical kill...

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby Lockdown » Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:22 pm

I want to hear about your most tactical kill.

The one that took the most thought or planning. Or maybe it’s a story of years and years of intel at a particular property before finally fitting the puzzle pieces together. What brought everything full circle?

It could be a series of “Ah-ha!” moments that lead to success. Or maybe you searched for weeks for specific tracks or sign before FINALLY finding it.

Or was it nothing more than getting extremely aggressive and going for broke?

Whatever the details are, let’s hear them!


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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby oldrank » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:59 am

Hmmmm, I have a few where I had to really out think other hunters. Its hard to pick one.

I have alot of kills out of one stand that really took years to stream line my technique there.

It all started back in 1999. I again just kind of stumbled onto the area. Really the reason I started hunting it was it was the left overs after my uncle's and brother picked there spot.

I hunted a permanent stand for a couple years and even after I bought my climber still hunted the same spot. Then one day my life changed forever. It snowed opening morning of gun season. When I walked out I could see fresh tracks entering this little unseen trail I had been walking by for years. I hunted it that night and killed a buck. Hunted next season and killed a buck...hunted again and killed a buck. That little trail opened my eyes to what was happening in that area and still to this day I am killing bucks off of that trail.

In 2017 I really put the timeline of how everything worked there and killed a really good buck. Opening day of gun last year I almost killed another big one. I'm not sure how many bucks or just deer in general I have killed out of that general area now. Alot of the racks and photos have been lost to time. I'm sure there are doe kills I cant even remember.

As for tactics. It's all about timing. If I see a scrape open up at this one trail crossing, it is on. That buck is running that pattern and I will catch him cruising on a good day. The trail connects two bedding areas. I always try and burn bedding area one first. That stacks bedding area 2 which is way more secure and gets ignored by hunters pretty much. Opening day of gun gets guys in the woods and they usually wind bump that bedding. It's like clockwork. 7:00 am and 12 noon deer will be moving out or in it.


Here are a few of my gun kills out of this spot.

I did a right up on how I killed my 2017 buck ( not pictured here) somewhere on here. That shows some maps n more details. Im on lunch n got to get back to work but I'll drop a link to that so I don't have to rewrite the story. He might be my most tactical kill. But all of these deer were from same area. I just was able to put it all together on him.

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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby Lockdown » Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:33 am

Good stuff Oldrank!

I also have a few that stand out. My 2011 buck was a fun one. I hunted my rut grove in the NE corner and didn’t see much. Landowner was out plowing and said there were several deer on the West side including a nice buck.

I decided to take my decoy and hunt out of the doorway of an old barn. It turned out that he was coming out of the very south end, and ended up not seeing my decoy because the barn blocked his view. I needed him to follow the edge of the grove just a little but he wouldn’t.

The next night I figured I’d try again and maybe he’d take a different route and lay eyes on the deke this time. No luck. He showed but did the same thing... stood on the edge of the grove then chased does in the plowing once it got dark.

I was down to the evening before shotgun season opened up. I didn’t think there was much chance he’d be there again, but I knew I had to try. This time I busted a move and went way south where I knew he’d see my decoy out in the field. I knew he wasn’t more than 100 yards away so I had to be super careful prepping my set up. I hid in some natural cover amongst a trunk and some buckthorn. I was worried he’d see me placing the decoy out in the open but I didn’t have a choice.

This time he must have seen it from inside the grove. He came out in broad daylight and was getting ready to attack my decoy. He circled with his ears pinned and I stuck him at 17 yards. It was an aggressive move that paid off huge. Using a tree stand would have been a huge detriment. Ground pound was the way to go.

My hiding spot
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He dressed 190 lbs
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby oldrank » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:27 am

I enjoy tactical stuff. For me most of my tactics involve figuring out the other hunters.

Dan brought it up recently when talking about Michigan. alot of guys are still setting permanent stands. That makes it pretty easy to figure them out because they never move.

One thing I do throughout our season is just put down the boot leather to figure out where everyone is. When I line up the people situation, weather, and get on buck sign odds are something will die.

I'd rather talk tactics over gear talk any day. Gear talk is over rated....lol
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby Kraftd » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:01 pm

hopefully this really gets rolling. I'm with OR, and I believe from your podcast with Seaz you're the same LD. I shoot a 12 year old bow and hunt out of a gorilla hang-on. Way more into tactics than gear.

I'll take Oldrank's lead and get more into a spot than a specific buck. This spot really drove me to the beast trying to figure it out. Its a private 30 acre marsh in IL. The property is split by a river and marsh for just about everything I can hunt but a few trees that are just on our side. A couple of other guys hunt it, but its a pain to get to the far side of the river and requires a canoe or kayak and a little gumption, so most of the time I have that to myself much of the year. The property floods regularly so conditions change a lot year to year and even day to day.

My first 4 years hunting the property I killed two good bucks and a yearling, but saw quite a few good bucks out of range. In the end I was basically hunting the couple of easiest trees to get a stand in. I was also over-hunting the crap out of it and would quickly go to seeing bucks cruising off property at 200 yards or so. During the 2013 season I found the beast and didn't end up killing a buck that year out there, but missed a GIANT. I thought he was at 30 yards or so because his body was so big but ended up he was 40 ish.

Anyway, that winter I walked every inch of the marsh and most of the surrounding floodplain woods and went back over all of the bucks I saw and killed and went in to 2014 believing I had it figured out.

The east property boundary is a wood line that sets up as a great cruising corridor. Most years there's maybe one or best case two doe groups using the property regularly, so very low doe sightings, but lots of deer up and down the river flat for miles. I'll run a cam some years and observe out there a lot and very rarely does it appear there is a local mature buck bedding on-site, or even just off of it, but the river corridor is probably the best rut cruising spot I've ever hunted.

One of the primary keys I've learned is which winds to hunt, and then to just stay the heck out and be strategic about when to go in, or sit observations sets across the river on bad winds to keep tabs on things. The wood line on the east running north and south has bedding to the east off-site, west in the marsh on some humps, and northwest in a swamp bowl off-site of it. Early on I tended to hunt north winds and south winds thinking my wind would be blowing between the bedding. Nope, My best wind now is straight east or west and I've honed in on a perfect tree in a little low spot with open areas on both sides of that I can paddle almost to the bottom of. the low area also funnesl my thermals away from bedding if the wind drops off in the pm. With these winds I'm blowing over no man's land either way and the bucks love to cruise on the cross-winds to check the river flat much more than north or south winds. Now, I'll only sit on those winds, with east being gold, especially if the weather is nasty and cold. Three years ago I tried to push it and started sitting 2-3 days a week the last week of October, and the deer were moving off property within two sits. Now, I'm a surgeon and my odds of killing on the days I pick are probably better than 50/50. I have a lot of non-beast hunting friends as why I don't hunt it more...

The last two years the whole property has been under water until the pre-rut, so no deer at all. I check two crossings with my kayak a couple of times a week, and now I know basically the exact water level that exposes the bedding and a buck will show up in the bedding as a rest spot for cruising like clock work within a day of the water level dropping. The last two years I've killed a three and 4 year old out of this bedding a day after the water dropped by checking an entry trail to the bedding for a good track from my kayak, seeing a track I was intrigued by and setting up, and bleating him out of the bedding to a decoy from 80 yards away from bedding.
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2018 Buck

Back to 2014, the year after I put the pieces together. I hunted mostly observation sets until November 1, a cold morning with a forecast west wind. I got to the property and the wind was northwest. Grrrr. I hung back in an observation set and watched a really good buck chase a doe right through where I was trying to get to, but would have blown them out if I sat there. Twenty minutes later the wind switched and I tore down my set and was in my target tree 20 minutes later. Thirty minutes after that I smelled a buck coming through the marsh from upwind (west) of me and the same buck popped out and I shot him three yards from the base of my tree moving away as he was heading back to the bedding at 10:30 am.

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I stayed out for two more weeks and had another west wind on a really cold day on November 14th that I could hunt the mid-day period, and moved my set north 70 yards to the tree I mentioned above that I figured out how to get a hang-on in after checking it with a canoe the week before. At 2 pm I saw a big doe moving up the treeline with a mature 10 in toe and killed him at 10 yards right before he got downwind.

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I've killed bucks off of this property every year since. I'd like to say its gotten old, but nope! Every year the conditions bring a little bit of a new challenge to figure out. In 2018 we had two swamp white oaks dropping acorns like rain opening weekend. I sat an observation in the am and watched three bucks, including a nice two year old 7 point go into bedding north of the property. That evening I killed him coming out of that bedding to the oaks like clock work.

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I hunt more and more different properties every year, but its nice to have my ace in the hole when I need it!

I'm working on being more patient on this property and keeping the itchy trigger finger off of the 2 and 3 year olds because it has monster potential, but that's a bit of a process!

2016 buck, netted 153" and dressed at 230 even.

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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby oldrank » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:15 pm

Wow Kraft's that was an intense read. I love how you monitor the water level on that one bed. I will put that one in my bag of tricks. Great write up.
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby oldrank » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:25 pm

Love the pic of the barn and the decoy Lockdown. Really puts the whole story together. I do not have much experience with decoys. After reading of yours and Kraft's success pulling bucks out of bedding with them it really seems like a dimension I need to dable in. Good write up.
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby thwack16 » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:27 pm

Great stuff so far!

Mine is likely my best buck and most recent. Dated the fat chick after scouting it the previous season. http://thehuntingbeast.com/viewtopic.php?f=287&t=47783

Hope to see this thread take off. May add a few more tomorrow.
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby Lockdown » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:20 pm

oldrank wrote:Love the pic of the barn and the decoy Lockdown. Really puts the whole story together. I do not have much experience with decoys. After reading of yours and Kraft's success pulling bucks out of bedding with them it really seems like a dimension I need to dable in. Good write up.


I thought of explaining it better when I was doing my write up, but was trying to avoid writing another novel ;)

The barn you’re referencing wasn’t actually the barn I was hiding in. About 60-70 yards left of that one, there’s a bigger barn that’s a little more in the open. That’s the one I was in. From there I can see down the entire edge of the grove. I had to set my deke on the North side for wind/spooking deer reasons (SE wind) and he was coming out south of me. There was a little too much brush in the way and he couldn’t see it. Once he got 15-20 yards out into the field then the barn itself completely blocked is view.

So in that pic, the buck came out 40-50 yards to the right of the pic then circled in to me.

The most dynamite set up for a decoy is in bedding during the pre-rut. You know how territorial they get...
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby Kraftd » Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:52 pm

oldrank wrote:Love the pic of the barn and the decoy Lockdown. Really puts the whole story together. I do not have much experience with decoys. After reading of yours and Kraft's success pulling bucks out of bedding with them it really seems like a dimension I need to dable in. Good write up.


I love calling to bucks and to me there is no better way to get a mature buck to commit than to pair it with a decoy. That said, I’m not brave enough to take mine on public. Too many crazies!
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby Lockdown » Thu Jul 16, 2020 4:42 pm

Kraftd wrote:
oldrank wrote:Love the pic of the barn and the decoy Lockdown. Really puts the whole story together. I do not have much experience with decoys. After reading of yours and Kraft's success pulling bucks out of bedding with them it really seems like a dimension I need to dable in. Good write up.


I love calling to bucks and to me there is no better way to get a mature buck to commit than to pair it with a decoy. That said, I’m not brave enough to take mine on public. Too many crazies!


I used a doe bleat can to call in what would have been my biggest bow kill. He came running! He hung up at 20-25 yds but was facing me. He stood there scanning for a while and when he couldn’t see another deer he 180’d and left. He knew better. I grunted at him in desperation and that turned his trot into a run :lol: smart buck

I bought a decoy later that night. It would have sucked him in for sure. When decoys work, they work REALLY well. But they can also cost you deer.

Btw nice write up KraftD!
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Re: Your most tactical kill...

Unread postby Kraftd » Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:47 pm

Lockdown wrote:
Kraftd wrote:
oldrank wrote:Love the pic of the barn and the decoy Lockdown. Really puts the whole story together. I do not have much experience with decoys. After reading of yours and Kraft's success pulling bucks out of bedding with them it really seems like a dimension I need to dable in. Good write up.


I love calling to bucks and to me there is no better way to get a mature buck to commit than to pair it with a decoy. That said, I’m not brave enough to take mine on public. Too many crazies!


I used a doe bleat can to call in what would have been my biggest bow kill. He came running! He hung up at 20-25 yds but was facing me. He stood there scanning for a while and when he couldn’t see another deer he 180’d and left. He knew better. I grunted at him in desperation and that turned his trot into a run :lol: smart buck

I bought a decoy later that night. It would have sucked him in for sure. When decoys work, they work REALLY well. But they can also cost you deer.

Btw nice write up KraftD!


Same to both of you on the write-ups. Kind of fun to have been around here long enough to recognize some of these deer and rehear the stories like buddies sitting around a campfire retelling their best tales.

I've honestly never had a buck booger up from a decoy. I've had plenty ignore it, but never turn tail. Now does, they will flip out sometimes. I actually killed a doe last year that saw my decoy and lost her mind. I've never seen a deer stomp that much, then she busted me drawing on her, but was so frazzled by the decoy she stuck around and got got.


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