Tips & Tactics

How To Get Aggressive for Big Bucks

How To Get Aggressive for Big Bucks

By Mark Melotik

As a longtime whitetailer and writer/editor, I’ve had the pleasure of picking the brains of some of the nation’s most-successful deer hunters. One of them is Lone Wolf Custom Gear founder Andrae D’Acquisto. He’s often eager to share his extensive knowledge and consistently offers outside-the-box strategies that have helped make him successful over the years.

One of my favorite discussions with Andrae included his thoughts on hunting bucks aggressively, a strategy he’s fine-tuned. It eventually led to him to being one of the pioneers of the hang-and-hunt strategy so popular today.

“Let’s say I’m going to a new property I’ve never hunted before,” he said. “In years past, it would have taken me almost a whole season to learn that property, to learn where the deer are bedding, and traveling. These days, I like to go there two weeks before I hunt it. I’ll walk virtually every inch of the property and learn where most every deer beds, and I’ll read the sign and jump specific bucks. And I can learn all that I need to know in basically a weekend of scouting.

“At other times during the rut, because I do so much in-season scouting, I’ve found that when bucks have found a doe in heat, I’ll know it because I’ll jump several bucks in a tiny area,” Andrae continued. “Somewhere in there will be a doe in heat that’s bedded. Another indication is the bucks won’t jump up right away and run off. They’ll kind of stand around and jog off, but linger. I like to jump right on those spots and hang a stand immediately. To find that kind of a situation just by hunting would be almost impossible.”

He said he is amused when other hunters tell him their hunt was ruined because they bumped a buck, thinking it won’t stop running until it gets to another county.

“They just don’t do that,” he said. “They have a home range, and if you know it, and know where a buck is bedding, the better off you are. That’s the best information you can have. If I know where a big buck is bedding, I feel it’s just a matter of time.

“Also, there’s a time to go running around and looking for sign aggressively, and a time to be stealthy,” Andrae continued. “When you know you don’t want to screw up a spot while trying to locate where a big deer is bedded, I go in with the wind in my face. And as soon as I jump a big buck, I drop down, out of sight. Often, they won’t even know what bumped them.”

He said it’s often difficult to get people to change their thinking about bumping a buck.

“Few people have the confidence to hunt that spot, maybe because it’s something they read over the years,” Andrae said. “I just can’t wait to dive in there. A lot of it has to do with the size of the property. If you only have a 20-acre area, you certainly don’t want to bump a deer onto the neighbor’s property. But when I hunt 400- to 600-acre parcels, sometimes I’ve intentionally pushed the deer and stacked them all on one side of the property. I’ve been doing this enough that I can really manipulate the deer, and how they react. Would I do that on 20 acres? No.”

Copyright 2024 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd