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Brent's Bass to Bucks Part II

Elite Series pro Chapman shows bow hunting, fishing go hand in hand

Brent's Bass to Bucks Part II
Chapman says one of his biggest things in bow hunting is setting realistic goals. “Setting goals just like we do in fishing. That helps me get ready before the season starts.” (Courtesy Brent Chapman)

This is the second in a series of eight articles on Bassmaster Elite Series angler Brent Chapman’s best bow hunting tips

Click here for Part I

Brent Chapman is a successful bowhunter. He’s also a successful angler, having won the biggest title in the game in 2012 as the Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of Year.

He believes archers could benefit in a day of deer hunting by mimicking how professional anglers approach their day. This is the second in a series. The first covered preparation from the physical things to the mental.

This installment covers some of his best advice on bowhunting whitetail deer.

Click the image to see photos of Brent’s Bass to Bucks
Brent’s Bass to Bucks

“One of the biggest things is setting goals,’’ Chapman said. “Setting goals just like we do in fishing. That helps me get ready before the season starts.

“If this is your first year out, it may be, ‘I want to go out and just be a guy who gets comfortable seeing deer. If I'm lucky enough, maybe get to harvest any kind of deer or even a doe.’ Nobody gives does the respect they deserve but if you live in, let’s say Florida, your expectations of killing a Boone and Crocket deer probably shouldn’t be set real high. It is the same for me living in Kansas, the odds of me catching a 10-pound bass here are nil to none.

“You’ve got to kind of know what your expectations can be and set them accordingly. In 2000, I finally got permission to hunt a place and my goal that year was to kill a young deer because I had never killed one. I ended up killing a 168-inch buck, so I got pretty darn lucky. Either way, setting goals should definitely be a big part of your hunting.

“Knowing your area and having realistic expectations of what you can do there is really important. But then, expect the unexpected. The deer don’t always do what you think they’re going to do.

“The biggest deer I ever killed came in with 10 minutes to go and just like every other deer I had expected him to come and circle around and give me a perfect 25-yard broadside shot. All of a sudden, where he’s supposed to turn and go out in front of me, he turns and goes behind me.

“I always tend to trim shooting lanes more than not enough, because I remember cussing my buddy as this deer is walking behind me. I literally had to kneel down on the stand and shoot under some tree branches. My buddy was like ‘Oh, they won't ever come back there. They don’t ever go that way.’ Sure enough this deer did the opposite of everything else.


“I’ve seen deer come into areas and I'm like there’s no way a deer will come through that. And here they come right where you least expect it. I’ve learned that you really have to be prepared for anything to happen.

While most of this discussion centers on shooting big bucks, Chapman feels you should never overlook the does.

“Everyone wants to go kill a buck, but I’ll tell you, I’ve learned a lot about taking deer by shooting a lot of does. If you can kill a mature doe, you can kill a buck anytime, at least get the shot off. Getting a shot, that moment of truth when the deer is within 30 yards, getting drawn back on a mature doe and shooting a mature doe is the hardest thing out there in bow hunting.

“Typically a buck comes in and they’re by themselves. When a mature doe comes in, she’s usually with two to four or five other animals that are on high alert. Shooting a mature doe will really help increase a person’s confidence and make them a better hunter because if you’re fooling all those deer you’re doing something right. Typically during the rut if you’re around those groups you’re going to have some big bucks to follow.”

Next: Chapman admits you can’t beat a deer’s nose, but you can control your scent.

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