Deep-Woods Deer Hunting Tactics for Big Bucks

Three proven strategies for backcountry terrain

Deep-Woods Deer Hunting Tactics for Big Bucks
Deep-Woods Deer Hunting Tactics for Big Bucks

From Outdoor Life

Deep-Woods Deer Hunting

Deep-woods bucks spend their entire lives far from civilization and the stifling hunting pressure that goes with it. Heavy snowfall is the animals’ greatest enemy, and winter yarding areas like cedar swamps, their greatest ally. If you’ve got the ambition, determination and patience to hunt a deep-woods buck, go armed with a reliable firearm, a good pair of walking boots, food and water. You’ll also need navigation gear, such as a compass, an aerial photo and a topographic map. Then venture far from established roads and trails, and carve your path into the wild unknown. Deer here are few and far between, but the bucks are wide-bodied and wide-racked.

Here are three proven strategies for a variety of backcountry terrain:

#1 - Search for Signposts

Follow a Stream to a large ridge and look for one or two saddles that deer would use to cross the hogback.


“Then look for a signpost rub marking a buck’s territory,” says expert tracker Hal Blood (bigwoodsbucks.com).


Blood then looks for another group of signpost rubs and still-hunts between them. Tracks that veer off-course tell you to walk slower, while those in a straight line mean the buck is on a mission, so you’d better get moving.

Blood has also found that bucks like to bite off a little browse right before they bed so they can chew their cud while resting. If you find fresh tracks next to freshly nipped foliage, the buck is nearby.

#2 - Use the Buddy System

Hunting deep-woods bucks doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. When you find a fresh set of tracks, have the gunner follow them, while the other hunter moves to the right or left of the tracks, making wide, quarter- to half-mile arcs and then working back to the gunner’s track.

“If the wind shifts or the buck thinks it’s being followed, it will make a big circle and come back on its own track,” says R. G. Bernier (bigwhitetail.com).


As the gunner follows the deer’s tracks, the other hunter will continue making wide arcs, making the buck think it has gotten behind the hunter. When it does, the gunner will be in a perfect position for an ambush.

#3 - The Swamp Funnel Sit

Use your topo map to locate two adjacent swamps, designated by blue wetland symbols. Deep-woods bucks like to bed in swamps and use narrow strips of elevated cover, or funnels, to travel between them. Set stands on either side of a funnel to prevent being winded and dig in for a long sit.

These bucks search for food and breeding partners in home ranges that stretch for miles, so it could be a spell before one comes by. If the funnel is in close proximity to a stand of oaks, chokecherries or crab apples growing on elevated ground, even better.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

New Optimum and Optimum TS Downriggers from Canon

From rugged reliability to smooth integration of cutting edge technology across several different platforms, OSG's Lynn Burkhead learns that there's much to like about the new Optimum and Optimum TS downriggers from Canon.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Glenn Walker talks us through the soy-based technology that makes Lure Lock cases spill-proof and scent-proof. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a species Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology. Whitetail

Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.

Take advantage of the second rut and arrow a great buck to close your season. Whitetail

Bowhunting: Second Rut, Last Chance

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn - December 23, 2019

Take advantage of the second rut and arrow a great buck to close your season.

Master the hang-and-hunt strategy to unravel the deer rut. Whitetail

Field Skills: Go Mobile to Tag Rutting Bucks

Tony Peterson - November 22, 2019

Master the hang-and-hunt strategy to unravel the deer rut.

Hunters have a love-hate relationship with deer decoys. Here's how to get the most out of your next setup. Whitetail

Whitetails: How to Deke a Bruiser

Bob Robb - November 25, 2019

Hunters have a love-hate relationship with deer decoys. Here's how to get the most out of your...

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.