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Hunting Nocturnal Bucks

Big Mature Nocturnal Bucks are hard to Kill

As the season progresses in the Carolina’s and Georgia. Mature bucks get more and more wary of the pressure of hunters. Our long season in South Carolina is a double edged sword. It allows us to hunt for a long time, and thereby educate mature bucks of our presence.

To successfully harvest bucks late in the season, hunters have to take different methods to harvest these bucks. Many successful hunters will apply different tactics, some of the most successful totally change their methods. Hunting mature bucks is in many ways like hunting a totally different species. Bucks who reach 4.5 and even 5.5 years of age or older didn’t get that way by being careless. They are some of the most cautious and paranoid animals in the forest. Harvesting them takes the mind of a predator.

Hunters have to transition from hunter to full bore predator and apply techniques that will help them see the woods differently. For many, hunting mature bucks late in the season means getting very close to their core area.

Most hunters know that mature bucks have a ‘core area’. That place they feel the safest and most comfortable. As the season progresses, they seldom leave these core areas during daylight. So to harvest them we have to get inside their core area and get them where they sleep. This mean applying a predator’s mind to our approach. Predators don’t walk into an area, they ‘slip’ into an area unnoticed. Predators move through the woods quietly and stealthy noticing every step and every movement. Hunters moving into core areas have to do the same. Often we only get one chance at a mature buck in his core area. This will mean being on point the whole time we are there.

My preferred method of hunting core areas included using a climbing stand and hunting all day. If you have a buck picked out and know his core area, get in there early, at least an hour before daylight sometime earlier, and get situated for what can be a long sit. Bucks will move back to bed well before daylight and settle down, but after several hours they will almost always get up and stretch their legs. While they wont move far, sometimes only a few yards, being in place when they do get up will allow stealthy hunters to successfully harvest these nocturnal bucks.

Big bucks also know that few if any hunters are out in the middle of the day. On the coldest days, mammals have to feed to keep warm, these bucks will wait as long as possible before getting up to feed. And will often bed real close to their feeding area to keep from moving too much. Again, being in position and prepared to sit all day will help you succeed on harvesting these big bucks.

While many hunters have given up long before Thanksgiving rolls around, those who stick with it, and hunt hard and long will often be rewarded with big mature ‘nocturnal’ bucks.