There is as much luck as skill involved in getting a big buck during bow season. A person can practice and do everything right, but not be where “your buck” passes within range.

Prior to the rut, I spend a fair amount of time scouting and checking cameras to see what bucks are in the area. This tells me where they frequent prior to breeding season, but when the rut starts, everything changes. Most of the resident bucks will remain in the area and new bucks will also invade. None of them will travel their daily routes as before.

Bucks in rut cover a lot of territory in search of receptive does. They may range several miles in a 24-hour period, taking little time to eat, drink or sleep. Most times, they will use well-worn trails to cover the most area in the least amount of time.

The secret to successfully getting the big one is being in the right place at the right time. I firmly believe, if you have not had a buck walk into range, the best plan of action is to wait a little longer. They will eventually show up.

I do not think moving to a different area will necessarily increase a person’s chances. Over a period of days, almost every deer in the area is going to pass by any given point on the farm. If one deer passes by, chances are good, several more will also. The secret is being there and being ready when it happens.

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A person can increase their odds by finding a trail near a scrape or a rub. A person then knows several deer per day will be visiting that tree. Finding a trail with cover on both sides leading to bedding areas or favored feeding or drinking places will also help.

There are several places on the farm that seem like ideal locations, and deer have been taken at most of them. A nice straight tree to place a stand, near a well-traveled trail, between feeding and bedding areas, with a scrape or rub nearby makes a perfect hunting spot.

The “sweet spot” was first discovered by Kent. The area is where the pasture meets a hickory timber.

Read more from Walter Scott.

There is a thick growth of cedar trees in the pasture with a path clear cut next to the fence. The path leads down the hill from the neighbor’s clover field to the edge of the lake.

Deer can bed down with protection in the cedars and travel to food or water along the fence. Kent hung a stand in a hickory tree next to the fence where he could see both directions along the trail. He was in his stand early and stayed late.

His persistence paid off. He got a beautiful buck one foggy morning as the deer used the path past Kent’s tree to venture out in search of a doe.

Over the years, at least five bucks were taken within 25 yards of Kent’s tree, all of which have been mounted. People do not spend the money to mount little deer, so that says something about their size.

During the rut, deer move around so much, most any location will work, given enough time spent hunting. A few factors will increase the odds of getting heavy traffic passing by, and it never hurts if a person can find that perfect sweet spot to hunt.