Hunting Nocturnal Bucks and Using Trail Cameras

I need advice, and that my friends is the reason I’m writing this article.

By: Dan Johnson 

It was on a hot summer day in 2014, after a long day of hanging tree stands and checking trail cameras that I was introduced to a buck that I now call, Gordon Bombay. In 2014 I added a couple more cameras to my arsenal and threw one up on a part of my main hunting farm that I have never explored before. When I came across this picture it sparked my interest. The body of the buck looked like he may have been a 3 or 4 years old, but that year I was chasing 2 bucks over 170”, so I put him in the back of my head. Needless to say, I didn’t have any encounters with Gordon Bombay that year, nor did I receive any additional trail camera pictures of him. I had a feeling that he spent most of his time on the neighboring farm with only the occasional trip onto the property I had access to.

Then came the summer of 2015. I can remember sitting at my mom’s kitchen table flipping through what I thought was a boring SD card. I about fell out of my chair when I came across this picture of an extremely wide 14 point monarch, it took me about a minute to realize this was Gordon Bombay from the previous year. Instantly my mind started brainstorming access routes and stand locations. Long story short, I only received one picture of him during the actually hunting season, and it was in the middle of the night in late October.

By the summer of 2016, this buck had been running around in my head on almost a daily basis. Because I had no daytime pictures of this buck and still had a gut feeling that he was living on another property, I was sure the chances of killing him were pretty low. Again I received summer pictures of Gordon, and again I lost my mind. Thant year I ended up killing a different buck early into my rut vacation and never got the opportunity to hunt or even check the cameras in the area I believed him to possibly live. Then, before the shotgun season started I took down my cameras and that’s when I received another picture of him in the early morning of Halloween.

So here’s the problem. Access. Access. Access. The property I hunt is surrounded by two different creeks and three different property owners. I usually have to come in from one direction and that that direction is through several ag fields to a parking spot then walking through more ag fields to get to my stand locations. Just imagine how many deer I am blowing out of those fields on a morning hunt.  I know what you’re thinking, just ask permission to use the neighboring properties to access your stands. Aside from one landowner, I did, and the answer was “Thanks for asking, but no.”

Other than asking the last landowner for permission, I feel there are only a couple options for me if I want to try to hunt this farm without blowing the deer off the fields. The first option is walking the creek, depending on wind direction, could be up to ¾ of a mile in a creek, to my stand location. Walking a creek can be hugely beneficial. However, it is a risk if you are solely relying on it. In the stream I am referencing, the water levels can rise a couple of feet on even a light rain making navigation more difficult. The other option, park the truck at the entry of the farm and walk the entire way into the stand. This is still a work in progress.

If you have any thoughts or advice, please comment below!