By: Dan Johnson
It’s that time of year where the velvet is starting to come off and the whitetail buck starts to break away from their summer bachelor groups and move to a new fall range. In order to prepare for this adjustment, I head into the timber one last time before September hits to move my trail cameras off of the summer mineral stations to travel corridors, inside corners, pinch points, staging areas, and popular fence crossings to catch their natural movement.
This year while I was out making the move, I was caught in a little thunderstorm. Actually, it was a full blown thunderstorm with lightning striking all around me, heavy winds, and blinding rain. To be honest I was a little scared. During the storm, I decided to hop the creek and take a shortcut back to my truck, and that just so happened to be across private property. And it just so happened that in the process I walked in front of a couple trail cameras. Because I did technically trespass, I wanted to stop by the landowner’s house and let him know that I did walk in front of his cameras because I wanted to get out of the storm. He was cool with it and understood.
During the conversation, I brought up a buck that I knew lived on his property and on occasion visited the property I hunted. I told him that I had 3 years of history with this buck and was curious if he had ever seen or had any trail camera pictures of the buck I was talking about. He smiled and confirmed that he knew what buck I was talking about. He went on to explain that he actually hit the deer in November of 2016 but never recovered the buck. Although my heart was a little broken, it was good information to find out as I had planned on putting more time in that area to try to connect with that buck. Then after I checked my cameras, I too confirmed, that this buck has yet to show up on camera
To share or not to share.
If there is one thing that I have learned over my 11 years of hardcore bowhunting, it’s that most hunters do not like to share any information about where they hunt or the deer they are chasing. I get it, I have experienced it first where sharing information has brought additional pressure to the area that I hunt. It actually really SUCKS! But there are instances, like the one I mentioned, where the information that was provided will actually benefit me this upcoming year.
Although there is still a slim chance this buck could be alive, I have a gut feeling he is just a pile of bones by now. Because there are no other bucks on that part of the farm that I am interested in chasing, the information provided to me helps me make a decision to spend less time in that area, thus increasing my odds of being successful on another buck.
Communicating with others about big bucks and hunting spots can be can be a double edged sword. On one hand, you gain more knowledge that will help you plan your hunting strategy, while on the other hand, you run the risk of giving up a key piece of information to another hunter and the next thing you know you have treestand in the tree next to yours.