The Secret To Dominant Buck Kills

August 21st, 2009 / Posted by
The Secret To Dominant Buck Kills

By Ted Nugent

I have come to the conclusion that I just don’t have the touch or patience to ever become a world class big buck killer. Now don’t misinterpret that to mean I am giving up on trying to figure the beasts out. And I sure as hell aint buying chicken. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut, arid I have luckily bumbled into a few monsters over the years. However, I have had the privilege to get to know some of the world’s truly master deerhunters, and I’m a different animal. The names Claude Pollington, Myles Keller, Fred Bear, Bob Foulkrod, Wayne Peeples, Bob Fratzke, Bill Winke, Bruce Cull, Ben Lee and Mitch Rompalla are just a few that immediately come to mind. Some I know intimately and have come to call close personal friends. Others I know casually from encounters at sporter events, and some just through their writings and public information. They are, however all considered BloodBrothers of the Great Spirit. But, to the man, I do know this-, they are not MotorCity MadMen, that’s for sure! They are easy going, low key, quiet, thinking men, with a passion and natural touch with the wild. I’m just too dadblamed uppity! But at 50, I’m getting closer to a more pure predator function. They are all dedicated to knowing the mystery that is the whitetail deer and its wild horneground. And just as importantly, they are expert marksmen. They live the life of deermen, through and through. You and I have much we can learn from these gentlemen.

Master Secrets
The pros know it: The most important aspect of bowhunting is eliminating the whitetails main line of defense…their nose.
Use scent-free clothing
Use cover scents
Use attractants.

With the recent taking of what is expected to become the new world record whitetail deer, Mitch Rompolla of the Traverse City, Michigan, area, may very well be the perfect example of master deernut. With full-time to apply to his love of deerhunting, at 50 and retired, this whitetail wizard , back in 1958, took one of the first bowkilled whitetails in his then homestate of Missouri at the tender age of nine, thoroughly confounding the local conservation officers in that early day of bohunting. He has lived in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan for many years now, and manages to defy overwhelming odds, tagging a Midwest giant, record book animal nearly every year afield with bow and arrow. To accomplish that with such consistency is truly uncanny. He lives it.

After speaking with three of the greatest; Bob Fratzke, creator of the respected Winona Wool Camo clothing in Minnesota, Bruce Cull of Dakota Archery and Sports in Yankton, SD, and superman Myles Keller, also of MN, I have come to discover a relatively simple technique that keeps resurfacing over and over again and again in their hunting style. It’s called “scent posting”. Now, putting out commercial deer scents is no secret and surely nothing new BUT, doing it year round is a bit off the beaten path. Using the Manton, Michigan made HAWG synthetic scent product, Mitch Rompolla says he started his artificial scrape In February of 1998 in preparation for his November encounter with the 38-inch, 12-point giant. ThatÕs a full ten months before any rutting activity really gets cracking. And Bob Fratzke, who nails a trophy beast every year in heavily pressured Minnesota, runs his scent line throughout the entire year. These master deermen swear by it and have the heads and stories to corroborate their claims. Meanwhile, I have seen it with my own two eyes on swamp Nuge.

“I play the wind to its fullest, de-scent and cover scent everything, and of course wear my all rubber boots.”

I use Buck Stop products, made right here in Stanton, Michigan, and have had good success with them for manv vears, bringing in good bucks and does for me consistently. Combined with attractant scents, I would never fail to use cover scents as well to help increase the odds my way. We always hear that it is impossible to fool a deer’s nose, but between aggressive personal hygiene, cautious de-scenting of our clothing and equipment, the awesome Scent-Loc outfits, plus the incredible rise in commercial scent products availablewe could very well be on our way to getting close. Time all this with the wildness of the rutting season and we just may have a crack at the kevlar defense shield of his majesty the mature whitetail dominant buck. . .Maybe.

Applying The Strategy
I begin with intense scoutin. I take ultra precautions to avoid alerting the deer of the area to my presence, especially since I am penetrating the nastiest hellhole I can possibly discover in my chosen huntzone. This no-man’s land is where Kahuna Boy will be. I play the wind to its fullest, de-scent and cover scent everything, and of course wear my all rubber boots. I enter the sacred huntgrounds as if I am actually hunting, immediately after the season when fresh sign is at its most obvious. Here in Michigan, the usual snow is a Godsend. Finding the most remote scrape I can find, that includes reasonable ambush potential. I clear the scrape with a childÕs small bamboo rake, doubling the overall size- Be very careful not to touch anything that could leave even the faintest of human scent. I then add a full bottle of Buck Stop Ruck ‘n Buck or their Buc Plus scent directly to my enhanced scrape. With a sturdy stick, I rake a few lines on the open ground within the scrape, thereby duplicating the look of a bucks spread hooves. I have witnessed bucks do this on numerous occasions, and I believe it gives it that final added touch. With this now stinky stick, I rub it thoroughly on the overhanging licking branch. At this point I take the scratching stick out of the woods with me, even though I wear rubber or de-scented gloves when handling everything. You CANNOT be too careful if a truly mature, dominant buck is your target. These old boys are near omniscient.

An important trick I have come to use everytime, is slightly clearing a trail for my approach and departure routes – to and from the stand site. The fewer weeds, limbs or forest debris I come into contact with in his neighborhood, the better. Don’t hack an over obvious walkway, but remove enough interfering vegetation to keep from scratching your clothing for noise and scent purposes. I use this strategy at all my stands well before the open season.

I try to freshen my prime scrape sites every two or three weeks, sometimes more, but never less than monthly. Some of the guys swear that any urine will do. As a trapper, I render body fluids from the animals I trap, and do my best to save urine from each deer I kill, too. Bob Fratzke says he even pees in the scrape himself. He’s my hero. In fact, after shming an enjoyable National Field Archery Association course with him a number of years ago, I found myself in a situation where I put his advice to use, and lo and behold if I didn’t arrow a beautiful 130 P&Y class buck in Nebraska. I had just freshened a small scrape with my own urine, let out a subtle grunt, and in came this handsome buck upwind to my ambush perch. Bingo! Backstrapping is believing.

I hang my treestand about 30 yards away, anticipating the bucks to approach the scrape from downwind. An upgrade to trophy hunter mindset must be made, allowing the very difficult decision to pass up shots at lesser bucks when they are close and broadside. For us opportunist bowhunters, that will be a major hurdle to overcome. A meticulous awareness and application of intense stealth discipline will be more important at this stage of the game than in any other type of hunting we have experienced in the past. The deadliest predator within must reign supreme, more aware, quieter and catlike in our readiness to pounce if the beast arrives. And he will give no warning my friends. Does the term “cocked, locked and ready to rock, doc” ring any bells?

“When a decent 2 1/2year old 8 point gives us a shot, we must bite the bullet and hold off. “

When a decent 2 1/2year old 8 point gives us a shot, we must bite the bullet and hold off. This is a great introduction to selective, quality deer management. And don’t forget, never shoot a button buck IF you can. Take those antlerless she-deer for good herd balance in the majority of deer ranges. A golden rule of the dedicated trophy hunter is that we cannot shoot the smaller bucks if we truly want a crack at the beasts. Say a prayer for the wildthings at this point and ask for strength. Nobody said it’s gonna be easy.

My problem over the years is that my spirit of adventure gets the best of me, and I always head for the maximum action zones. Since I began my bowhunting adventure in the early 1950′s, I have come to crave my deer encounters. They were hard to come by back then. Over this long and thrilling hunt career, I tend to seek out the hunt area that produces the most sightings, rather than the biggest buckzones. I just like to see a lot of deer and shoot some. I am also always driven to try a new hunt location, thereby reducing my shot at the big boy. One prime truism that must be restated here is that any legal game taken cleanly with the bow and arrow is certainly a trophy in anybody’s book. These are the good old days of deer hunting with opportunities at their best ever. The name of the game is to get out there as much as possible and maximize the glowing quality experience that is every moment afield. Each individual must chose his or her own level of adventure. The Spirit of that Wild is always a trophy for the soul, no matter what.

So I just might upgrade my trophy buck dedication in the upcoming season. Those older boys are so much more of a challenge. I have learned from the masters, now it’s just a matter of patience- Maybe the MotorCity MadMan will get a little time off for good behavior, and El Beasto Buck could be mine. Hunt hard. Hunt smart. Hunt safe. Hunt legal. And always hunt with the Great Spirit inyour heart. Then every hunt will be special. Now let’s slow down, back off, elevate our awareness, get serious, and try for the biggest, baddest, most challenging monster of the swamp. It can be done. Goodluck, Godspeed and may giant backstraps be ours!

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