Targeting Specific Buck - Success???


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How many of you have successfully targeted a specific buck and figured out his core area and killed him?

I have been very fortunate to kill one of my 'hitlist' bucks each of the last three years. However, I can't claim to have patterned them and killed them on THEIR pattern in THEIR core area.

I have been successful because I hunt a really good funnel between doe bedding areas back in the timber.

I have listened to a few podcasts on the subject and read a few articles. The farm presents challenges because there isn't one obvious bedding area. I'm dealing with a 30:70 field:cover ratio and that ratio shrinks depending on how far his core area is from me. There are countless pockets of thicker cover, benches, and points that should be perfect for buck bedding. We also have a really good acorn crop so food won't be far from many of them. I got pictures of him consistently last year beginning in late September through January. The pictures I have this year are early in the AM. I got one daylight pic of him last year in late January.

My plan is to try to cut some big tracks (there are other big bucks around) and follow them back to the timber. I am going to spread cameras around and see if I can catch him with any consistency (or at all). I'll try to get them in pinch points, but there really aren't any great ones where he might be going back in the timber. I thought about creating mock scrapes on trails or just putting corn out at each spot. I hate to go too deep because I really don't want to push him out if he's bedding close. I just don't think he is because I rarely got pictures anywhere close to first/last light.

Any ideas? Should I just do what I've been doing and hunt the funnel when it's time for the bucks to find the does?
F19735C4-816A-42A0-83E2-0EE47A15493A.jpeg I haven’t been too consistent with that. I haven’t kept records, but I’d say less than 30% of the time have I killed a buck that I saw on camera. The rut always seems to bring in new bucks and I don’t become obsessed with one in particular. I try to kill a buck that’s more than 3.5 years old and I’m not particular which one. On the properties I hunt, if he’s that old, you better take him, he won’t give you too many chances.

I tried for this buck last year but he didn’t cooperate and never showed up after the season was over like he had been. I think someone else punched his ticket.
I have patterned and shot specific 4 yrold bucks in the past, however my success ratio is probably no much better than the batting average of a major league baseball player and there's generally a strikeout or two for every successful hunt. My keys to success would be, you have to get an idea of what his core area is, and hunt only the perimeter until he makes a journey to the edge. Spreading no flash cameras around with a white 5lb salt block at each one in June and July is our recipe for figuring out who lives where, then keeping an eye on territorial changes as the rut progresses.
My personal five rules to shoot a big buck, in order of importance starting at one down to five; Rule number 1: Don't shoot a small one. Rule number 2: Stay out of his core area. Rule number 3: If the wind is wrong stay home. Rule number 4: Have multiple stand options and never overhunt one specific stand. Rule number 5: Considering all the other rules, always hunt your best spot.
Thanks for the feedback guys. I’ve shot three bucks I was after each of the last three years. I’m definitely due for a strikeout . I’m more than willing to strike out on this one.

I’ll spread the cameras out and see if I get lucky. I’ve been waiting for late October to start hunting for the last several years, but I might hunt low pressure stands on cold fronts until then. I’ll definitely keep it low impact and focus on the acorns.
I have targeted a specific deer, patterned him to an extent and connected but I have also done the same on other deer and ate tag soup many times also while passing the number 2 or 3 buck on the farm because I wanted the one certain deer. Anymore I take the top two to three deer off the preseason camera survey and target the group. Odds are much better that way. I have seen over the years that some other deer will move in and take up residents during the season that was never photographed during the survey and always wonder where they came from. I’ve owned my farm for 15 years now and have 6 cameras on 170 acres so the likelihood of missing a deer during the survey is unlikely.
Never done it. I’ve hunted specific areas that I thought a specific deer might be, and I’ve killed a couple bucks I’ve had pictures of, but that was just dumb ass luck. Seems near an impossible task to me, but I’m sure guys like G do it regularly.

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Every deer I have taken since 2013 has been the specific deer I was hunting.

Same here. Through much habitat manipulation and hard work I had my property set up just for that purpose. To give myself the best chance at my target buck. I was able to harvest my target buck I had on cameras sooner or later For a good number of years . Sometimes I had to go into rifle season Now if a better one came along they would become instant new target buck but, that never happened. I would see every single buck I had on camera never one out of the blue so just a matter of waiting it out . I have since got rid of that property and last year I was unable to connect on my target buck but he was worth waiting for. Just didn’t happen. Overall I’m happy to have a high success rate however when you do this always prepared it might not happen.
We have had limited success targeting a specific buck I think for a couple of reasons: (1) Like some others replying here we just don't have the time to do that. We are just happy to get some venison. (2) We hunt in an area with heavy winter snows that force deer to migrate out of our area; because of this and the loss of bucks each season to winter-kill, predators, and hunters we usually don't see the same bucks from one season to the next.
Like Native...I have killed my target buck for many years...I only really have 1 target deer this fall and of all the deer I have followed through the years he is the most secretive. I passed him last year once on the off chance my wife might get a shot at him and she almost did but the light ran out on her in rifle season when he was making his way in. If my calculations are right he is 7.5 years old this fall and as nocturnal as he has always been. May be tag soup but if so it’s all about the journey for me at this point in my life...
I have hunted a specific buck two times in recent years. The key both times were being able to scout and pattern them from a very long distance and having them patterned in their summer patterns. They are very predictable when they are in a summer pattern. It also helped that the terrain was open vs timbered.
The first was an 8 point that we watched enter a 40 acre alfalfa field from a woodlot every morning. He always entered in the NW corner.
I waited until I had an East wind and sat on the ground 30 yards from his entry point. I was at full draw with him at 20 yards but decided his mass wasn't what I had seen through the binoculars. It was a very fun hunt though.
The second was a 10 point that came down a brushy fence row on the East side of the same alfalfa field and fed in the SE corner at dusk about three nights a week. My only set up was on the south edge about 40 yards West of that corner. There was a pretty deep creek bed between my setup an the field that would draw my scent in and away from the field in the evening. I had him patterned and had him in front of me on two separate evenings. Unfortunately I never could get him within range until after dark. Another 20 yards and he'd be on my wall. Again a very fun hunt even though I did not harvest him.
On both occasions we were able to sit in the truck across the highway in a pasture that was 1/4 mile away and 1000 feet higher drinking coffee.

Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I’m planning to pick at the edges of the big oak stands the next few weeks. There are four big blocks of mostly white oaks that he could be in. I’ll hunt the one that the wind sets up best for and try to get lucky.

If that doesn’t work, hopefully he’ll cruise by old faithful.

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Have never tried to hunt an individual deer. I always have about 2-3 that I designate as “shooters” based on age, and I hold out for one of those. My property gets really “bucky” around Halloween and lasts about 2 weeks, then gun season hits and it’s a ghost town until the late season when the deer start to herd up and hit the food we leave for them. I normally hunt public land the first month of the season trying to fill a doe tag or two.

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I normally don't. I did for a couple years until I killed the big drop-tine buck, and it took a lot of fun out of hunting, for me. I only bow hunt, that makes hunting a specific buck even more difficult.
I’ve been hunting specific bucks for the last 8 years or so and have a 100% success rate (except for this year). I generally shoot one or two bucks a year and 5+ does. Some success is from skill, some is from low hunting pressure, lots is from luck, and most is from patience. I know the properties I hunt like the back of my hand, and I generally have a pretty good inkling of where the deer will be. Some years I don’t have a target buck and just shoot does.










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I have on Three Occasions.
All times were in Pa and All Times I had watched them several nights before Season from a distance through binoculars.

One was when I was a youngster. I would park then walk up over a hill to a Corn Field and then walk the Rows to a spot where I could see several hundred yards of Tree Line along a couple of fields. I picked out a certain Buck and actually got to see him in Velvet and the very Night he shed it right before he came onto the Field. His Horns were Bright Red from the Blood. I had him down to the Minute and was in my Stand sitting and looked at my watch and when it was time I stood up and 5 minutes later he walked out and stopped right in front of me at 25 yards like I knew he would.

One was on a Tree line behind my House. Again I walked out onto a hill in a field and found a place to hide where I could watch the Tree Line. I picked out this Buck and marked the Oak Tree he came onto the Field by every night. Hung a stand on that Tree and shot him when he walked out and stopped to survey the field like he done every night.

Last one and the Nicest One I every shot with a Bow I again parked then walked up a dirt road to a spot where I could look back over a cut corn field to watch the Tree line. I picked out one 8-point and never went there until the night I hunted him. Went back into the woods a bit to an opening and climbed a tree with my climbing stand. Heard him coming before I saw him and was standing waiting for him.

Those were all back in the days when I could Scout out Deer like that. Now here in Florida I don't have access to Property where I can do that so it's a whole new Ball Game. The Buck I shot last year was my first for Florida and while I had several pics of different Bucks I had never seen this one until he walked into my view.
I’ve been hunting specific bucks for the last 8 years or so and have a 100% success rate (except for this year). I generally shoot one or two bucks a year and 5+ does. Some success is from skill, some is from low hunting pressure, lots is from luck, and most is from patience. I know the properties I hunt like the back of my hand, and I generally have a pretty good inkling of where the deer will be. Some years I don’t have a target buck and just shoot does.
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Those are some beautiful Bucks right there Sir!
So many bucks show up in places we hunt each fall, and so many disappear, that it makes it difficult to target a specific buck. The biggest place we hunt is 160 acres and most of it crop ground; so deer typically spend a fraction of their time on most of the places we hunt. We have been fortunate enough to kill bucks before that we had pics of, but I wouldn't say we were targeting them. We just try to set up in likely places and hope one of the big boys shows up.