These Halloween tricks on monster bucks should work well

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat
As Halloween approaches this weekend, one trick that deer hunters can play on a monster buck is by using deer scents (where legal) to fool his nose. A buck's sense of smell becomes increasingly susceptible to such scent pranks over the next few weeks as the peak of the mid-November rut approaches in Texomaland.

It’s the first week of November and there’s finally a chill in the air, leaves are changing colors, and acorns are falling to the ground almost everywhere.

So can you still play a trick on a monster whitetail buck on these days following Halloween?

For one, don’t be afraid to call right now, either with a grunt call or a set of rattling antlers. As the pre-rut activity ramps up and heads towards its rutting peak in mid-November, bucks right now are growing more susceptible to calling tactics, so always keep such calls handy.

Second, unless you’ve got a white oak tree raining down acorns, a persimmon tree filled with ripe fruit, or a trail cam showing a monster deer visiting your corn feeder on a regular basis, it’s probably time to stop thinking about food so much and instead focus on the travel corridors.

To me, that means it’s almost time to sit for hours on end in a bottleneck. You might wait a long time before seeing a buck move by, but then again a hunt can go from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds when a buck is cruising about scent checking for estrous does.

Third, now is also the time that scent becomes a huge deal in the deer hunter’s world. Obviously, you should play the wind right and do what you can to keep your human scent in check anytime you venture into the deer woods.

But also keep some doe-in-estrous scent handy, and maybe a few other types of whitetail scent, all that can help lure a deer into shooting range. It might not work every single time, but on more than one occasion, I’ve seen a buck come in with his nose to the ground, all but putting it into a film canister filled with scent doused cotton balls.

Finally, don’t forget to spend a few moments each week practicing with your weapon of choice, especially if it’s a compound bow or traditional bow. It only takes a few weeks of carrying a bow but not shooting it for skills to erode, not to mention a few times of raising and lowering a bow into a tree canopy for a sight pin to get knocked off.

In fact, such dedication may have helped Jim Lillis, the longtime bowhunter from Sherman and a retired Ducks Unlimited employee, seal the deal on his massive typical buck from Hagerman NWR back in 2007.

Why is that? Because the day before Lillis began his hunt at the local refuge, he went out and sent a couple of dozen arrows down range to make sure they were still hitting in the 10-ring.

The next day, they did, except this time, it wasn’t the 10-ring of a 3-D buck or the bull’s eye of a bag target in the back yard. Instead, it was the boiler room of a 176-inch plus buck, the largest typical whitetail that’s ever been arrowed in Grayson County.

If you’re hoping to knock the Lillis buck from its lofty Grayson County Record Book perch this weekend, put a few of these tricks into your backpack, get out in the late October woods, and see if you can play a hunter’s trick on a monster buck.

Because when you do that, who needs a candy bar, right?