Whitetail Hunting photo

You know this buck. He rarely ventures out of his sanctuary in daylight hours. He won’t be caught chasing does during the rut. You’ve seen him in trail-cam pictures but never in the flesh. This buck seems unkillable by legal means, but if you know where he beds during the day, you actually have a decent chance with a late-season bump and hunt. This Hail Mary tactic hinges on the fact that many bumped deer will circle back within a couple of hours. But it only works if you play it right. Here’s how:

1. Step Softly. This buck is likely in the gnarliest thicket on the property. Carefully approach the bedding area from the downwind side. Move quietly, and use binoculars to glass ahead. You want to nudge him softly. You don’t want him to catch your wind. In the best case, you’ll see the buck sneaking away.

2. Analyze the Ground. Once your buck is gone, move in and figure out exactly where he beds. Make a mental map of all the trails that connect to his specific bedding thicket. Note the direction the tracks are running. Pick up on every possible detail to determine the route he’ll take back to bed.

3. Wait Him Out. Considering all the trails and tracks you just studied, plus the fact that a buck will often circle 75 to 100 yards downwind to scent-check his bedding area before moving in again, choose your stand site accordingly. Then set up quietly with a climber or light hang-on, so as not to spook other deer.

4. Cross Your Fingers. Is it a long shot? Sure. The late-season home invasion is a last-ditch effort. It will only work once. (Repeatedly bumping the same buck from his bed will move him into the next county before long.) On the other hand, it may put an otherwise unkillable buck on your cabin wall.