Five Deer Hunting Secrets from an Illinois Trophy Whitetail Expert

[1] HIS MANTRA: "Keep your distance." This time of year, you can't crowd a good buck and expect to score, Ware explains. "I do my serious ground-pounding in spring. Now it's all glassing and video work at or near food sources."

[2] HIS SECRET WEAPON: "Naturally, I use a quality spotting scope and trail cameras to observe bucks from a distance, but I'd say my secret weapon is my electric Bad Boy Buggy [badboybuggies.com]. It allows me to drive toward secluded fields on summer evenings in almost total silence to avoid spooking bucks." In lieu of a Buggy, Ware recommends burning some boot leather to approach prime glassing areas quietly.

[3] BIG-BUCK KNOW-HOW: "A lot of guys assume that late-summer feeding patterns don't mean much come fall, and it's true that a buck might disappear from a field where I've watched him for weeks," Ware says. "But from my experience, that deer won't be far away. I start looking over my aerial photos for other possible food sources. Usually, I can find him again." So don't lose faith when you temporarily lose a buck.

[4] BIG-BUCK MYTH: "I guide deer hunters from all over the country, and most of them believe you need big woods to find a big buck." Ware shakes his head. "Huge mistake. Some of the monsters we hunt spend most of their time in the weirdest little places. A brushy fencerow or a patch of locust trees that juts out into a field--a big buck feels safe in these types of locations. He can see almost anything coming, and he hardly ever gets bothered. Don't overlook these spots when you're scouting."

[5] HIS SECRET PLAN: "Once I know where a big buck is living, I'll set up at least three stands to accommodate different wind directions," Ware says. "Our prevailing wind here is from the west or southwest, so my primary spot is on the northeast side of a trail or terrain funnel, where I think he's most vulnerable. I never let a client sit that spot unless the wind is perfect. That's where the other stands come in. Often, they're not as good as the primary setup, but I can usually do something to sweeten the deal: Plant a little food plot or, if it's an open area, use a decoy and encourage my client to rattle and call. The main idea is that we keep hunting a good buck near his core area without bumping him out. Eventually, we put a tag on him."