“Super Buck or Bust” was my very first article; written back in late 1991. Petersen’s Bowhunting published the article in May of 1992, and it was popular enough that the editor assigned me a few more pieces and eventually a column in the magazine – which still exists today. That is how my writing career got started. I have scanned actual pages from the magazine and pasted them here.
WHAT I HAVE LEARNED SINCE 1991
This was a surprisingly decent article despite the fact that I didn’t have a lot of experience under my belt back then, but I have learned a few things since 1991.
First, I don’t do nearly as much traditional scouting now as I did back then. That is probably the biggest thing I have learned.
I don’t go into the cover looking for rut sign in mid-October any more. For sure, with trail cameras I can learn a lot without walking and leaving scent, but even before I started to use cameras, I was tapering away from in-season scouting in favor of using topo maps and aerial photos to predict likely stand sites. Then I would sneak in with a stand on my back and the element of surprise in my back pocket.
Now, I hunt the same areas much more often than I did then (when I was hunting only on permission). So my stands are in place and I have a much clearer idea of where to hunt. Still, all those “hang and hunt” missions in the early 90s, produced a wealth of learning experiences – about how deer react to cover and terrain. It was a great education that still serves me today.
Second, I don’t hunt small woodlots as much as I did back then. It was a different whitetail dynamic in those tiny islands of cover in big ag country. I kind of miss it, but it was tough hunting, especially after the farmers picked the corn and it became super hard to sneak into these spots without alerting deer. I learned that deer cycle through woodlots.
One day there may not be a single deer there and the next day there may be several. They are much more nomadic in these small pockets of cover so you can’t draw conclusions from old sign or boring days on stand – it will change quickly.
Third, I mention the role of luck. Even back then I realized that luck was always going to play the deciding role in any whitetail hunt with a bow, and I have certainly learned and re-learned that lesson many times since. This has given me a greater perspective on the tough days; they are going to happen no matter how clever you think you are. Every day on stand (no matter how uneventful) brings you one day closer to filling your tag!