In most German-speaking countries, the first buck hunt marks the start of the hunting year. Almost from the moment the season closes, every passionate deer hunter is already eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring. The start of the buck hunting season is always a special time. And, as in so many areas of life, the old adage applies for deer hunting too: “Good preparation is half the battle.”
the field work in your hunting grounds never stops. Checking hunting facilities after winter is a particularly important task, especially if the equipment is now a few years old. This work is simply part and parcel of successful deer hunting. Starting with sweeping stalking tracks, setting up salt licks, and numerous small repairs to hides and equipment – even if it’s just the creaky bench in the turret that probably distracts the hunter more than it does the deer.
What hunter hasn’t experienced this? “Let’s leave the buck alone for a year or two,” we say, then the following year he seems to have vanished into thin air. This is a classic occurrence, especially in wooded terrain. When you start confirming bucks in February or March, you often wonder where some old acquaintance has got to. And at the same time, you’re constantly coming across bucks you’ve never seen before. If we’re honest, this is precisely what makes our roe deer so fascinating.
But how can we confirm our bucks and get an overall impression? While roe deer in a field gather in bunches, allowing for very clear sighting of bucks in good light conditions using a spotting scope and binoculars, this is far more difficult in woodland. There are no bunches of deer here. Bucks are generally alone and practically invisible. Long stalking sessions in March and April, carrying only the EL Range and accompanied by a dog, are always great, but when it comes to confirming bucks, these stalking sessions are nowhere near as effective as using technology.
In the right locations, wildlife cameras can be an extremely efficient way of confirming bucks. Salt licks are a particularly good spot for a camera as roe deer will very happily eat salt during molting periods. During recognized transition periods, your camera will also capture images of furtive old bucks. Photos are a good way of observing bucks and their development over the years. It doesn’t always need to be an expensive camera that you lug with you to the hide or out stalking. The VPA variable phone adapter, is a compact and lightweight alternative. It allows you to connect your binoculars or spotting scope to your smartphone. You can then very easily take photos at the hide and while out stalking. This is useful not only before the start of the deer hunting season, but all year round. Over the years, these photos will help you select the right bucks for the harvest.
Many hunters rarely change their equipment. True to the motto: “never change a winning team.” After all, it’s still working perfectly and you’ve never had any problems with it. It’s served you well so far!
However, it’s important to test your rifle, ammunition, and optics combination before you go hunting. At the end of the season, there is a tendency to put everything away in the firearm locker and take it out far less frequently during the closed season. Even if everything is working perfectly from a technical perspective, it’s essential to check your firearm before buck hunting and carry out some test shots.
In many cases, you’ll notice that the target optics could do with another thorough cleaning, possibly because the heavy rain on the last driven hunt of the previous season has left its marks. Or you might need to fix a change in the impact point caused by the new ammunition pack. Even if it turns out that everything is working perfectly, diligent checks ensure you’re on the safe side and able to fulfill your responsibility toward the animals.
Influenced by his father who has also been his hunting mentor, Maximilian Busenius (alias The.Passionist) has been drawn to hunting for as long as he can remember. As he has always been very interested in the forest and its wildlife, he is now studying Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology to turn his passion into a profession. As a keen dog handler, it is working with dogs that gives him the greatest pleasure when hunting. To bring hunting closer to others, he shares his hunting experiences on YouTube and Instagram.