For Big Bucks Only

by Jeff Murray

I think I got this book from a library sale. Just for curiosity. As with Ride the Right Horse, I\’m not really the intended audience- so the rating reflects my interest level, not the book\’s actual quality. Reading it as an outsider (although I do have extended family members who are hunters), I couldn\’t really tell you whether this guy\’s advice on how to hunt whitetails is good; I don\’t know if the recommended gear is the best, or if the scientific studies referred to are the latest information. What kept me skipping through (I skimmed some) were the insights into wildlife behavior. Of course to be able to find deer in the woods (especially during hunting season when they are extra wary) takes some knowledge of their habits and responses to threat. Where will the deer go when pressured by different types of hunting methods? how do does or young bucks act different than older bucks. How do they use the landscape, and how can the hunter turn that to his advantage. What types of browse and tree cover do they favor, how does acorn (mast) ripening times affect their movements, what do they do just before and after a storm, etc etc. It was more interesting than I would have guessed.

The chapters detail how to use stereoscopic maps to find promising patches of habitat, how deer movements are tied to their favorite food supply (acorns), where bucks will usually be found in relation to their rubbings or scrapings, tips for hunting deer on farmland, around beaver ponds and in deep forest, scoping out the land before the season, using stands in trees, bowhunting tactics, how deer act in different types of weather, reading and following tracks, the importance of personal stamina and patience, estimating weight in the field and so on. There are some anecdotes and hunting stories in here, both personal accounts and ones the author shares from other hunters. While all the photographs are in black and white, they\’re pretty good quality. I\’d sketch from them if I were still drawing pictures. The writing style is easy and friendly with a light sprinkling of humor that kept me picking it up even when I realized it wasn\’t a keeper. For my shelf at least. I\’m going to give this one to my dad and see if he finds it useful.

It\’s published by the North American Hunting Club.

Rating: 3/5             216  pages, 1989

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