Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro killed a trophy buck that he didn’t know was on his property until just before the season started. After doing a little scouting one day in a field on his 30-acre farm, he saw two really big deer than got his blood flowing, but it was the last he saw of those deer.
“One was a gigantic 6-point that had an odd rack. I couldn’t see the rack on the other deer real well, but the deer was huge,” said Phillips, who put out a corn pile and set up a trail-cam that day, but those two deer never showed up on it.
Right away, Phillips began seeing another deer show up on the camera, and this deer wasn’t shy. “It was a big 11-pointer in full velvet, and he must have pushed those other two deer away, because they never showed up on the camera at all,” he said.
“And the 11-pointer was coming in broad daylight. Morning, noon, and evening, that deer was showing up and eating from the corn pile. I couldn’t wait for the season to start,” he said.
Phillips set up a stand that he said he wasn’t exactly happy with. “It was just an awkward place to put up a stand due to a lot of factors, but the deer was coming there every day, so I wasn’t about to let that place go without hunting it. Because of too many factors to name, the stand ended up being only 9-feet tall and really close to the corn pile. About 15-yards away from it, which I wasn’t entirely comfortable with,” he said.
Phillips camouflaged the stand with vines and branches to the point that is disappeared into the surroundings, but still, as soon as he put it up, he noticed a stark change in the big buck’s behavior.
“The only days the buck showed up after that is when there was a south wind. That buck knew something wasn’t right, and a south wind would make sure he could smell anything that could be in or near that stand,” Phillips said.
Knowing he would get busted anytime he hunted with a south wind, Phillips decided he would hunt that stand only when the wind was in his favor. But the more he thought about it and observed the deer’s behavior, the more he realized, he would never see that deer unless there was a south wind.
“I can’t stress enough how definite his pattern was. If it was a south wind, he showed up without fail. With any other wind, he did not come. I decided my only chance was to hunt him on a south wind,” said Phillips.
Using a smartphone app called ScoutLook, Phillips watched for a south wind. He sprayed himself good with Dead Down Wind, and got in the stand. The first day he sat there, he saw nothing. Another south wind occurred a few days later, so he sprayed himself real good again and climbed into the stand with his Hoyt Maxxis 31 bow. After sitting for some time, he was getting doubtful about his chances, but things changed in a hurry.
“I heard a twig snap. As soon as I looked, I was drawing back because the deer was already in the corn pile. I put the pin on his right shoulder and let fly. The deer jumped, then ran directly under my stand and crashed through saplings for 60-yards before falling,” said Phillips.
The mainframe 11-pointer green-scored 140 3/8, and is Phillips’ fifth deer that has measured over 140 in the past five years.
Aside from the free ScoutLook app, which Phillips said will increase the success rate of any hunter who pays attention to it, he is religious about going into the woods as odorless as possible, even when he’s not hunting.
“Even when I’m just checking my trail-cams or putting out corn, I wear rubber boots and Latex gloves to keep my scent out of there. It’s improved everything about my hunting, from getting better trail-cam photos to having deer come to my stands during daylight hours,” he said.
– For more tips on staying odorless in the woods, read here.