5 Ways Bowhunters Can Stop a Buck in His Tracks

The best way to make a killing shot on a deer is, first, to make him stand still By Mark Kayser

buck

whitetail buck

A buck, stopped with a grunt, tries to home in on the source of the sound.Charles Alsheimer

Bullets are fast. Arrows are slow. Failing to take that into account when you shoot at a moving buck can lead to a bowhunting debacle. If you want to place your broadhead accurately, you need to bring that buck to a stop.

1. A Call for a Pause
Deer vocalizations work wonders in attracting bucks into bow range, but sometimes they can prove a bit too effective. Using a call to stop an unpressured buck in a tranquil setting should be a last resort. Bucks have the ability to pinpoint sound precisely, especially in close quarters. Your call from above may transform a buck into a string-jumping champion. Although grunts always seem to work on outdoor-­television programs, it's best to use them judiciously.

2. Scent Stoppers
Like your dog at the fire hydrant, deer stop to investigate the smells left by others. Mock scrapes, drippers, and simply spraying nose-level vegetation with deer urine can have the stopping ability of a brick wall. Put your aromatic distractions out in advance or disseminate them in a shooting lane that positions a buck to investigate in a quartering-­away position. Buck and doe urine can both be effective.

3. Block His Way
Trails in thick brush or tight funnels are great places for buck-stopping detours. You can make a deer pause in an X-marks-the-spot location by crisscrossing logs to block a trail. Make sure you are scent-free before nearing a shooting lane and then add just enough forest debris to create obstacles. Or don latex gloves, saw off a brushy cedar branch 2 to 3 feet in length, and toss it onto the trail in a predetermined shooting lane. Deer routinely stop to smell a freshly fallen branch.

4. Distract Them With Decoys
As herd animals, whitetails pause to acknowledge other deer. Make that other deer a decoy. Never set it out where the meeting will be a surprise, and make sure it's positioned to benefit your shot. Bucks generally approach a buck decoy head-on and move toward does from the rear. They'll often approach downwind of the decoy.

5. Foodstuff Stallers
Lastly, check your state's hunting regulations. You may be able to legally use bait or attractants to stop a buck. Corn, soybeans, salt, and mineral mixes all have buck-stopping ability. If treats aren't allowed, consider building a water hole or even adding a stock tank to a location to create a redneck buck tavern.

Making a good shot starts with practice in the off-season. Making a great shot in the field starts with a buck standing still.

Stop a buck on the move through brushy cover with strategic scent placement.