Once you decide to target a real monarch—the buck of a lifetime—it means putting all your chips in the game. It means making life-altering sacrifices. You have to be dedicated, focused and determined. Are you ready? During the next 5 weeks I’ll provide 10 steps—two per week—to get you on track to killing the biggest, best buck of your life.
1. Make A Commitment
Unless you make a personal vow to target a trophy buck, you’ll likely stay locked in the same repeating deer season you’ve experienced since you picked up a gun or bow. As with most activities, it’s too easy to duck out and insert an excuse for a quick escape from hard work. Without a vow, you’ll go on hanging your tag on any old buck. As noted earlier, it’s going to take a sacrifice. If you don’t like to be away from home, don’t do it. If you don’t like to hunt in inclement weather, don’t do it. If you don’t like to practice like an Olympian, don’t do it. If you don’t like going home skunked, don’t do it.
Your family, career and cash will all be surrendered to meet your goals. Remember, you’re not just hoping for a chance encounter. Ten million deer hunters hope for a chance encounter. Do you know how many luck out? If you use Boone and Crockett Club's scoring system as a "trophy" benchmark, it begins at 160 gross inches for typical and 185 inches for non-typical whitetails to qualify for the awards program. It amounts to less than 1,000 Booner bucks. In short, it equates to a slim-to-none chance to shoot a Booner when compared to the millions of whitetail hunters in the field each season.
The best whitetail hunters I know spend several months preseason scouting and burn plenty of tire tread in pursuit of mature bucks. They maybe—and I mean maybe—shoot a big buck every other year. If you can’t make the pledge, you shouldn’t set your goals that high because you won’t be able to put in the time required, and you won’t enjoy your limited hunts because of your lofty goals.
It takes a committed vow to shoot a trophy white-tailed buck.
2. Show Me The Money
Even if you live in monster whitetail country, you’ll have to set aside enough cash each year to fund your commitment. Time off from work, food plots, mineral licks and all the essential gear—it's time to get serious, and that comes with a price tag. You can't simply count on luck if you're dying to kill a giant.
If you don’t own property, you’ll have to travel to where the big bucks live. With today’s price of fuel and a reliance on 4x4 trucks, that can add up to a huge gash in your pocketbook. You’ll be spending money for preseason scouting, hunting and possibly patrolling to keep others from trespassing on your big-buck turf. If you aren’t lucky enough to land free permission to get on prime private land, you’ll have to pay an outfitter or purchase a lease; again, big bucks for big bucks.
Leasing a farm or property is a top consideration, but you’ll likely be responsible for all stands, food plots and improvements to benefit your hunt. Oftentimes, that doesn’t include housing or food.
If time and money are at a premium in your household, teaming with an outfitter might be your best choice. Be sure to check references—dozens if needed. Tell the outfitter your trophy goal and plan to be a repeat customer for several seasons before a big buck crosses your crosshairs.
Your annual expenditure could easily exceed $5,000, whether you lease land or go with an outfitter, and costs could edge towards $10,000 annually if you lease a large property that requires food plot chores. And if you really want to go for the gold—set aside $1 million for the price of a small farm in premium whitetail country.
Getting into big-buck country often requires costly travels or steep access fees.