Youngsville’s John Pecoraro spends most of the year catching bass, but when the fall arrives he turns to deer hunting — and he loves to chase the big boys at Lucky 13 Ranch near Dry Prong.
The property has produced some real brutes, so Pecoraro has learned how to fool these wily bucks.
Here are his keys to mid-season success:
1) Food sources — Locate a good natural food source.
“Acorns, especially white oaks, are a favorite food source,” Pecoraro said. “As acorns diminish, relocate to food plots or supplemental feed, corn, rice bran etc. — if legal in that specific area.”
2) Game cameras — “Look for buck sign, like scrapes and rubs, and then set a camera near or on the trail,” he said. “This is a huge advantage and contributor for a successful harvest.”
And he said don’t limit yourself to one or two cameras.
“Set multiple cameras out in different areas to see what your property has to offer,” Pecoraro said.
3) Locate does — If you can find a doe in heat, you up your odds.
“If she is in heat, the bucks will come,” Pecoraro said.
4) Don’t move too much — “Patience is a huge key to success,” he said. “Don’t bounce around from spot to spot. Designate one area that you put proper scouting time in — if a mature buck is there he will show up.”
5) Use rattle horns and grunt calls, especially if buck-to-doe ratio has been properly managed — “If you buck-to-doe ratio one 1:1 or even better 2:1, rattling becomes very effective,” Pecoraro said. “When a buck hears two bucks fighting, they often run in, not only to see who’s fighting but to service potential estrus does while other bucks are fighting.
“In the deer stand, I will generally rattle once every hour for 10 to 15 seconds. Too frequent often does more harm, and too long often gets you busted.”
6) Use scents — "Doe estrus scents or buck urine scent are very effective tools during the rut,” he said.
“I recommend Hyper-Heat or Hyper Rage by Southern Whitetail Scents,” Pecoraro said. “ This is local company that uses fresh urine with no preservatives, unlike most of the others."
7) Don’t shoot them all — If you want big bucks, they have to gain some age.
“One- and 2-year-old deer should never be shot,” Pecoraro explained. “It has been proven false time and time again that once a spike always a spike — this is simply a myth.
“Be selective; don’t shoot the first buck that steps out, or set goals on the caliber of bucks you plan to harvest. It is also very important to communicate with surrounding land owners or clubs to ensure everyone is on the same page.”