Patterning key to sticking big bucks, gar and turkey

As passionate as Brad Doughty is about chasing trophy whitetails, he is also an avid bow fisherman in a quest for outsized alligator gar and boss gobblers.

And he has noted similarities in patterning gar and gobblers to that of setting up on a trophy buck.

“I like to bow hunt deer, which naturally led me into bow fishing,” Doughty said. “I got to watching those big alligator gar rolling on the surface of the Ouachita River and decided to give bow fishing a try.

“I caught some big ones using a deep-sea fishing rig and that was fun, but I wanted to try to stick one with an arrow.”

Doughty got into the sport pretty seriously, and has shot gar up to 200 pounds. And he said tracking down a big gar is a lot like finding a big buck.

“I pattern the fish,” he said. “In deer hunting, I find trails and thickets big bucks are likely to use, and in bow fishing I find those areas where I see big fish roll on the surface. I take note of what areas in the river they like, what time of day they tend to surface and other things like the weather, barometric pressure and such.”

His turkey hunting is done much the same way.

“I have taken 10 gobblers the past seven seasons on Jackson Bienville, and I have been successful by being observant,” Doughty said. “I look for areas where turkeys like to hang out, look for dusting sites, droppings, tracks and dropped feathers and such.

“Once I find such an area, I’ll get in there, set up and may stay all day because I know sometime during the day, they’re likely to show up. Much like a mature buck, an old gobbler will often seemingly ignore my soft calls but he’ll sneak in, totally silent, to check me out.

“That’s why you have to stay alert every minute you’re hunting, whether it’s a big buck or a big gobbler.”

About Glynn Harris 508 Articles
Glynn Harris is a long-time outdoor writer from Ruston. He writes weekly outdoor columns for several north Louisiana newspapers, has magazine credits in a number of state and national magazines and broadcasts four outdoor radio broadcasts each week. He has won more than 50 writing and broadcasting awards during his 47 year career.