Editor’s Note: Each season Rick White of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the other members of Hunter’s Specialties’ Pro Hunting Staff consistently take big bucks. They’ve developed a simple formula that always pays off. Yes, taking more time, spending more effort and hunting with more intensity than the average hunter is willing to spend taking a big buck is a hassle. However, if you’ll follow the Hunter’s Specialties pros’ proven secrets to success, you’ll have more opportunities to take big bucks than ever previously.
Question: Rick, what’s your biggest buck to date?
White: I’ve taken a buck that scored 180 points on Boone and Crockett with a gun and a buck that scored 176 with my bow.
Question: Rick, how many bucks will you take in a season, and what will these bucks score?
White: Each season, I’ll take four to six bucks scoring from 130 to 150 points on Boone and Crockett.
Question: Rick, how do you consistently take more big bucks than the average hunter?
White: I’ll scout year-round – following the close of deer season, during turkey season and throughout the summer. The average hunter only scouts 1 or 2 weeks before the season.
Question: Rick do you know which deer you’ll take off a piece of property before you hunt?
White: I’ll usually know the bucks I’ll attempt to take. This knowledge doesn’t ensure I’ll even see these bucks or have a chance at taking them. But before hunting season, I have a good idea of the caliber of buck I’m hunting on each section of land, and I know which buck I want to see when I go out on a hunt.
Question: Once you’ve located a trophy buck by personal scouting or scouting with a motion-sensor camera, what do you do on the morning you plan to hunt that buck?
White: I believe scent elimination is the major key to my success and the success of the other Hunter’s Specialties’ pros. If you go back and look at all the Hunter’s Specialties’ video productions, you’ll see that each year we consistently take large bucks. We’re all super-conscious of scent elimination. The first thing I do when hunting a trophy buck is wake up 45-minutes earlier than all the others in the camp to bathe with Hunter’s Specialties’ Scent-A-Way Bar Soap. The night before a hunt, I’ll wash my hunting clothes using Scent-A-Way Laundry Detergent and Fresh Earth Dryer Sheets. From the dryer, I’ll immediately put my hunting clothes into a Hunter’s Specialties’ Scent-Safe Storage Bag. I try to leave camp as soon as possible to avoid picking-up odors from camp, and so I’ll have time to dress in my hunting clothes when I reach the field.
After I return from a morning hunt, my clothes are placed back in the washer and dryer and stored in a scent-free bag in preparation for the next morning’s hunt. I really believe that taking this extra time to shower, reach the field before the others and dress in the field are all steps I take that are worth the hassle because then I can hunt scent-free and drastically increase my odds for taking a trophy buck.
Question: Rick, what clothes do you wear from the shower to the field?
White: If the weather’s warm, I’ll wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt that I’ve washed in Scent-A-Way Laundry Detergent. Once I’m in the field, I’ll change into my camouflage hunting clothes. If the weather’s extremely cold, I may put on my base layer (underwear) under my sweats to travel to the field. When I reach the field, I’ll change into my hunting clothes. Once I leave my vehicle, I spray my boots down using Scent-A-Way Advanced Formula Spray and walk to my tree stand.
My scent-elimination program doesn’t end when I reach my stand. I always carry a bottle of Scent-A-Way Advanced Formula Spray with me and spray-down before I even climb the tree. In my tree stand, I spray my hat down every 30 to 45 minutes because a great amount of heat and odor are released from the head. If the weather’s warm, and I’ve been sweating, I’ll spray down frequently in the tree to maintain my scent-free status and use Scent-A-Way Wash Towels to clean my body while I’m in the stand.
Question: Rick, that’s a lot of hassle to endure to take a buck. How many deer do you take each season that come in downwind from you?
White: I’d say the majority of the deer I take come in downwind from me. When I’m hunting the Midwest rut, I use calls quite a bit. I’ll use the Hunter’s Specialties’ True Talker Deer Call and Primetime Rattling Bag. Nine times out of 10 when older-age-class bucks hear your call, they’ll circle the region where the sound’s coming from and enter the site from downwind. Most hunters will hunt a stand facing the direction from which they think the buck will come. Many hunters will set up their stands downwind from the direction where they expect to see the buck. Inevitably, mature bucks tend to circle downwind and enter your stand site from downwind. I’ve learned that using Hunter’s Specialties’ Basic Scent-Elimination System allows me to take the bucks that come in downwind.
Question: How close before have deer come to your stand from downwind?
White: I’ve had deer walk around my tree stand in a full circle before and walk under my stand from downwind.
Question: Rick do you use motion-sensor cameras?
White: Definitely. Motion-sensor cameras enable me to scout for deer without being on the property. Most of my cameras are located on Hunter’s Specialties’ Vita-Rack sites. In many states, you can’t hunt over the Vita-Rack spots, but you will see deer there to help determine whether or not big bucks are on your property.
Question: How many deer do you take with your bow and how many with your gun each season?
White: Fifty percent of my bucks are taken with a bow, and the other half are taken with a gun.
Question: Rick, you hunt many out-of-state locations. How do you scout an area that’s not close to home?
White: Because I travel so often, I’ll stop by each hunting location at some time during the year after deer season to determine what the deer are doing in this particular region. If I don’t have a chance to make a trip by the property, I’ll rely heavily on the landowner or the outfitter I’m hunting with to tell me where he’s spotting big bucks. For instance, this year during our Oklahoma hunt, the outfitter, Todd Rogers, began scouting for me and scouted with me as soon as I reached the property. I always try to reach my hunting destination the day before a deer hunt to locate my stand sites and hang my stands.