Illinois Outdoors at
RulesIllinois Outdoors at

Marc Anthony of Goodfield owns and operates Look Alive Taxidermy and Non Typical Hunter magazine. Anthony grew up in central Illinois and spent eight years as a commercial pilot before giving that up to spend more time with his wife Jan and three children, Victoria, Drake and Elesa. Anthony hunted on and off as a child but started seriously at age 30 and focuses on bowhunting for deer and turkeys. He's arrowed four bucks that meet the Boone and Crockett Club (net) standards and 20 Pope and Young Club qualifiers. Anthony is on the Pro Staff for Muzzy broadheads, Bear Archery, Vital Gear, Natural Predator, Non Typical Hunter and several other companies. He also is a member of the Outdoor writers Association of America, OWAA.


Non-typical Hunter

A Web log by Marc Anthony

Illinois Outdoors

New technique for early bucks

September 11, 2008 at 05:46 PM

New and innovative ideas always pop up year after year when scouting for big bucks. When I walk through the woods for the first time each season, I get excited all over again, just like it’s my first time in the woods.

Well, this year has been no different. I rekindled my hunting spirit again, so it’s official, I have the itch! If any of you have been following Non Typical (NTH) for the last several years, you know we do some crazy things like tie string through the woods before the early season in hopes a buck with a tall rack will bust those strings and show us his new home! It’s been a successful technique and we have some monster bucks on our walls to show for our efforts. This year I’ve cancelled the string technique and I’ll tell you why.

I decided why not let Mother Nature do the work for me?

In late August, I started my usual routine of sneaking through the woods, picking up strange objects and examining them, listening to the animals and so forth. It seems inevitable in August and September that I will end up eating a mile of spider webs and picking spiders off of my face at a rate of at least 3 or 4 times per hour.

I hate spiders. I don’t like them crawling up my arms, I don’t like them on my legs and I certainly don’t like them in my face. Every once in a while I will tease one with a stick while I’m bored waiting for a big buck to show his face. I like the kind of spider that gets real tough with me and takes swipes at me with his front legs and then tries to bite my stick. I then teach him a lesson! Wow, did I just admit how sick I am? OK, not to get side tracked, lets focus on the point.

Having admitted I don’t like eating spider webs, I will either duck everywhere I walk just to avoid the webs (which doesn’t work that well) or I’ll pick up a long stick and wave it 5 feet in front of my proposed path just to clear the way for me. Now keep in mind, in August and September, spiders are laying webs by the hours! They’re everywhere. I can’t walk 4 feet without using my stick to clear another path. It’s hard for me to remember the very reason I am walking through this forest is to tie about 1,000 yards of string from tree to tree at around 60 inches or so in height in hopes of having a big buck bust them.

So as I get my knife out, my string ready, etc., I walk over to an area that has no webs crossing the paths. I figure this will be a great spot to set everything down, get situated and so forth, without having to mess with the webs in my face. It was at that point when I thought to myself, “Hey genius”, this clearing of spider webs happens to be a thin path that leads to a very “private” spot in the timber which very well could be a big buck bedding area.

So as I walked carefully through the opened path, I realized that this “opening” has to be very fresh as the spiders are spinning hourly. I continued to follow only the opened clearing to a feeding area. Once there, I decided to back track and travel beyond my original starting point only to find and jump a monster, and I mean a monster 8 pointer that would easily go 160 inches. In fact, we scared each other! I got to within only 15 yards of him before I spooked him.

Still follow the rules

Remember, the basic rules when scouting for early season bucks: Find bedding areas, feeding areas and water all within 200 yards!  When following
downed spider webs, keep in mind to follow the paths that have the webs busted at or around 60 inches high or more. You’ll waste your time with anything else lower.

If you find a big buck early season, don’t worry if you bust him out, he’ll come back. Be sure to not set up too close to his bedding area and remember his habits. He’ll feed late and come home early in the morning. When setting up for the ambush, keep all of this in mind. Of course, always play the wind accordingly. This is THE best time in my opinion, to ambush and kill a big buck ... second to none.

I’ll take an early season buck over a rutting buck any day! Once in routine, you’ll know where he lives. You find where he sleeps early, you’ll have a wall hanger early. A rutting buck is just a gamble. Do your homework early and take the pressure off for the rest of the season!

Anyway, I now love spider webs. What a cheap, accurate and effective way to track down a monster buck! It doesn’t get any better than that.


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