With the hunting season underway hunters all throughout the state of Maine are looking for that secret spot to find the big buck. Young and old, experienced and inexperienced, strategic or simply wondering. Each of these types of Hunters will be wandering the woods looking for this year’s kill shot. But what does it really take to find that big buck consistently year after year.
Rob Weber the AP biology teacher from Foxcroft Academy has had quite a streak the last three years shooting three massive bucks. While sharing his stories to his students, inspiring them to get out there and find one of their own, he talks about strategies and conditions in which he is able to be successful.
What are three main strategies that hunters don’t pick up on?
Webber: “I have been hearing a lot about hunters going out on any day possible. Although a day off from work is a good time to go hunting, it is not necessarily a good day if the conditions aren’t right.”
What conditions are necessary?
Webber: “simple things like when direction, scent, time of day, camouflage, stand vs blind etc. The main issue I’ve noticed recently has been the wind direction. On days when the wind is right the deer will be active and when there’s a change in wind, as in East wind, much like an unusual nor’easter storm. The deer are used to a consistent wind direction and can tell when the wind changes. Positioning yourself in the right spot downwind from the deer will be key in order to hide your scent.”
How do you hunt differently that makes you so successful?
Weber: “My strategies in the woods are straightforward and simple. I do not use any scents, any calls, any decoys, any scent blocker, trail cams, apple trees and “sweet spots”. I simply find a good area on a good plot of land with deciduous trees that have signs of deer. Once I locate a spot that sounds good, I go to the first trail that I can find and follow the deer footsteps, markings, scrapes and rubs.The last red deer that I have shot have all done right around 200 pounds with the biggest one being 232. My success isn’t my hunting skills but rather the places I choose to hunt.I go where there isn’t much traffic and no there’s a good food source for the deer to grow, resulting in bigger deer.”
Are there any biological strategies that you know as a scientist that help your choice in where you hunt?
Weber: “Learning about ecology in college the laws of nature show the animals in northern climates here in Maine gather more food to increase fat content the more north you hunt. This is why Moose are uncommon in southern Maine and central Maine. They are located further north because they are the only animals that can survive in this climate and they find less competition for food and resources. Being as successful as I have been I cannot disclose my hunting area but I can tell you the more north you travel the bigger the deer.”
It turns out hunting is more technical than one might think. It requires strategy, observation and experience in order to succeed on a regular basis. Although luck plays a big role in hunting down the big buck, you can better your chances if you pick up on little details. Weber is an experienced hunter and has spent many hours in the woods. Besides all of the strategies, the shot still must be taken accurately which adds a whole other dimension. Hunting is a complicated sport with a rush of excitement that makes the woods an attraction every fall for hunters everywhere.