Targeting a Specific Buck? Be Prepared to Fail

By Alex Comstock

This blog post is by no means meant to bring you down in any way possible. But there's something I wanted to bring to your attention and talk about, and that revolves around targeting a specific buck. In just what I've seen, I see a lot of people that hunt a certain buck. Trail cameras play a large role with this, as you can more or less get to know a deer without ever seeing him. There's a lot talked about when it comes to this topic, but there's one thing in particular that I wanted to touch on.

Full disclosure: I still don't know if I'm writing this more for me or to simply help us all understand the ramifications that come with hunting a particular buck. I'm currently in the middle of getting schooled by a buck, and much of the time is spent thinking about him. Now, I've still got ample time to get it done with this buck, and I'm not trying to blow it out of proportion, but there are things to be thinking about before you go all in on an individual deer. 

Chances of Success Are Much Smaller

When you go from deer hunting to only targeting bucks, your chances of success are obviously smaller. When the transition to mature bucks occur, chances continue to go down given there are less mature bucks out there. And when you target a specific buck, odds of success drop even further. This shouldn't be groundbreaking news, but it's something to think about before making a decision if you want to hunt a certain deer. There is an overwhelming better chance of not harvesting that deer than there is of getting him. It's just playing the odds. Fully understanding this going into it will make failure a much easier pill to swallow. 

Want to read more about hunting specific buck? Read  The Pros and Cons of Hunting a Specific Buck

Want to read more about hunting specific buck? Read The Pros and Cons of Hunting a Specific Buck

It Takes Discipline

If you truly want to pick a certain buck and take him down, it requires a level of discipline that most deer hunters will find difficult. Heck, this is what I'm struggling with right now. The discipline that goes into hunting a specific buck is very multidimensional. 

Not only is discipline needed for the fact that in order to harvest that buck, you may have to pass other mature bucks, but discipline will be needed when it comes to decisions on where to hunt, how to hunt, and when to hunt. Every time you go in after a certain buck, there is a chance you could be educating him and further reducing your odds of harvesting him. There has to be a balance between knowing the right conditions and places to strike. 

For instance, in my current situation, I've hunted Kobe when there has been favorable weather conditions, and to this point, have been as smart as I can be. Yesterday was a prime example, as I wanted to hunt, but with warm temperatures and a bad wind, I elected to stay at home in hopes of it helping me in the future. 

Have a Backup Plan

Last season, I had a specific buck targeted, and he was harvested by another hunter. It doesn't hurt to have a plan in your back pocket if the buck you're after gets shot by someone else, or if you bail on the plan because he's disappeared, etc. I still run trail cameras in other areas on different properties, and sometimes if conditions aren't favorable to hunt the specific buck you're after, it doesn't hurt to sit a different area or property to learn as much as you can if you end up needing a plan B. 

Failure Can Prepare You For the Future

For as much as I talk about failing when it comes to deer hunting, don't forget that failure can be the biggest teacher, and this is no different when it comes to hunting a specific buck. If you pick an individual deer to hunt, and fail, it's not the end of the world. Let's say someone else gets him, or he disappears one day, and you don't know what happened, reflect on the why.

Why weren't you able to send an arrow through him? Did you put to much pressure on him when the conditions weren't right and bumped him to a neighboring property? Maybe the opposite is true. Were you not aggressive enough? Take all of the factors to try and understand what went wrong, and how you can apply those lessons learned the next time you go on a quest to harvest a particular deer. 

If you want to read more about how failure can help you, read  Failure: The Great Success

If you want to read more about how failure can help you, read Failure: The Great Success


Hunting a specific buck is such a unique challenge, and quite honestly it's difficult to accomplish. Embarking on such an adventure will surely elicit hardships that you may have never thought of beforehand. But if you are able to work through them, and ultimately be successful, the triumph experienced will be unlike anything else you've experienced.