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Hit List Bucks by Grant Woods

Since trail cameras have become so popular the term “hit list” is commonly used by hunters. It refers to a list of bucks that a hunter is trying to tag. Many folks use a buck’s age and/or antler size to determine if a buck is placed on their hit list

Using age as a criterion for hit list candidates can be a good deer management tool. However using only age and/or antler size can lead to a lot of frustration! That’s because researchers using GPS collars have documented that some bucks are primarily active only during hours of darkness. Knowing a hit list buck is living where you hunt but never seeing him can be frustrating and result in eating a lot of tag soup.

Hit List Bucks by Grant Woods

This is why one of the most important criterion for bucks to be on my hit list is if they are active during at least a portion of the daylight hours.

If the vast majority of my trail camera pictures of a mature buck are at night, I won’t spend much time specifically hunting for him. Rather, I’ll place my stands and spend my time in areas where there’s a buck that excites me and spends at least part of his time active during the day!

Adding this characteristic to my hit list selection process has resulted in less frustration and tagging more bucks. I hope your trail cameras aid you in selecting hit list bucks that have a pattern of daylight activity for hunting this fall.

Growing Deer together,



Dr. Grant Woods
Dr. Grant Woods
Raised in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Dr. Grant Woods has consulted on wildlife research and management from Canada to New Zealand. A hunter since childhood, he not only knows how to grow big deer, but how to effectively hunt them as well. His work serves to improve deer herd quality and educate hunters about advanced management techniques.