By: John E. Phillips

By: John E. Phillips

Your best chances for taking a big buck may be less than 30 minutes from your home. As urban sprawl eats up farmland and woodlots, white-tailed deer have learned to adapt. Little pockets of woods in and near suburbia can hold monster bucks. Here’s why:

* these bucks are rarely if ever hunted;

* they move only at night;

* they’re out of sight of most humans when they move during daylight hours; and

* they’re holding in little woodlots where a serious deer hunter probably never considers hunting.


We’re all familiar with urban hunting, and many of the best hunting areas may be just outside the city limits. Birmingham, Alabama, is a sprawling metropolitan area that has many small communities just outside the city limits where suburbanites live and travel to town to work. Often adjacent to the outlying communities is county land where hunting is permitted. These types of small properties have changed forever the way the 44-year-old twin Scott brothers, Jim and John, bowhunt.


According to Jim Scott, “I have a buddy who lives in some apartments just outside of Hoover, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, who sent me a picture from one of the security cameras there of a monster buck eating the flowers and shrubbery. My friend doesn’t hunt, but he knows I do. While eating lunch with my wife, Melanie, one day I showed her the picture of the deer on my computer. She said, ‘I know those apartments. Our real estate company where I work owns them.’ I decided to check the property on Google Maps and saw about a 60-acre block of woods nearby. Melanie told me the land was owned by a holding company her company represented. She agreed to write my brother, John, and me permits to bowhunt that property.

The Security camera caught this guy munching on the flowers.

The Security camera caught this guy munching on the flowers.

“Two deer were in the photo my friend had sent me – one was a typical Alabama 8-point with antlers just outside his ears that would have scored about 115 on Pope and Young. The second deer in the picture was a monster. The picture was fuzzy, because the only lighting was coming from a street light at the apartments. But I could tell he had a really-big rack with numbers of non-typical points in this picture taken in the early summer of 2011. Both bucks were in the velvet.


“I decided to walk the property and see if I could find any deer signs. I spotted old rubs, deer trails and plenty of browse for the deer to eat, including about 100 yards into the woods, a huge persimmon tree that had trails leading to it. I spooked a small 8-pointer there. Then the biggest white-tailed deer I’d ever seen jumped up and started running away from me. This buck had a big body and an extremely-high, tall rack. Next I went through some thick cover to get into the woods, which eventually opened up into a mixed pine and hardwood stand. I turned around and went back to my vehicle. I didn’t want to spook any more deer that might be holding there.

Bowhunting around homes can be rewarding.

Bowhunting around urban areas can be rewarding.

“My brother, John, and I don’t live that far from each other, and we hunt together often. I called John, told him what I had seen and explained I had him a permit too. John decided to hunt a smaller piece of property, about 11 acres, across the road from where I was planning to hunt. I put out a trail camera by the persimmon tree in July, 2011, and soon had hundreds and hundreds of pictures of deer, including 12-different bucks but very few does. The bucks came to the persimmon tree and the nearby white oaks every day. The does only showed up occasionally. I had photos of yearling bucks up to this huge 11-pointer from the surveillance camera, and we named him Twin Towers, due to his long points and high rack. I thought he’d score at least 160 on Pope and Young.”


Be sure to look for our next installment of John E. Phillips’ “Learning How to Hunt Small Acreages When Buck Deer Come to Town with Bowhunters Jim and John Scott” – “John Scott Bowhunts Big Nasty” taken from John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties.” Click here for (Kindle) eBook and print book (CreateSpace) information.

For more go to: John Phillips

For Day 2