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Swab-its® News Article Special - By Dr. Ken Nordberg How Accurate Do You Have to Be Part IV

How Accurate Do You Have to Be ­ Part IV

By Dr. Ken Nordberg

Have you ever wondered why some deer hunters seem to have all the luck, taking deer every year, some even taking mature bucks every year? Could this be attributable to better shooting? Some hunters seem to have the touch for this, rarely missing running deer or deer standing great distances away. Maybe a fast-shooting semi-automatic rifle or one of those range finders is the answer. Or could it be attributable something else, like the way they hunt?

Some years ago, a group of hunters that hunted along the same forestry trail as my hunting partners and me figured they had the answer. “Doc’s got all the bucks,” they decided, meaning, all the bucks in the area lived in the area where my hunting partners and I took several mature bucks every year.   They rarely even saw a buck where they hunted. Being public land, they then decided they had as much right to take the bucks where we hunted as us and began still-hunting and making drives around our camp, prompting us to search for a new hunting area. Some years later one of them said to me, “We found out why you guys left. You shot all the bucks.”

Why were we annually successful and they weren’t? It was because we hunted in a manner that often provided opportunities to take unsuspecting deer short distances away and they hunted in ways that very rarely provided opportunities to take unsuspecting deer any distance away. Most of the deer we took were standing or moving slowly within 50 yards and most of the deer they saw were bounding at top speed through dense forest cover, commonly 100 yards or more away by the time they raised their rifles to their shoulders. We generally had plenty of time to use a rest of some kind to steady our aim and make accurate, humane, quick-kill shots at deer and they were generally limited to making standing (off-hand) snap shots, some of them emptying their five-shot magazines without success every time they saw a deer.

It was our hunting method that made the difference. Back then our hunting method was “tree stand hunting,” a time when tree stand hunting was little known by hunters or whitetails. Though today most whitetails 2-1/2 years of age or older are adept at identifying and avoiding hunters using elevated stands, we are still stand hunters and we still take an agreeable number of mature bucks annually. Our stand hunting method today, however, is quite different. It is modified in ways to outfox stand-smart, wolf-country bucks, arguably the most elusive of North American big game today. We take most of our bucks (seeing lots of antlerless deer in the process) from natural, unaltered, ground level blinds while sitting on backpacked stools.

Next month: more about this new hunting method that contributes so greatly to accurate shooting at short range


Dr. Nordberg has written more than 700 articles for outdoor magazines since 1980, 10 bestselling books about whitetails & improved hunting methods & 3 about how to hunt trophy-class black bears – books that changed to way whitetails & black bears are hunted in North America forever. All are based on his unique, hunting-related field studies, still ongoing, of wild deer and black bears since 1970. For complete information and to reach Dr. Nordberg, go to


Hunting in a manner that makes whitetails bound away like this, leaping up to eight feet high and racing 30–40 mph through dense forest cover makes any degree of shooting accuracy and hunting success highly unlikely.

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