I have been writing a lot about traditional deer hunting strategies lately. The conservative approach that preserves the chance to get a buck at a future date—always being cautious to avoid bumping a deer off the property. There are some world-class hunters, however, who intentionally throw caution to the wind and use some extremely aggressive tactics. The mere mention of these strategies makes most whitetail hunters uncomfortable, but the records of Dan Infalt and Andrae D’acquisto speak for themselves. Two of the best whitetail hunters alive, they both espouse a strategy that Andrae pioneered: Bump and dump hunting.
A couple notes before we dive into this:
- It’s not for everyone and not for every situation. If you are hunting a smaller property or public land, there is a chance that when you use the bump and dump method that you may push a buck onto neighboring land where someone else may kill it.
- This style of hunting works best on very mature deer. For reasons we’ll get into shortly, 4-5 year old bucks will be most susceptible to the bump and dump.
The core of the strategy is the belief that mature bucks are going to bed down in a location on a property that will feature a specific set of conditions:
- They will want to be in an area where the wind from the property is blowing towards the direction they face while bedded.
- They will want to be in a very secluded area. Thick underbrush, ridge tops, and swamps are all remote spots that bucks will bed down in.
- They will want to have decent visibility from their location.
- The location must have an escape route.
With these conditions in mind, you can look at a specific property and determine that there will usually be several bedding areas that meet all of these requirements. Due to the specific and advantageous nature of these beds, a mature buck who has been spooked or bumped from his bed and runs off will likely return to that bed later as it is still the most suitable spot for him to be.
So, with several possible bed areas in mind, you are going to head out in the late afternoon or early evening to hike near these bedding areas. You don’t have to be silent and you don’t need to be overly concerned with your scent. Contrary to 99% of deer hunting advice, in this situation, you want the buck to know you are coming. You want to get close enough to the bed that you “bump” the buck and he runs from his bed. Don’t stop when you bump him. Just keep walking like you are out for a hike. The idea is not to startle the deer, but just to make him aware enough of your presence that he gets up and leaves his bed. Don’t chase him after the bump. Let him go and mark the exact location of the bed you have discovered. Look for some suitable trees near the bed to set up a stand. Hang it that evening if possible, or be ready to hang a mobile stand. If it is close enough to the evening he will likely circle out to start feeding. Leave the property to plan your next move.
The best thing to do at this point is to give the deer a day or two to relax after you bumped him. Your next move is going to be to sneak in before sunrise. This is the time to be stealthy and aware of how your scent is moving on the property. You want to get in undetected. Knowing the exact location of the deer’s bed, you are going to climb a tree near it while the deer is still out feeding and be prepared to ambush him when he is coming back to bed around daybreak. If the strategy works, you will have a shot at the deer and he will never know what hit him.
Like I said, this strategy is not for everyone and will not work on every property. It is certainly not for the faint of heart as there is a real risk of potentially blowing a deer off the property. However, if done right this aggressive tactic can be the difference between killing that mature buck you have been chasing.