Every year, hunters spend countless hours preparing food plots, planning and finding ways to improve their chances to get a wall-hanger downrange and in range. If a mature buck falls into the trap, hunters must tread lightly to close the deal.

When a big buck shows up on a hunter’s property, he or she must prevent spooking the deer and make sure it’s comfortable on the property to get a solid shot at him.

Mature bucks have targets on their backs no matter where they go. Older bucks are at the top of the pyramid, with very few of their kind available each year for hunters and dream about. Even with the best food plots and the most-fertile habitats, only a few mature bucks will take up residence on those grounds, and if something isn’t kosher, if  eminent danger is looming, they will seek refuge in places that offer the best chances at surviving another season. 

Old bucks survive by being smart and eluding the typical hunting club’s antics, but a smart hunter can put one of these trophy bucks in his sights as long as the buck is oblivious to the hunter who’s on its trail.

T.C. Lloyd of Hartsville, S.C., is no stranger to mature bucks. Over the past decade, Lloyd has put several trophy bucks on the dirt, including a 143-inch, 14-pointer killed last Nov. 12, and he makes every attempt to keep a big buck in the dark when he first discovers a big boy is in play. 

“When I pick up a big buck on (trail) camera or see one on the club, I make every attempt to not spook him,” Lloyd said. “I try to hunt the big ones out of the woods in food plots, along power lines and places I can see a long way.”

Typically, when a big buck shows