Jigging For Bucks

Jigging For Bucks

To complete your calling routine, add the simplest and most obvious sounds of all.


Jigging requires only a long cord, a heavy stick, and plenty of dry leaves on the ground.



It has happened more than once: I'm sitting in a quiet woods, devoid of deer movement. The world is standing still. Then a deer, let's say a doe, comes walking through the dry leaves, stopping to browse and sniff.

Suddenly, a buck appears and trots over to check out the doe, and soon another buck hustles in to investigate the commotion. One minute the woods are dead; the next they're alive with deer. The deer have not bleated or grunted, nor have I.


The only apparent sound that could have generated that action was the doe's walking and snuffling in the dry leaves; a sound that carries far in a quiet woods. I believe that subtle sound is enough to divert a buck, or even pull him out of his bed, especially during the rut. The sounds of a buck chasing a doe are even louder, of course, and no self-respecting rutting buck can resist the temptation to investigate.

In recent years, I've pondered ways to simulate the sounds of running deer and have come up with a technique I call "jigging for bucks." It's still in the experimental stage, but I have drawn some smaller bucks within easy bow range.

To make jigging work, you need two conditions: 1) A forest floor covered with dry leaves, a common scenario in Nov-ember whitetail woods; 2) A relatively calm day. Few deer will hear your jigging on windy days.

For equipment, you need a rope. If your pull-up rope is long enough to reach the ground, you're in business. Otherwise, carry a separate rope for jigging. A lightweight cord will do. To avoid attracting attention, use one of drab color.

This is my latest version of the jigging stick. The handle adds a third thump and serves as a handy cord holder.

To complete the equipment list, make a jigging stick. In a pinch I've used a branch two to three feet long and at least an inch in diameter. The stick has to be heavy enough to make a thud when dropped from a foot or two off the ground. Tie your rope one-third of the way from one end so it will make a double thud as one end first hits the ground, followed by the other.

Last fall, when I made a spontaneous decision to do some jigging, I tied my rope to my carbon-fiber pack tripod. It made plenty of racket.

More recently I've built a jigging stick from a heavy wood dowel. At first it was just a straight 1 1/4-inch diameter dowel, 24 inches long. I've since modified it by adding a perpendicular handle seven inches long, similar to a policeman's nightstick.

With this final design, I attach the rope to the end of the short section to produce the most realistic sounds. When I drop the stick, one end thumps to the ground first, followed by the full length of the stick, and then by the handle section as it tips over. That yields three thumps of varying amplitude -- much like the hooves of deer chasing through the woods.

Also, with the rope tied to the end of the short section I can make very discreet, subtle thumping noises with just a short tug on the rope. The handle section rises and hits the ground with little effort or motion on my part.

By rustling some leaves and bouncing the jigging stick off downed limbs or bushes, you can simulate a lot of deer activity. If you complement your jigging with some rattling, a few tending grunts, and a couple of bleats, you can mimic a real party. Rutting bucks love parties.

With a heavy, straight stick, the long end hits first, followed by the entire length to create two thumps.

Obviously, you must be cautious about moving too much while jigging. I tie the rope to the right side of my treestand seat (I'm right handed) so I can reach down and manipulate the jigging stick inconspicuously. And I don't jig when deer are close; they'll pinpoint my location instantly. I jig only when there's no chance of being spotted.

As you would with any calling, allow plenty of time for deer to come in. A buck might come running to join the chase, but he's just as likely to sneak in cautiously.

During every phase of the rut, bucks are always looking for other deer, and they have a strong desire to be near the action. By simulating a chase, you appeal to that desire.

Of course, jigging is just like rattling, grunting, or bleating with a can call. It doesn't always work. It's simply another weapon in your arsenal. But if deer in your neck of the woods are getting wise to the same old routines, try jigging for bucks.

One last thing -- keep your bow close at hand!

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Kentucky Bowfishing Competition

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells has a friendly bowfishing competition with members of the Muzzy Bowfishing team on Kentucky Lake.

Elk Bulls Abound in Colorado

Elk Bulls Abound in Colorado

Bowhunter team member Rudy Bachraty gets his chance to take an elk with Cross Mountain Outfitters of Colorado.

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Spot-and-Stalk Texas Hog Bowhunt

Bowhunter Equipment Editor Tony J. Peterson spot-and-stalks hogs and whitetails in Texas.

Better Bow Practice: Pick a Spot When Aiming

Better Bow Practice: Pick a Spot When Aiming

On this edition of "Dead On," Hall-of-Fame bowhunter Randy Ulmer shares advice on picking a spot to aim at when practicing with your bow.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

If you desire peak performance from your hunting bow, learn these skills. Bows

Bow-Tuning Techniques for Peak Performance

Joe Bell

If you desire peak performance from your hunting bow, learn these skills.

Take your hang-and-hunt to the next level with a Trophyline Tree Saddle. Treestands & Blinds

Look to Tree Saddle Hunting for Fall Success

Brian K. Strickland

Sponsored By
Trophyline
Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe. Recipes

Vietnamese Black Bear Pté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe.

A simple, classic steak and French fries duo gets a wild makeover with this Elk Venison Steak-Frites Recipe. Recipes

Elk Venison Steak-Frites Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

A simple, classic steak and French fries duo gets a wild makeover with this Elk Venison...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Hunting seasons don't just happen in the fall. Editor Curt Wells details some spring bowhunting adventures to extend your time in the outdoors! Stories

Don't Forget About Spring Bowhunting

Curt Wells - March 20, 2018

Hunting seasons don't just happen in the fall. Editor Curt Wells details some spring...

Emily Schuh Berriochoa details her father's final harvest. Stories

The Last Stand: Dwight Schuh's Final Buck

Emily Schuh Berriochoa

Emily Schuh Berriochoa details her father's final harvest.

I was sure I was going to have a great season this year. I was shooting well and scouting trips Stories

Tough Hunting Season? You're Not Alone.

Fred Eichler - February 20, 2018

I was sure I was going to have a great season this year. I was shooting well and scouting trips

On a cold day in December 2014, I had the pleasure of viewing an incredibly special whitetail deer. Stories

A DIY Quest for a 200-Class Whitetail

Dayne Majeau - July 27, 2016

On a cold day in December 2014, I had the pleasure of viewing an incredibly special whitetail...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Bowhunter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now