Are you looking for the hunt of a lifetime? Thinking this is the year to go after that dream buck? If you are, there are a few things you need to look at before you make your final decision that could make or break your experience.

First thing you should decide is what are you goals, what is your dream buck. Picture him in your head. Is he a super wide typical monster, or is he a gnarly old non-typical? Maybe he would have double drops? Whatever he is, have a picture of him in your mind as you are looking for that perfect hunting area.

Next, do your homework. Check the internet, ask friends, watch the hunting shows and go to hunting conventions. This is a very important decision and should be studied. Homework can be the difference in a dream come true or a disaster.

Look at the different ranches, find the ones that are working towards the type of deer you are looking for. Some are known for big typicals, some for giant non-typicals so do your homework. Also make sure you are looking at recent deer harvested and not deer taken far in the past. Get on their newsletter mailing list, this will allow you to get their updates throughout the year, along with any specials they may have come up.

Oliver testamonialIf you know any friends that have gone on their adventure already, ask them for advice. someone with personal experience is usually a great place to go next. They can tell you what types of deer they saw while they were in the stand. They can tell you what they liked about a place and what they thought would have made it better, and also would they go back again.

If you hear that one of the places on your list is going to be featured on a hunting show be sure to watch that as well. Most of the time they will give shots of the lodge, land and lots of the ranches deer in these shows. Don’t base your decision on this alone, but is a good indicator of what you can expect if you choose this as your destination.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.13.26 AMFinally, go talk to the ranch owners and guides at the hunting conventions such as Dallas Safari Club, SCI and the NRA Annual Meeting. This will give you a chance to look at mounts from the ranch, they will be showcasing their monster bucks, usually taken the previous season in their booths. You will also get a chance to meet the people who will be helping you making your dream a reality. Get a feeling for the workers, you will be together constantly for the duration of your hunt if you decide to go there.

After you have done these things and made your decision, stay in touch with the ranch. Call and chat with them occasionally, watch their social media pages, if you see a buck that really fits what you are wanting to try to hunt, let them know. It helps the guides pattern the bucks you will be hunting while you are there.

This was on the Gander Mountain webpage. There should be one from most of your favorite hunting stores. Use these as a second check, the ranch will have a more location specific list.

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Another thing to find out is what equipment you will need while on your hunt. Is the hunt all inclusive? Do you need heavy clothes? Most places will have a check list they will send you to prepare for your hunt, if you don’t get one, just ask and they should be able to tell you everything you will need to bring or check a site like Gander Mountain.

After all of your preparation is done, sit back and relax, knowing you are going to have the time of your life. Dream of monster bucks and relaxing telling stories by the fire at night.