When most people envision an ideal hunting spot where you can harvest the buck of your wildest dreams, they don’t typically think of roads, cars and county parks close by. The biggest archery buck I have taken to date, nicknamed “Mr. Big” by a friend of mine, was a “city deer” or at least an urban buck of sorts. I hunted the rather urban area of Brushy Creek in Williamson County for a number of years and have some awesome memories and even some multiple YouTube videos as proof of my success there.
Hunting city bucks is very challenging but it can be very rewarding as well. Always be sure to check city and county ordinances and even call your local game warden before you set out to the woods. Knock on some neighborhood doors near the area you are hunting so you don’t have to make an awkward visit one night when you are trying to access a property to retrieve a deer. This may sound difficult but most all of the folks around where I hunted for many years supported my efforts and allowed me access with no issues. Urban areas are many times overrun with deer or other wildlife so it made sense to the landowners around me in almost all of the places I have hunted.
I have used both Big & J Cubes and 20lb bags of the BB2 granular formula in these urban areas along with a 5 gallon hanging deer corn feeder. You don’t need a ton of fancy equipment to hunt urban deer after all. Big & J attracted deer to this area time after time in the morning and evening and I highly recommend any of the Big & J products for urban use. They will bring deer to your area and keep them coming back for more.
I personally use a crossbow for urban hunting. There is less room for error with this weapon as compared to a compound bow but that is, of course, a personal choice. My favorite broadheads by far for urban hunting are Grim Reaper Broadheads in 1 ½” cut radius, rated for crossbows in my case. In urban hunting you want to put your deer down fast as you don’t want to cross too many property lines to retrieve your deer. I have watched countless deer run and fall over well within 100 yards after the shot with these broadheads. For arrows and bolts, I prefer Gold Tip Pro Hunter arrows and Gold Tip Laser III bolts. This combination has been working like a science for me for many years now.
Another tip for urban hunting is to stay close to your trail, mineral site or food source where you expect to see deer. I like to set up 20-30 yards or closer. Scent control is everything, especially when hunting trophy bucks. Many hunters throw scent control out the window for urban deer thinking that it doesn’t matter since people are everywhere and so it human scent. This is a big mistake though. Deer aren’t used to human scent near their bedding or feeding areas for the most part and if they sense danger, they will blow up your game, whitetails-a-waving, and flee away from your hunting area. I have had that sinking feeling that my hunt was over when listening to a doe sounding the alarm that I was in the area more than a few times in my hunting career in urban areas. If using a ground blind, the most portable and practical solution, I prefer a pop up blind and keeping the outside windows closed with the exception of the shooting window. Deer can also sense movement in the blind and I have been busted several times by does by me just peeking through a small opening left open in a side window.
Other than dealing with more landowners and urban sounds and sights, bowhunting urban areas is a thrill unlike any other. Remember, some of the best hunting might be closer than you think. In many urban areas where it is legal to hunt deer and other wild game, there is not a ton of pressure making the hunting even better than out in the open country. Think creatively. I have filled my freezer with many an urban deer and I never dreamed of seeing a deer as nice as “Mr. Big” in 2014 let alone be able to take a shot on him. After I shot this trophy buck, I saw even larger deer after him. Mr. Big hangs on my wall today and is a fantastic reminder of what’s out there for the hunter that thinks outside the box sometimes.
For more information on this subject, check out my short eBook titled, Urban Bowhunting: The Guide to Hunting Small Properties for Big Game, available on Google Play and Amazon Kindle. You can also check out a paperback book I recommend called The Urban Deer Complex by A.J. DeRosa. This book goes into deer biology and features a hunter in the New England area urban hunting public and private land.
Hunt hard, shoot straight and have fun out there!
Story by Dustin Vaughn Warncke