“Whitetails: From Ground to Gun” Book Review

Think Like a Deer

Neil and Craig Dougherty have written a new book and if it doesn’t make you a better deer hunter nothing will. The key to big buck hunting is learning to think like a deer, and Whitetails: From Ground to Gun, will get you there in short order! Brian Murphy, CEO of QDMA, considers this book to be “a monumental leap into a new area of whitetail knowledge” … “the “next frontier” in QDM management.”

From Ground to Gun answers the question “Now that you have mature bucks to hunt, how do you kill them”? It’s about land and the deer that inhabit it. And, it’s It explains in great detail how whitetails use the land they inhabit and the importance of good whitetail habitat to good whitetail hunting. It also teaches you how to create great whitetail property. But it doesn’t stop there. It goes on to cover the instructs in how to create a high quality whitetail property.  habitat to good deer hunting. how land will affects whitetail hunting. Brian Murphy, CEO of QDMA states in his foreword, this book is a monumental leap into a new area of whitetail knowledge—how to think like a deer not a deer hunter…this book represents the “next frontier” in QDM management”.

The Doughertys answer this question and a hundred more like it in 272 clearly written pages (over 200 photos). They speak from experience having been in the deer property management game for over 20 years with over 300,000 acres under their watchful eye. Neil has personally helped his clients take hundreds of mature bucks on properties he has worked with. Their first book, Grow ‘Em Right, was an industry best seller that started thousands on the path of creating world class hunting on small to average sized properties. This book picks up where the last one left off.

The basic premise of the book is syllogistic in nature — you can’t understand deer without understanding the land — and unless you understand deer—-you will never be successful hunting mature bucks. Said another way— you can’t kill big bucks unless you know how they interact with the land they live on. Thus Whitetails: From Ground to Gun.

The authors call on their vast experience to illustrate everything they assert with real life experiences in the woods. They live among whitetails 24-7 -365 and it shows. The book is peppered with examples from the real world and the world of the thousands of hunters they have worked with over the years. Their credibility and experience with deer, deer property, and deer hunters surfaces on every page of this book.

Part I of the book deals with the land side of the equation. In the first 6 chapters the authors present a comprehensive picture of what whitetails need and how they interact with land to meet these needs. It also includes chapters on evaluating property, purchasing property and how to build a world class whitetail property.

Part II is all about hunting mature whitetails. Central to the Dougherty’s thinking on taking mature buck hunting is the notion of “low-impact hunting”. In fact, it’s the thread that binds the entire book together. That, and how to think like a deer. Hunters will find the 6 chapters of this section highly informative and full of valuable tips and tactics. They will particularly interested in fresh new rut findings which have yet to appear in print (outside of a special rut feature in Outdoor Life magazine.

The books table of contents reads like a compendium of what you need to know to kill big deer. This book is all of that and a captivating read to boot. The Dougherty’s are well known for their advanced thinking and ability to communicate it in terms and prose that entertains and enlightens at the same time.

Brian Murphy summed it all up pretty well stating, “Wildlife management is as much art as it is science. Craig and Neil Dougherty blend both beautifully …and provide a clear roadmap for QDM success”.

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