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The Intruder: Whitetail Hunt Part One

One Step Ahead of the Game: Paul Sawyer and the Process of Whitetail Hunting

Paul Sawyer immerses himself in the everyday worlds of whitetail deer. Bucks’ bedrooms span across the country, and Sawyer has seen it all. Near creek bottoms. Across golden fields. Within thick timber. 

The Intruder: Whitetail Hunt Part One

But for Sawyer, there’s nothing like working for the whitetail on his own acreage. Much like an attentive architect or a loyal landlord, he focuses on building a desirable environment for deer to thrive.

He plans food plots.

He checks water sources.

He keeps an eye on herd health and growth.

For Sawyer, the thrill of the hunt isn’t solely centered on the stalk. It’s the entire process: A year-round grind that requires dedication and attention.

“I have been very fortunate to hunt mature bucks in some of the best counties in the country,” Sawyer said. “But there is, without question, no greater honor when hunting whitetails than to put your tag on a mature buck from a farm that you own and manage.”

Like a game of chess, Sawyer’s hunting approach is strategic and intentional. He focuses on predicting the deer’s movements and whereabouts based on their past behaviors and his own hunting experiences.

He is one step ahead of the game. Literally.

Sawyer played his brand of “deer chess” when he was in the thick of the hunt in Missouri. When he went into the woods, he had a plan in mind.

“My plan was to seat this food plot every evening until the season went out or we killed a mature buck,” he said. “In my experience at this time of the year, if you provide whitetails with the best food source available and set your stands to be the least intrusive possible, you will attract a large number of does. Once you have the does coming to the plot, it is only a matter of time before the hit list bucks will show themselves or a doe will bring them to the plot.”

When Sawyer dropped the Missouri 158” buck, it was not simply a “right place, right time” situation. It was a process completed, from start to finish. For Sawyer, there’s no greater feeling than a well-executed plan.

“Everything worked just like we drew up: When we planted the food, planned the entrance and exit routes, and placed the blinds,” he said. “That makes me happy.  I enjoy the planning for and the work towards holding and growing mature bucks, as much, if not more, than killing these mature bucks.”

Managing your own acreage offers the opportunity to watch young bucks mature into monsters.

On his farm, Sawyer doesn’t simply wait for opportunities to arrive when whitetail season comes around. He creates opportunities…by managing the herd, and their environment, all year round.

Paul’s dedication to detail was put into practice when he capped off 7 days of hunting across the heart of America. In three different states—Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas—Paul dialed in on three different 5 and half year-old whitetail brutes. He will return home energized by his buck bonanza, and ready to continue the process.

Watch the related Winchester Life episode.

Paul Sawyer
Paul Sawyer
Born in the fertile whitetail country of Iowa, Paul now lives in legendary Pike County, IL. He has lived the outdoor lifestyle in the Midwest for nearly his entire life where he’s turned his passion for the outdoors into a career. Now his goal is to spread the word, to share what is possible when someone can own and manage a great hunting property, to grow and hold giant whitetails.