Clayton Brister Jr. of Monticello has proved the old adage "less is more", especially when planning green fields and plots for big bucks. Most hunters search for large tracts of land to hunt, thinking that the more property they have to hunt, the more and bigger bucks they can take.

But with Brister's method of creating small magic plots, he's demonstrated that by intensively managing small sections of land, he can take more and larger bucks than those who hunt sizeable tracts.

"Forty acres of land, if properly managed, can draw and hold three or more mature bucks," Brister says.

So when you discover a little piece of property that no one else hunts because they believe it's too small to hold adult deer, it may be home to large bucks. Brister has taken 12 bucks that have scored high on both the Pope & Young and the Boone & Crockett scales.

"To take big deer, you need the right place to hunt them and the patience to hunt for long periods," he said. "I was probably 30 years old before I started taking large bucks because before then, I couldn't endure sitting in a stand from before daylight until after dark."

Brister hunted one deer last season for 15 consecutive days from daylight to dark.

"The day I took this buck, I'd only been hunting him for 45 minutes before harvesting him," he said.

Find a monster buck

A friend of Brister's had agreed to let him hunt the less-than-200 acres of land he owned in Pike County just outside McComb that no one ever hunted.

"When I scouted this land, I found really good deer sign, including big tracks and plenty of rubs and scrapes," Brister said. "Judging by the rubs against the cedar trees, the buck had to have an 18- to 20-inch inside spread of his main beams. Big bucks in my region love to rub against cedar trees and scar them up with their antlers because this wood is soft. This buck had a line of scrapes about 500 yards long, and he was tearing up every tree in this section."

After pinpointing the sign and following the scrape line, Brister located several shooting lanes where he could hang a tree stand 150 to 200 yards downwind from the scrape line.

"I knew this area of Mississippi produced really big bucks," Brister says. "Also, I realized if I hunted during the rut, the buck would show up on the scrape line."

Brister hunted during the pre-rut, and from all the sign left by the mature buck, he decided this buck would advertise for a doe first. After 14 days of hunting this buck, Brister returned to his job on the 15th day. However, he could hunt the stand site at lunch, due to its short distance from his workplace, and still help his employees, if needed. So Brister went to his stand at noon, and at 12:40, he spotted a nervous doe looking back over her shoulder.

"As soon as the doe stepped out and looked back, I looked in the same direction and spotted a 225-pound 10-pointer," Brister said. "When I saw the buck, I brought my Browning 7mm magnum rifle to my shoulder with the buck about 175 yards away. With my 4-12X Zeiss scope turned up to 7X, I quickly spotted the place behind the buck's front shoulder where I wanted the bullet to hit."

Brister squeezed the trigger, and the buck dropped in its tracks. When Brister got 100 yards away from the huge whitetail, he could smell the rank odor of urine.

"I walked closer to the buck, and I saw that his neck was swollen," he said. "He was already in full rut, two weeks before the rut generally began in this area. He scored 157 points B&C, and was the biggest buck I'd ever taken."

If you're hunting the pre-rut or during the rut, the bucks will move all day. You'll probably have just as many opportunities to harvest a big buck in the middle of the day as you will hunting early or late.

Create magic spots

Brister has three different small plots of land he manages intensively to produce deer for him and his family to hunt.

"I have two tactics for taking big bucks - hunting creek bottoms during the rut and creating buck magnets on the small tracts of land I own and hunt," Brister said. "I have a 30-, a 40- and a 50-acre plot. I plant three-acre food plots on each of these sites with the new Buck Busters Seed Company's Annual and Perennial Mix ( because these seeds will grow all year. I also plant smaller areas where I can bowhunt with the same product.

"Although I may have to mow this mix in the spring and summer, it produces large tonnages of highly nutritious food for my deer year-round. Also, I hunt creek bottoms because they generally have large amounts of acorns in them. During the rut, you can find scrapes and rubs on creek bottoms."

Brister prefers to hunt small plots most hunters consider too little for hunting deer. He says for instance, no one thinks of hunting a plot as small as 30 acres.

"However, if you have the right 30 acres, you probably can take two or three nice-sized bucks off that property every year," he said. "I plant small green fields on each of these plots. I cut a 55-gallon cardboard barrel of peanut butter in half, and place the two halves on each of my small plots. The peanut butter is high in protein, is delicious to the deer and has an odor they can smell from long distances. So, with the peanut butter, I feed the bucks that live on my small plots and draw-in bucks and does from adjacent properties."

This highly palatable, good-smelling, high-protein food also keeps does on Brister's hunting lands. Then when the rut arrives, the bucks know where they can encounter does.

"Also, I feed my deer a special mixture of high-protein food that contains horse feed, a trace of corn and about five different kinds of other feed high in protein the deer like to eat," Brister said. "I buy this special protein mix from a co-op-and-feed store in Bogue Chitto. This special blend will produce big antlers quickly, and will grow healthy fawns. Also, coons and other critters that normally eat the food intended for your deer won't eat this mixture."

Through this intensive planting and feeding program, Brister attracts and holds a good number of deer, even on small properties. To balance his herd on these little acreages, Brister harvests two or three does off each of these lands every season, and doesn't take any buck with less than 15 inches between his main beams.

Don't hunt big bucks

"I don't put much hunting pressure on any of the three small plots I hunt," Brister said. "My dad, my son and I are the only three people who hunt these little places, and we try not to take any buck we don't intend to mount. We try to keep the hunting pressure to a minimum. We don't over-hunt any of these three areas and cause the bucks and the does to leave.

"Once you set-up a small hunting spot, if you over-hunt it, the deer still will come to the site - but only at night when you're not there. We try to grow the bucks we'll be harvesting. If we give the deer plenty of high-protein food, does to breed during the rut and sanctuary when they're young, we can draw, hold and raise the size bucks we want to harvest."