Settings aren’t the only thing that determine how aggressively I hunt a buck. His personality plays a big role, too.
Some bucks are homebodies. If they have all they could want and need within a relatively small area, the homebody types stay home more than others. Will that buck follow a hot doe’s trail outside his safety zone? Sure, but he’ll gravitate to the areas within his range that already offer does.
When such a buck has his daylight core area on my ground, and I control the hunting pressure, I tend to handle him with great care, nipping at the edges of his core area from low-impact stands. After all, if I don’t kill him myself, odds are he’ll be there next season, and possibly be even bigger.
In the absence of controlling extremely large acreages, bucks with more of a wandering personality should be hunted more aggressively. No, that doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind, but picking your spots to go in after them isn’t a bad move. You’ve no desire to push them off your ground and should strive not to.
However, these are the types of bucks at most risk from the neighbors, because they’re spending plenty of time over there, too. Playing it safe ends with neighbors tagging too high a percent not to push the envelope a little harder.
Finally, there are those big boys that show up out of nowhere during in the rut. These are most often bucks that have ventured from their non-rutting home range, likely pulled in by an estrous doe or combo of hot does.
In that case, it’s time to get as aggressive as you ever will. He’s likely using your ground as a hotel. He might stay a night, a few days or even a week, but he’ll likely be gone in the near future. Pussyfoot around with him and risk him being gone without an encounter. He’s leaving anyway. Throw the book at him, if you have to.