Breaking it Down - Page 2 - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-04-2019, 11:59 PM
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Like the other said,


I start on the computer.


I basically look at 4 types of land...

Hills/bigger woods
Farmland
Swamps
Marshes


Im often looking for different things based on those 4 basic landscapes.

If I'm lucky and the piece I'm looking at some different landscapes I make those out. That edge alone is usually a good starting point where habitats converge.

But I then key in on where mature bucks should be bedding in those different landscapes. That's all I really care about. I wanna know where he sleeps because that's where he is spending 95% of the daylight hours outside of the rut.

Our season is 6 weeks long. 4 of those weeks guys love to call "the October Lull". Why? They hunt with rut tactics those first 4 weeks. Or they hunt food sources that are too far from bedding. Sure, they might see deer..mostly doe and young buck....and that keeps them using those same tactics.

I'm not looking for doe and young buck.


While I'm out there checking buck beds, I don't ignore the rut sign and the food sources and such...I take note of it all.



It's a big puzzle. Put the pieces together.



Don't look at all the 10,000 acres in a day. Focus on 1 spot that looks good.


I will use my buck kill from this year as an example.


First time ever in my life looking at a marsh for deer sign was the winter/spring of 2015.


Topos are pretty much useless in swamps and marshes so I spent most my time looking at satellite images. I keyed in on a particular area. Access was limited. 1 small parking lot. From that parking lot, all you could see is marsh, fields and a large clear cut that was crazy thick. Why would anyone think about deer hunting there? The water is a long ways away so waterfowl hunters shouldn't be a big problem either.


From there I looked for edges...transitions. I marked those. From there I marked everywhere I thought a buck bed might be.


I started scouting and when I got in there I was a little overwhelmed. I've never scouted anything like that.


I found deer sign. I found very big rubs and tracks. I knew I was onto something...just couldn't put the puzzle together.


Cake back and hung a camera on a run line of BIG rubs. Kept hearing the bush.

Came back and checked the camera and put more pieces together. The buck came by and was a morning picture. He was heading for his bed. I just had to find it.

I followed the trail and the rub line and eventually found the buck beds I was looking for.....after I learned that areas, they were exactly where they "should have been". I just couldn't find them because I was new to the marsh.

From the beds I looked at the trails coming in and out. It was a maze. The best trail went straight to the fields by the parking lot. Sorta like I expected. But man, there's bed scrapes and crazy good sign the opposite direction. What side would I hunt???


I left and came back yet another day. I realized that the beeline trail from the fields to the beds was the bucks leaving the fields before sunrise and heading back to the beds. Duhhhh.

I went out around to the other side and just about died. There is a small cluster of white swamp oaks 100-125yds from the beds. Absolutely littered with rubs and old scrapes and i could see the bedding scrapes from there.

I figured the bucks came out of the bedding and staged on the edge of the marsh and then hit the White oaks and then meandered out to the fields well after dark.

2016 and 2017 I had some good encounters the few times I hunted it but no kills and only hunted it a couple times.


This season I killed my buck there opening day like an hour and a half before dark....while he sucked the acorns up like a Dyson.



Think of a buck bed as a hub on a wheel. Think of the spokes on a wheel. They get further apart the further you get from the bed.

The closer to the bed you get, the more you can cover.

That buck gets to that bed well before sunrise and lays there watching and smelling all day. He beds there because he has some sort of advantage. Sight...smell...hearing... usually combinations of them all.

He got to be mature by surviving. He learned to survive and learned to bed in specific places for specific reasons. Because those beds give him some sort of advantage.

Sit in his bed and see what he can see...smell....hear. I can deal with noise and being quiet. I can't really control what he's gunna smell...but if the bed is based on a wind I note that...I'm really interested in what he can SEE. I will find land marks justtttt on the verge of what he can see. Remember....things will look different through the season...

A lot of my hunts I end up within 150yds of where I believe a buck is bedded. This year I was within 100yds of his bed. I only hunt evenings. I don't hunt spots more than once or twice a year. Once I've been there I consider that spot burned...they will know I was there and the odds of them relocating for a bit is pretty good.


I went back to the spot I killed my buck in flintlock season this year...figured I'd see what was going on back there and maybe take a doe. I knew the doe bedding was 150yds to the west. I sat near the buck bedding and watched next year's bucks get out of there beds and walk within 15yds of me.


Carry a GPS Everytime you're in the woods if you already don't. I have started carrying mine everywhere...even if I know the woods very well and don't need it....Im always marking points of interest putting pieces of the puzzle together.


Also be careful this time of year.....it's easy to find a TON of sign as deer are herded up and food is limited. Where they are spending time now may or may not be the place to kill them in the fall. Even the buck bedding may be different.


I like snow scouting...but I always go back in after the melt. Winter basically locks everything in. The fall beds, rub, scrapes....we have a brief period in time between the thaw and the green up...





If you're just "deer hunting".....sorry you wasted the time to read all that. Lol. I have gone to hunting a pretty specific way. I don't see a lot of deer. But the more I hunt this way....the more I scout this way...the better my results are getting.



The knowledge is also crazy beneficial for still hunting. I lost track of how many mature bucks I had eyes on this season still hunting in archery bear and rifle bear. I hunted a lot of ground i never hunted before so I basically scouted for bucks while I hoped to see a bear or come across bear sign.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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Excellent stuff there mauser06 . Lots of great information. Thanks for sharing.

Darton DS-3800
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 11:14 AM
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Hope it helps....I'm no pro....

It's a totally different mindset and hunting style.


Right now in my life, I have a lot of time to hunt. And scout.


I think this style is going to be beneficial in the future...say a family comes along and I do have time constraints. With this style, you're basically killing your buck in advance. No guarantee..but you're stacking the deck in your favor...

It sounds like you are doing a good bit of scouting in the off-season and hunting public like I do. That works perfectly with this style of hunting.

And with public.... typically public goes unchanged for a long while. You don't have to worry about the farm being sold or posted or leased. Sure it might get timbered or a gas/oil job move in..but there's public I've hunted for 20 years now that's completely unchanged. Those deer are in the same spots doing the same thing every year for the most part.


And once you grasp where bucks bed, you can push the envelope and not put boots on the ground. You can go in with a stand on your back and stand a good chance of it working based on what you've learned from other similar spots.


Biggest thing is getting in undetected. My buck kill from this season is a good example. It was a fairly quiet and dry day. The walk was only around 3/4 mile and flat. Half of it I could run and jump and scream and not bother anything. The rest was a couple steps at a time. The wind is critical too. I think I left my truck around 2pm. Settled in just after 4. I had an arrow through him about 2 hours later. For a few hundred yards I was within 150yds or so of his bed because I had to make a hook beside and out around the bed.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-05-2019, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauser06 View Post
Hope it helps....I'm no pro....

It's a totally different mindset and hunting style.


Right now in my life, I have a lot of time to hunt. And scout.


I think this style is going to be beneficial in the future...say a family comes along and I do have time constraints. With this style, you're basically killing your buck in advance. No guarantee..but you're stacking the deck in your favor...

It sounds like you are doing a good bit of scouting in the off-season and hunting public like I do. That works perfectly with this style of hunting.

And with public.... typically public goes unchanged for a long while. You don't have to worry about the farm being sold or posted or leased. Sure it might get timbered or a gas/oil job move in..but there's public I've hunted for 20 years now that's completely unchanged. Those deer are in the same spots doing the same thing every year for the most part.


And once you grasp where bucks bed, you can push the envelope and not put boots on the ground. You can go in with a stand on your back and stand a good chance of it working based on what you've learned from other similar spots.


Biggest thing is getting in undetected. My buck kill from this season is a good example. It was a fairly quiet and dry day. The walk was only around 3/4 mile and flat. Half of it I could run and jump and scream and not bother anything. The rest was a couple steps at a time. The wind is critical too. I think I left my truck around 2pm. Settled in just after 4. I had an arrow through him about 2 hours later. For a few hundred yards I was within 150yds or so of his bed because I had to make a hook beside and out around the bed.
I am just getting into this mindset, but I agree it is a totally different way of thinking.

You described how you attack the marshes. How do you attack big woods?

Traditions only last if you pass them down to your kids!
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-06-2019, 12:33 AM
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Big woods for me is mostly all about point bedding. But in the hills and on the points it's very wind based and they have thermals plus the wind....plus typically a sight advantage...


I can find the beds very easily in the hills....I still haven't learned to capitalize on Killin them up there. Atleast not purely hunting their beds.


Outside of the points, I'm back to transitions....clear cuts, evergreen edges, etc.


I'm planning to start hunting the marshes and swamps early and hunt the hills when the rut kicks in. Rut travel in the hills is predictable and habitat and terrain makes for some good funnels...though I typically don't head for the classic funnels like saddles and such that typically are already over hunted.

I look for small things. I found a spot this fall I can almost bet my buck tag on for years to come....there's a cut in the hillside that is absolutely nasty and nearly impossible for a deer to cross. It doesn't show up on a topo. All the deer are crossing the top of it.

Benches, high walls, old logging roads....tons of good stuff in the big woods and up in the hills.

Break it down further and find the doe bedding and their food sources. Put yourself in a funnel between those areas and the buck bedding...good things aughta happen. That's why I'm always marking what I'm seeing. It's all a piece of the puzzle I might need one day.


After a few years of running trail cams I've learned something....big mature bucks on pressured lands aren't moving much in the daylight regardless of the rut...they may get up a little bit earlier...they might get back to bed a little later. But the closer you are to his bed the better your odds are of killing him. He didn't get old by running around through the hubs and saddles in broad daylight. Those bucks are dead. The mature buck has learned that.


Follow a mature buck through the snow. Find a track the size of your hand. That's one of my favorite things to do. I wish we had snow in October and November because it'd be eye opening.

I look at mature bucks on pressured lands as a totally different animal.


My other secret.....the moon. I'm a huge believer in the moon and movement times.

Opening day of archery this year I knew the odds were in my favor just based on the moon and peak movements scheduled to be an hour or so before dark. I forget the time but I knew the odds were high that they'd get up early that day.






That's about 15-20mins after I shot him. You can see there's still a good hour of daylight based on the sun.



Again...I'm no pro and don't claim to be...

I think the biggest key is putting in the time and paying attention the everything. Analyze everything. The smallest details can make all the difference...back to when I scouted that marsh spot...had I not noticed that all the tracks on the best down trail were walking TOWARDS the beds, I'd probably be standing on my head still.


The scouting is huge. And you need to find a lot of spots...some are wind based...some places I need windy or wet days because of noise...and like I said, once I hunt it, I'm probably done with it for the season. But back to scouting, if he didn't come out of THAT bed you just hunted..chances are he probably won't come back for while...jump into the next bed...and the next...and the next. You don't usually have to give up on the entire place. Just that particular set.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-07-2019, 05:51 PM
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After a few years of running trail cams I've learned something....big mature bucks on pressured lands aren't moving much in the daylight regardless of the rut...they may get up a little bit earlier...they might get back to bed a little later. But the closer you are to his bed the better your odds are of killing him. He didn't get old by running around through the hubs and saddles in broad daylight. Those bucks are dead. The mature buck has learned that.
I believe this to be true as well.
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Traditions only last if you pass them down to your kids!
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