How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

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johndeere506
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How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby johndeere506 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:02 am

I've never really hunted clearcuts. I'm looking at some bigwoods hill country areas with some different age clearcuts. What age cleacuts do you focus on? How do you hunt them? Do bucks bed in them in the hills, or mainly come to feed? I'm considering late now season, and possibly muzzleloader. Seemed like a good late season topic when other food is gone.


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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby abianca99 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:01 am

I'm in for this as well
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby elk yinzer » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:20 am

Like anything else there area million factors. Clearcuts in the true sense of the word, where they take everything, fortunately I don't see much on public land anymore, at least around here. Most of what we see is shelterwood and seed tree cutting, where they leave varying levels of mature trees and undergrowth. Selective cuts are even better...man I love me some selective timber cuts.

I've hunted some weeks after they were cut, if they leave enough treetops and underbrush. If they leave the treetops deer love to come and feast on those. If it's too open from the get-go, it's going to take a few years to regenerate some undergrowth to the point deer feel comfortable

From there it depends how they regenerate. Prime age seems to be about 5-10 years. After everything has regrown enough to keep them concealed. About when the blackberry brambles are at their peak, where they have tons of cover, tons of browse. After about 10 years, the good browse like the brambles starts to get shaded out and you reach the stage where there isn't much food, but still pretty good bedding cover. At about 15 or 20 years, a lot of the stands really seem to open up, and become rather useless for decades unless subsequent management comes in and opens up the canopy for some new growth and a mixed-age stand. That's why a lot of the big woods in PA is useless today, they are old even-aged stands that shade out all the underbrush.

The other thing, with as hard as some of our public land gets hit, is that they are huge factor in growing older age class bucks. Some of the more open, accessible woods, deer get wiped out the first year they have a legal rack. From what I have found, even in areas that get tremendous hunting pressure, more bucks survive to maturity because they spend rifle season holed up in the thickest cuts.

A lot of guys like to hunt the textbook features that are created, edges, corners, funnels, islands, all those can be good, but they tend to be hunter magnets and get hit pretty hard. I have a couple really great stands within these features, but a big part of those is scouting hunter pressure.

I've never shot a deer from deep within the cuts but it's something I am trying to learn to do and listen carefully to anyone that has had success doing it. I had a few sits this year where I felt I had a pretty good chance and saw some non-shooters. The setups that were working for me there were getting in the seed trees that had some branches for cover, and hunting convergences of logging roads. It was tight quarters and I got made a couple times, the key was seeing the deer before they see you. The setups that didn't work, I was too visible and got busted before I could see the deer.
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby Darkknight54 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:39 pm

Here is one thread - viewtopic.php?f=3&t=39176
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby SEMObowhunter » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:09 pm

For rifle hunting I like them about year 2 to year 5. We get sage grass and BlackBerry briars (which deer love the leaves) first. Then the saplings and sumac scrub comes on. I have had some awesome hunting in them with a gun. Problem with bow is it’s so open in a tree and tree availability. But it’s awesome habitat for deer. They really start bedding in them about year five. Maybe sooner in some cases. But you just hunt the terrain In Them In Hill country like you would if it was mature growth. I have one that is six years old that my property borders and it’s about 300 acres in size. It’s almist too thick to see in now. The deer can move, you can hear them, but cannot see them. But it allows deer to hide from pressure and they will move all day in them. Good spot for bucks to cruise in daylight if ou can find any sort of tree to get in, even 8-10 feet off the ground makes a world of difference.
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby jbone23 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:28 pm

Theres a good book called "How to hunt clear-cuts Successfully" by j wayne fears its only 90 pages. Its all about doing it in mid Alabama, but probably works abut the same where you are. It explains all the different growth periods and how to look at them. Its a pretty good resource. Pm if you wanna borrow it

Other than that I look at them like Dan hunts marsh focus on bowls and points and stuff.
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby Bowfisher » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:00 pm

New to cuts here as well. Do you find bucks will bed and feed in a thick fairly young cut? Seems possible to me that they could stay in there all day and well into the night if surrounded by cover and food? The cuts I have the opportunity to hunt are fairly small as well, few acres.
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby JAK » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:49 pm

I shot my buck this year by a active clear cut lotta lotta deer sign not sure if they ate tops or not I'm curious with this thread new to clear cuts as well. All I know is it sure looked better in there when they were logging then when I scouted it .
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby Dhurtubise » Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:53 pm

SEMObowhunter wrote:For rifle hunting I like them about year 2 to year 5. We get sage grass and BlackBerry briars (which deer love the leaves) first. Then the saplings and sumac scrub comes on. I have had some awesome hunting in them with a gun. Problem with bow is it’s so open in a tree and tree availability. But it’s awesome habitat for deer. They really start bedding in them about year five. Maybe sooner in some cases. But you just hunt the terrain In Them In Hill country like you would if it was mature growth. I have one that is six years old that my property borders and it’s about 300 acres in size. It’s almist too thick to see in now. The deer can move, you can hear them, but cannot see them. But it allows deer to hide from pressure and they will move all day in them. Good spot for bucks to cruise in daylight if ou can find any sort of tree to get in, even 8-10 feet off the ground makes a world of difference.


X2. 2-5 is the sweet spot. But you’ll have good deer in them for a full ten years where I hunt. It just gets harder to hunt because of how dense the new growth gets. Another thing that doesn’t get discussed much is some cuts get sprayed so that the new froth is almost uniformly a single culture- all red pine or spruce or whatever. Those cuts are usually significantly inferior for hunting. Diversity is a big drawing card.
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Re: How to hunt cleacuts, and what age cuts

Postby cedarsavage » Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:33 pm

My best spot is a cut on a south slope with regrowth waist to chest high. There is one trail coming from south where they come out of bottomland consistently an hour before dark. Otherwise I’ve watched them come and go in every scenario n to s, e to w, w to e, top to bottom, bottom to top. The whips from my observation are the main food source here, once the few acorns and maple leaves are done. Cold days they really like that south slope and eating those whips. I can’t say it’s consistent everywhere but that spot it is. It’s very hard to pinpoint exactly where they are gonna come through imo best route is to cut a bunch of lanes. Around my house I have mostly six foot tall poplars not many deer in there, but that’s low swampy land and honestly here numbers are generally lower in wet stuff from my observation. Six foot poplar areas have probably half the deer psm imo. I’ve been in these two areas so I can’t speak from a long term observation.

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