Why are you on edge all the time?

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magicman54494
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Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby magicman54494 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:55 pm

No, I’m not wound up tight. I don’t need to relax. I’m just huntin for a big one.
If there is one thing that tracking mature deer has taught me is they are creatures of the edge. If you’re not on an edge you’re not in the game! People look at a map of huge wilderness areas and say where in the world should I hunt. There is so much land. I can tell you that you can eliminate almost all of the land and focus on maybe 5% of it. The edges. There, the woods isn’t quite so big anymore is it? So what is an edge? I consider an edge anywhere there is a change. There are probably more types but I’d like to break it down to two types. The first type is a vegetation change. This can be natural or man made such as a clear cut. These types are easy to pick out on aerial photos. It’s easy to see where different types of trees or brush meet. The second type is a bit more obscure but is used by bucks maybe as much. These are the topo changes within a area with the same type of vegetation. The areas I hunt do not have huge elevation changes. I would say mostly 100 ft or less. More often 10 to 20 ft. Bucks love to run the ridge tops. I tracked one this season and as I was tracking him I stopped often and saved waypoints on my GPS. Later that evening I put it up on my laptop and I was amazed how the loop he made matched perfectly with the pattern of the ridge tops. These edges can be found by using topo maps. They won’t show up on aerial photos. I need to add that valleys are good as well. It seems like the more productive valleys are those where most of the land is the same elevation except for a trough or valley. These can be hot spots during the rut if they link bedding areas.
But magic, there is still a lot to choose from. Miles of edges. Help! At this point I try to tip the odds in my favor as much as I can. I have to stop here for a second and point out a big woods reality. A great spot MIGHT produce a trophy buck if hunted from dark to dark for a week straight. This is why it’s so critical to pick the best possible spots. I like the edges near thicker cover because I believe (could be wrong here) bucks will use these more often during the day. I walk these edges and note any deer sign, buck or doe. I like finding those small pockets of doe activity. I also look for sign that a buck may be using that edge. I also look for converging edges. The more edges that meet, the better my odds. A funnel or bottleneck is a good example of converging edges. I would like to point out a mistake I used to make all the time. A FUNNEL IS WORTHLESS IF THERE IS NO REASON FOR THE BUCK TO GO THRU THERE. Many people including me look at topos and find a great funnel and hunt it unsuccessfully simply because there was no reason for a buck to travel thru it. After collecting all this data I look at the big picture of a huge area and select a stand site. I know where the deer are, bucks and does. I know where they are going to travel and I select what I believe is the best spot to ambush that smelly old beast.
So next time you find yourself on edge, sit back and relax, good things are going to happen.


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The best hunting plan you can have is an open mind
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Dewey » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:58 pm

Thanks for sharing! Great information! 8-)

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby hunter_mike » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:11 pm

that was a good read and was much needed before this weekend as I am beginning to feel hopeless in finding a nice buck. It aint over till its over. Thanks for posting it!!
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby gogebicbuckslayer » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:14 pm

Great post, thank you!

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Stanley » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:18 pm

Great post.
You can fool some of the bucks, all of the time, and fool all of the bucks, some of the time, however you certainly can't fool all of the bucks, all of the time.
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Darin » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:41 pm

Good thread. This will be in my head next time I look at that map.
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby PLB » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:42 pm

Great post Magic!! If you have a spot where converging edges all come together, that's as good as it gets in my opinion. It will produce year after year.

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Tadmdad » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:07 am

What you point out here Magic is a method of breaking down a large tract of bigwoods and putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. As you noted before, its all the other things you learn from tracking a buck of tendencies and how they travel through a area, using topography and edges, nothing a buck does is random.

On the hunt we did in the BWCAW this year, the route that Mike took was very specific, as I had tracked a good buck 2 years prior on the exact same route, from the opposite direction of travel. We used Mike's GPS and a topo the night before and marked some waypoints for him to hit. I intentionally worked the lower ground, along a old beaver slashing, hoping to move something his way. Was not surprised when he killed a buck at 1:30 in the afternoon, more just enjoyed the plan coming together. He told me he seen 2 younger bucks and over 30 scrapes on that route, not surprising as that would be a bucks preferred travel route through this area.

As you point out, there is a method to the madness, and is very specific where you want to be and when. We just need to see what the deer tell us at times, they are the teacher.

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Scot » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:24 am

Good information!

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Edcyclopedia » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:43 am

Nice read Magic...

- How do you combat the situation with limited snow?

- The snow provides an aide for in-season scouting,
what do you do for scouting in the off season to tip the odds in your favor, if any, other than look at aerials and topos?

- Were the bucks you got the first time on that parcel or years in the making?
Expect the Unexpected when you least Expect it...
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magicman54494
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby magicman54494 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:41 am

Edcyclopedia wrote:Nice read Magic...

- How do you combat the situation with limited snow?

- The snow provides an aide for in-season scouting,
what do you do for scouting in the off season to tip the odds in your favor, if any, other than look at aerials and topos?

- Were the bucks you got the first time on that parcel or years in the making?

Snow is nice and makes quick scouting much easier but it really isn't necessary. Deer do what deer do so I know where they like to travel, bed, feed. You can find deer sign without snow then just put the pieces together.
I have done both but the more you learn about an area the more success you will have. The woods changes each year so it's important to keep up with what's going on. My best spot in Minn is hardly worth sitting any more. It was hot because I found an edge that connected 2 logged areas and it had doe bedding along that edge. The cuts have grown to the point where they are no longer feed sources and the does have relocated to new areas. Logging is probably the biggest changer of the dynamics of big woods. The biggest mistake I, and probably most people make is not keeping up with the changes. It's human nature to go back and hunt spots where you have had success. It can be a trap because you can burn up hunting time in a spot that is no longer good. You have to trust what the woods is telling you now, not the past. A friend of mine killed a great buck with his bow this year after ignoring the sign time and again. Finally he decided to hunt there instead of where he usually goes (he was walking right thru this area to get to his "good" spot) and killed a dandy the first sit.
kyrie eleison



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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Bucky » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:15 am

I agree... edge is where the action is. What are your experiences with rivers/creeks and how bucks travel that particular edge? Parallel? Bedding in Ox bows? Crossing in particular spots in regards to turns...

This can be a new topic as well 8-)
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby magicman54494 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:46 am

Bucky wrote:I agree... edge is where the action is. What are your experiences with rivers/creeks and how bucks travel that particular edge? Parallel? Bedding in Ox bows? Crossing in particular spots in regards to turns...

This can be a new topic as well 8-)

rivers are just another edge. A great edge at that. If I had no maps or proir scouting of an area and had to hunt it I'd pick a river and still hunt it. If I found a good crossing I might stand hunt it. A river crossing is a converging of 2 edges, one edge on one side one on the other. rivers almost always have heavy cover and food. Crossings are usually found (on wider rivers) where high ground on each side forces the river to be narrow. Topos are great for finding these spots. Shallow spots are good crossings too. On smaller creeks / rivers they cross just about anywhere. Lakes are great edges too! My Minn buck this year was taken on a river crossing (beaver dam). I never set foot in that area before I hunted it. I found the crossings on aerial photos and dove in to quick scout it - gun in hand. I sat it for 2 days and he was the third deer I saw. Again, I'd like to stress that my quick scouting revealed a good buck in the area and does as well. It's important to have faith in your spots and not give up too soon. Plan a good entry and do your best not to hunt right on the edge so that you can hunt it multiple days without burning it out.
kyrie eleison



The best hunting plan you can have is an open mind
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby dan » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:55 am

Good post... I often refer to "edge" as transition... But what you say about it, is true every where you hunt whitetails.
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby PeteJ » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:43 pm

Great read Magic!

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