Why are you on edge all the time?

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magicman54494
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby magicman54494 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:42 pm

Something else to keep in mind. Tracking has taught me that bucks don't really have a post rut. They keep right on going right up til they drop their antlers. They may slow down some but they still keep making their rounds checking for hot does. Most of the old bucks move at night so its tough but if you hunt near their bedding (along their travel route)
you still have a chance. They have multiple beds so its tricky but you just guess and go.
The biggest mistake I made for years was walking in the woods and finding a "good" spot and hunting it. I finally got smart and started hunting for bucks not good looking spots. The spot is only good if a big buck is using it.


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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby cdeam » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:53 am

Since I joined the beast last year I've read this thread 4 or 5 times. Each time it has been a different 'aha' moment. After beast hunting blind off of topos last season and this years scouting (big woods hill country) I again read this this thread and all I can say is thank you. The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together.

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Terry » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:12 am

I need to spend more time going through these old threads! This is a good one and covers about 80% of how I hunt. The woods I frequent are pretty good sized and flat, and the features I focus on are terrain changes, preferably where thick cover meets more open woods. Like previously mentioned, where two or more of these edges meet tend to be hot spots in November or as soon as the buck are up on their feet during daylight hours. I call these hubs.

I usually focus on some kind of water, either streams or swamps. I start following one and it leads me to another and then another. It also gives me land marks to find my way back out. This gives me a fast method of breaking down the woods and focusing most of my time where most of the sign is.

When following an edge, I focus on where these edges form corners, either inside or outside. Where the line jots out and makes a point is another hot spot. These type of areas are almost like funnels and narrow down a bucks travel route a bit. If I sit on a transition line, it's usually at one of these features. You will also find a concentration of rubs and scrapes here. Something that has worked for me before is finding a blow down that prevented the deer from running close to the line. It was an old clear cut and was thicker than with what I believe are some kind of wild rose bush, thick and prickly. The deer ran the edges and fed on some of the growth that grew on the transition line. A large tree had fallen into the cut and the deer would circle out around it's root system instead of going around it into the cut. There was a short defined trail there so I left my climber I had at the time there. I sat there three times and ended up missing a decent buck on my third set.

I also consider ridges to be edges and when I hunt areas that have them, I follow them the same way looking for the same type of features. The old rule of hunting a third of the way down like Dan stresses in his Hill Country DVD applies here. Sometimes a really slight change is all it takes. It could be a small flat or barely noticeable high spot that a lot of guys wouldn't even notice, but the buck will stop at these spots.

One last thing I want to add is anytime the transition line is formed from thick cover that provides good bedding I look for the faint parallel trails that buck use to scent check doe bedding. Even if one is not visible I like to assume it's there anyways.
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby KLEMZ » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:15 am

This thread has been extremely helpful to me!! Long winded post here, so if you are not a big woods hunter you may want to skip this.

ANOTHER year has passed, and I wanted to check in with my experiences with bow hunting the big woods rut, applying magicmans concepts of hunting edges and sign (finding active pockets of does before you hang a stand).

My hunt was in North Wisconsin National Forest big woods. Ultra low deer density, non existent bowhunting pressure, deer on natural patterns. My plan was to walk transitions towards known or suspected doe bedding, and keep walking until I had signs of active pockets of does... then set up and hunt. I also wanted to give leeward side hill hunting, for cruisers, a try.

Day 1 (Nov. 7th)...This is not classic hill country, but I selected a ridge line that runs 1.5 miles with a 80' drop in elevation. Based only on topos, I walked to a predetermined spot at the head of a draw. As it turns out, the draw was not steep enough to concentrate movement, though I did have a 2.5yr old cruise thru at 10:30... 40 yards is too far for my longbow. Being short on time for the afternoon hunt, I walked directly to a known doe bedding area (with out checking for sign :oops: ). 1/2 hr before dark, a doe and fawn exited the small cedar swamp and moved past at 20 yards. No sign of estrous, but I decided I could hunt here later in the week.

Day 2 (Nov 8th)...Waited till first light and scouted my way in (1.25 miles) to a known doe bedding area. Not much sign seen the whole way in until I crossed a 20 acre flats with sporadic clumps of red oaks. A few select trees had pawings in the leaves. I knew of 4 different areas that does preferred to bed within 400 yards of that platue. I headed for the one used the most (historically). I sat there until 1pm without seeing a deer. I moved to one of the other bedding areas for the pm sit. I noted multiple scrapes on my walk to the new stand and was set up by 3pm. Shifty winds had my scent blow towards the bedding area several times and I never saw a deer (although I heard sticks breaking so i was pretty sure they smelled me).

Day 3 (Nov 9th)...Gusty, swirly winds. Walked all day in areas with known oak ridges. Never found any pawings for acorns. Apparently, all oak areas are not the same. I set up near the only fresh doe sign I found (by 3pm). The terrain was consistent with many doe bedding areas I know of, so I set up on the edge of it. Once again, swirly winds betrayed me and I never saw a deer.

Day 4 (Nov 10th)...Massive snow storm all day..did not hunt.

Day 5 (NOV 11TH)...14" of snow at camp. 20" at one area I hunt, so I decided to hunt only near camp for better mobility. Parking the truck was an adventure. Started hiking about 10am. Hiked all day trying to cover any good looking areas that were near the road. Nothing found.

Day 6 (Nov 12th)...Scouted more close to the road spots till 10:30am. Nothing found. Went back to the truck to regroup. Decided to forge my way back to the oak platue found early in the week. Had to park the truck 1/3 mile from my entry spot into the woods. The long hike back to the oak flats showed me multiple cruising buck tracks in the deep snow...very encouraging. Once I got to the oak platue I knew I had made the right decision! A few select oak trees were being hammered by the deer! I was set up overlooking a favored oak tree by 1pm. 3 hours later I sent a Zwickey thru the gear box of this buck...


Image


Hard earned big woods bucks is my idea of bow hunting!
Thanks, yet again, to magicman for sharing his insights on this thread. Sign based hunting, in low deer density big woods, (vs. hunting funnels) is a paradigm shift for me!
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PLB
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby PLB » Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:40 am

Great post and Buck Klemz!! That's just awesome!!

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Edcyclopedia » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:05 am

Sweettacular! :clap:
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Jackson Marsh » Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:41 am

Awesome Klemz! :clap:

That's a great snow pic!!

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby KLEMZ » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:25 pm

Thanks guys!
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Hodag Hunter » Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:01 pm

Congrats on a great looking buck. Consistently getting it down in northwoods with a bow is no easy task.

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby justdirtyfun » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:49 pm

Good info here.
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby kurt » Fri Apr 17, 2015 12:55 pm

Awesome ... one of the best threads

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby stash59 » Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:53 am

Finally read this great thread. Klemz could you describe what your doe bedding areas are like. Or have any pics?

Thanx!!
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby KLEMZ » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:07 am

Where I hunt in North Wisconsin, there really aren't big swamps or miles of hills and ridges. It is flat to rolling hills and is pocked with multiple small swamps/marshes, etc. In this area, there are certain terrain feature combinations and doe bedding tendencies that allow me to predict where doe bedding might be...
-they are almost always in thicker cover
-they are almost always on a slight elevation
-they are almost always immediately adjacent to a large expanse of hardwoods, yet close to other terrain or vegetation diversity.

So, any area I see on my maps that "line up" with all these requirements, is marked as potential doe bedding.

I will describe the pattern that has been my most reliable in terms of does bedding there year after year. Basically, find a cedar swamp between 15-40 acres or so (can be bigger) that has a higher ground dry seam running thru it from end to end. The does bed on the higher ground thick cover. Or you can find two small cedar swamps that are real close together, again forming a higher ground thick area between them. I believe these types of doe bedding areas are more consistantly used from year to year because it is kind of like two bedding areas in one...they have a front door and a back door. As food patterns change, they can still use the same bedding area, just exit/enter the most convenient side. Plus, being related to the cedars, they have shade in the hot weather and thermal cover in the cold. These cedar swamp complex's are not usually stand alone oasis' out in a sea of hardwoods, they are almost always very near other transitions.


Here are a couple examples of what they look like
Image
Image


Image
Image
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby stash59 » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:54 am

KLEMZ wrote:Where I hunt in North Wisconsin, there really aren't big swamps or miles of hills and ridges. It is flat to rolling hills and is pocked with multiple small swamps/marshes, etc. In this area, there are certain terrain feature combinations and doe bedding tendencies that allow me to predict where doe bedding might be...
-they are almost always in thicker cover
-they are almost always on a slight elevation
-they are almost always immediately adjacent to a large expanse of hardwoods, yet close to other terrain or vegetation diversity.

So, any area I see on my maps that "line up" with all these requirements, is marked as potential doe bedding.

I will describe the pattern that has been my most reliable in terms of does bedding there year after year. Basically, find a cedar swamp between 15-40 acres or so (can be bigger) that has a higher ground dry seam running thru it from end to end. The does bed on the higher ground thick cover. Or you can find two small cedar swamps that are real close together, again forming a higher ground thick area between them. I believe these types of doe bedding areas are more consistantly used from year to year because it is kind of like two bedding areas in one...they have a front door and a back door. As food patterns change, they can still use the same bedding area, just exit/enter the most convenient side. Plus, being related to the cedars, they have shade in the hot weather and thermal cover in the cold. These cedar swamp complex's are not usually stand alone oasis' out in a sea of hardwoods, they are almost always very near other transitions.


Here are a couple examples of what they look like
Image
Image


Image
Image


Thanx for the pics Klemz!!
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby justin84 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:22 am

Very helpful, thanks! Do you focus on these areas during the rut? If you were approaching an area like this blind for a first sit, anything you look for or gravitate towards when setting up?

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