Why are you on edge all the time?

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

Postby KLEMZ » Sat Jul 25, 2015 10:43 am

justin84 wrote:Do you focus on these areas during the rut?


Yes, that's when I have been hunting these areas. My goal during the rut is to shoot a 3 1/2 yr old buck or older in the big woods. This has proven to be a very effective method for me. It has opened my eyes to how vital it is to find fresh, daytime sign before setting up and hunting. This has also enlightened me for my buck bed hunting in Southern Wisconsin!



justin84 wrote:If you were approaching an area like this blind for a first sit, anything you look for or gravitate towards when setting up?


I would have all suspected doe bedding marked on your maps and choose a route that covers as many transitions as possible as you scout your way in. As soon as you discover fresh doe activity... stop walking!... (to minimize your trail scent), pull out your maps and make your best guess as to what is going on. Consider the terrain, the wind, the need for natural shooting lanes (bow hunting), and pick a tree to hunt. Your guess may be wrong, but you will likely see deer activity and be able to adjust (if you are hunting this way you are already very mobile, so moving based on observations is very doable). I also think you can hunt a second day in a row once you find an active doe pocket. The next day you will very likely be in a different tree based on wind and your observations.

These are the things I look for as I scout the transitions looking for active does...
-observed deer (chasing, bounding, feeding)
-light trails with some crushed leaves (from sharp doe and fawn hooves)
-FRESH doe/fawn tracks
-FRESH doe/fawn droppings
-pawings for food
-fresh rubs near suspected doe bedding are a bonus, but they are very hard to come by these days in northern Wisconsin....very low population right now
-multiple small scrapes in a smallish area (100 yrd circle)...probably a feeding area
-buck cruising tracks

DO NOT count on finding heavy sign!!! This is low population and a huge land area, everything is spread out and subtle...trust your instincts!

Picking the best set up is still a work in progress for me. I have problems when the wind is 15-20+. Doe bedding areas are in spots with lots of vegetation and elevation variation...in other words, terrain that causes wind eddies. Plus, you won't have the luxury of knowing what wind is the best for this area because this is your first time here.

Dan and Mario's "Wind and Thermals" podcast has given me some ideas on how to understand what the wind will do. I will report back on that one.

The ideal wind is 5-10mph (in this terrain). There really aren't any wind eddies (swirling winds), so it is WAY easier to set up and kill a deer in this situation.


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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby Bow_Badger » Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:49 am

This is a great thread

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby johnsoninc86 » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:46 am

This is a great thread for me, so I figured I'd add my experience that this tactic works. This strategy is a great way to quickly diagnose and break down a property and has been my go-to method for 2 day draw hunts around here for the last year or two. We sign up for every available draw hunt that DNR offers around here. Its usually a great way to earn an extra buck or two, but it offers a unique challenge because most of these hunts are military refuges that are closed off to scouting. Cyber scouting becomes key, and finding hard and soft transition lines becomes the name of the game.

Last season we got drawn for a military refuge hunt. This parcel is fairly flat, which was a change for me coming from southern Indiana hill country. We had hunted this parcel a year or two prior with no luck. I went to aerials and started identifying some major transition lines between old growth oaks and areas that had been logged in a grid pattern. Sure enough, a 3/4 mile hike into one of these transition lines revealed scrapes all up and down it along with a few rubs, and numerous trails traversing through it. I sat there all day and watched 5 does and 2 small bucks walk by just out of range. After a quick location adjustment, I smoked this decent little 6 pointer at 5pm. There were 325 hunters in the refuge that day and 20 deer were taken total. I was happy to be one of the guys who figured it out. My father in law sat 1/2 mile away and never saw the first deer, so it was a good ah-ha moment for me as a deer hunter.
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justin84
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby justin84 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:51 am

I just got to reading your response, KLEMZ, awesome stuff...thank you!
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby EthanHogan1 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 4:30 pm

bumping this awesome post for new readers like myself. props to everyone who shared. KLEMZ amazing stuff
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby 338winny » Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:18 am

EthanHogan1 wrote:bumping this awesome post for new readers like myself. props to everyone who shared. KLEMZ amazing stuff


X2 - I've read this whole thread a couple times.
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby mainebowhunter » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:13 am

magicman54494 wrote: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.


Looks like I am bumping up an oldie!

Thanks for sending me the link...reading this stuff. 100% how I spend most of my spring and fall scouting. Now I am strictly an archery hunter and primarily looking to kill 3.5 olds or better in October. So funnels, cruising spots, doe bedding...really do not focus on so much. Really, focus on figuring out buck bedding areas with a food source as a destination. In big woods type hunting, its really important for me to understand the direction of travel. This past week or 2, I have a lot of hours scouting a section of big woods style hunting. Its not necessarily GIANT timber...only about 1500acres or so. The edges have some houses...buildings. BUT the terrain, is very much big woods timber with some old old cutovers, some newer cutovers and woods that has not been cut. Deer are traveling for food, very much relating to the cuts. Since the cuts are older, the food is not as abundant. I believe the food source they are traveling for are apples. All my scouting has marking beds, marking ground scrapes, marking trails and then making my plan from there.

The beds ...its more of a bedding area rather than just a few beds, there are a bunch. With all of the rub lines, its telling me the direction of travel and where I can catch these bucks moving out of these beds headed for food. There is also a brook running through one of the openings. What was fun to see, all my scouting showed the majority of movement was headed one way. I walked round and round with my GPS marking spots till I had a really good idea of where the majority of the bedding was taking place.

Another thing that is really interesting about the big woods are alder thickets. I used to think. There is an alder thicket. Its a bedding area. True. It could be. However, upon further inspection, the bucks are using only a very small portion of the alders to bed. This may not always be the case...but this spring, kind of saw it more than once. In a 50 to 100 acre alder thicket, the bucks are only using a small percentage of it.

I also noticed you mentioned inseason scouting. This is a big part of the way we hunt here in Maine. Very few spots have I found deer doing the same thing every year. Some years are acorn years, some years are apple years. Some years are neither. I have done well in season scouting, moving in on hot and sign and killing the buck or one of them that was making it.

i would post up stuff I have been scouting for examples...but to leery to post up. It will be a brand new spot this year. Have hunted the fringes before...but never in deeper. Will it produce? Who knows. Its always fun to hope!!

I will say, because I do not rifle hunt, I think this has hampered the learning curve a bit with how buck are moving through the big woods. I really think the biggest disadvantage I have found is that I am not learning as much new terrain. Only way around that is to make up the time post season. Guys with guns cover a LOT of ground.
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justin84
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby justin84 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:25 am

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

Postby justin84 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:39 am

Re-reading this post and thinking ahead to my annual northwoods trip. The area circled in black is one example (I think) of something that KLEMZ mentioned earlier that I'm going to be checking out. I've had a tendency to hunt the hills in this area but after reviewing this thread I'm going to specifically target some of the high ground intersecting swamp.

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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby creepingdeth » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:38 am

newbe here, what I've learned so far is edge or transition is in my top 5 things to look for. I need to keep hearing that, thanks :D
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby creepingdeth » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:02 am

Hate to say it but I'm already thinking 'bout scouting for next year w/ a little bow left...Edge or transition goes in top 5 for off season. I happen to enjoy scouting as much as hunting so I'm stoked. Still have some time left this season so I can empioy it right now 8-) :dance:
Again a shout out to Magic and everyone else for sharing info. and helping me out :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby cougar » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:31 pm

Mainebowhunter, spent a few weekends hunting the danforth area downeast... found a few deer a few times but never shot a big woods monster, mostly run into moose and partridge ! Best we've done is a 2 1/2 year old 7 pt. I'm always intrigued by the old growth corridors left between cuts, along wetland boundaries or in property pockets... any insight into how those factor into this discussion? other than just as part of an edge?
row row row your boat, gently down the stream ...
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby dan » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:44 am

cougar wrote:Mainebowhunter, spent a few weekends hunting the danforth area downeast... found a few deer a few times but never shot a big woods monster, mostly run into moose and partridge ! Best we've done is a 2 1/2 year old 7 pt. I'm always intrigued by the old growth corridors left between cuts, along wetland boundaries or in property pockets... any insight into how those factor into this discussion? other than just as part of an edge?

In my opinion the hardwood corridors can often be to far back if there is any kind of pressure. I prefer the interior and more subtle transitions. It seems like hunters both with 2 legs and four glue to those open walking areas and deer catch on to that. Its pressure related, and Ive seen areas where what Im saying is wrong, but in general not where I would likely set up for a kill spot. And they will fool you, cause deer will go there later at night and leave rubs and other sign. I like small islands that are thick all the way around and connect nothing for bed hunting. Rut maybe the corridor is a good place to look for cruisers though...
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby cougar » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:33 am

Thanks Dan, the spots i'm thinking of aren't hardwoods... Its old growth hemlock, mossy ground, dark and damp. Basically what the timber companies aren't allowed to cut along streams or the steep side of a ridge down into a swamp that they didnt bother with. I always see sign there but sometimes I think the moss and hemlock needles hold the droppings and tracks for a long time compared to other spots. its one of the definitive edges in Northern Maine big timber, where clear cuts in various stages of regrowth serve as bedding, food, etc. I usually only hunt up there 2 or 3 days a season and its just a totally different ballgame from woodlot / hayfield / red brush & alder swamp / housing develoment edges and transitions I'm used to dissecting in southern Maine and Mass
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Re: Why are you on edge all the time?

Postby STIKnSTRING » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:21 pm

This is probably the single most informative post I have read on the beast so far :clap: Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us who still struggle with big woods. I truly love hunting big woods, but it can be very stressful and overwhelming just looking at topo maps trying to figure out where to start

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