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.