Advice on Big Woods hunting

This forum section is for the select few who believe in hard work and refuse to “Buy” success.
  • Advertisement

HB Store


User avatar
SwampStalker
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:23 am
Facebook: Don't have it
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby SwampStalker » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:09 pm

Looks like you have gotten some good advise so far.

Things i would suggest that may help:

1 try and use the cameras to almost track the buck back to the general direction/area he is bedding, and find that bed and take note of what the wind direction was when he was using it when you do find it.

2. Once you locate the bed or beds on specific wind directions, make a plan on how you are going to access your hunting location. Try not to walk anywhere that will cross his travel path to your entrance route. And more obviously, don't let your scent carry to his bed with your access route. I have walked up to a mile out of the way just to avoid these things.

3. Since your in hill country thermals play a even more important part in your hunt in my opinion. Make sure you know what those thermals are doing in the area you are hunting. The deer will use both the thermals and the wind to their favor. Hunting bottoms can be tricky due to the winds tendency to swirl.


“Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't” -Jerry Rice
bh bowhunter
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:39 am
Location: Black Hills SD
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby bh bowhunter » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:36 am

Thanks for the replies! I will definitely have to check out the web site for wind directions and see if there is any correlation on the days the shooters came thru. Maybe I played it safe to much by not doing enough in season scouting when conditions were right. I'm not the type of hunter that relies totally on trailcams to tell me where to hunt, but they sure let ya know what's around!

I do plan on using a few more in the area for next season to figure out some possible bedding areas. I have a couple out in other areas that I plan on hunting next season that I haven't checked since early November. There is a logging operation that will move thru this winter and that will definitely change some things!

I think the main thing I will change next season is to be mostly mobile for most of the season. Maybe hunt a stand for first couple hours in morning and go mobile from there. Gonna have to observe something and hang a hit-n-run stand! Not worry so much about ground scent until I locate core areas! Here is the #1 buck and I was glad to see he survived the rifle season!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq5G6D5uT6o&feature=youtu.be
User avatar
ghoasthunter
500 Club
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:09 am
Location: New jersey
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby ghoasthunter » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:46 am

1 find the beds 2 find the trails that go too scrape 3 set up way farther down wind of the scrapes the big boys will scent check them way more than hitting them. they are probably scent checking you in process. also these big woods bucks will sometimes bed on a high spot and watch the scrape.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL A HUNTER HAS IS BETWEEN HIS SHOULDERS
User avatar
Dhurtubise
500 Club
Posts: 1163
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:47 am
Facebook: dhurtubise
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby Dhurtubise » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:40 am

bh bowhunter wrote:Thanks for the replies! I will definitely have to check out the web site for wind directions and see if there is any correlation on the days the shooters came thru. Maybe I played it safe to much by not doing enough in season scouting when conditions were right. I'm not the type of hunter that relies totally on trailcams to tell me where to hunt, but they sure let ya know what's around!

I do plan on using a few more in the area for next season to figure out some possible bedding areas. I have a couple out in other areas that I plan on hunting next season that I haven't checked since early November. There is a logging operation that will move thru this winter and that will definitely change some things!

I think the main thing I will change next season is to be mostly mobile for most of the season. Maybe hunt a stand for first couple hours in morning and go mobile from there. Gonna have to observe something and hang a hit-n-run stand! Not worry so much about ground scent until I locate core areas! Here is the #1 buck and I was glad to see he survived the rifle season!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq5G6D5uT6o&feature=youtu.be


How often do you catch him on this camera trap? Bigwoods bucks often run 2-4 day circuits. That is a very killable buck from the far end of that knoll in the conifers if you’re not married to your bow. Winds appear perfect on the video.
mainebowhunter
500 Club
Posts: 3337
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:45 am
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby mainebowhunter » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:31 am

Bigwoods defined as no agriculture. Maine is primarily all big woods. Much of it has low deer densities. I spend 300-400hrs of offseason scouting, in the woods 365 days a year. Sometimes its less depending on the snow dump. But learning big acreage, solid timber is not going to happen in one season or 2.

Cameras and lots of them (I run 25-30) are your friends as well as a good GPS or mapping program. Time is also your friend. I have mentioned here before, to really get a handle on many of the areas I hunt, I am looking at a 15yr commitment. I am getting on mature bucks now. BUT to really have a handle on knowing what combos of different mast crops, dry or wet, its going to take a lot of years. Took me 5yrs to figure out one BIG oak tree was not a preferred food source. It is when acorns are slim but when we have a big acorn year, nope. Its just like the others. 2012, all dropped before season opened. 2013-2014 did not produce. 2015 no bucks I wanted to chase deer were hammering all hours of the day. 2016 bumper year on acorns. 5 YEARS it took to figure this out. Keeping a history on all of this and correlating that history with current scouting is HUGE. History repeats itself.

I run a LOT of cameras on scrapes from August to Dec. Many of the spots, I am not actively hunting. But I want to watch and see if there is something to be gleaned.

Inseason scouting is also super important. Staying on the hot sign. Learning what bucks are where during certain periods of time. Having an intimate knowledge of preferred food sources is a must and where the bucks bed in accordance to what food is hot.

Many times, bigwoods hunting also means less pressure. Cover is abundant, preferred food / mast crop is a much lower denominator. Bucks don't HAVE to bed for security reasons alone. Many times, their bedding is dictated on where they are feeding. Cameras tell me when bucks shift and if I am lucky, I can figure out where they shift to.

Anyways...just some thoughts.
bh bowhunter
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:39 am
Location: Black Hills SD
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby bh bowhunter » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:18 am

Thx again for the replies. I think its definitely gonna take more than a couple seasons to gain enough knowledge to kill this buck! There are 3 other nice bucks that use the scrape, two of them are mature also. Yes I believe he was using a few beds on the thinned out ridge to the west. When I scouted last winter I couldn't find a good tree for a stand, its all pole timber.
My plan was to kill one of them at the scrape, well that didn't work!

Did a lot of in season scouting, moved two stands around had some luck and passed on some young bucks in the area. Found a second scrape and more doe bedding areas, good to know! He came to the other scrape twice, also daytime. Found one of his sheds on a south facing slope last march, but I think that is more of a late season spot when there is heavy snow.

My plan for this season is to try to locate a few of his beds and prep trees for a hit and run stand. I have 10 trailcams but only ran 2 in this area last season. Will run 5 this year starting in july. Gonna still sit in ground blind by the scrape in the bottom, but not hunt so much. Will have a couple stands next to doe beds may catch him cruising! Had a bunch of deadfall come down on well used trails, need a chainsaw to clear a few spots! And most of all I plan on being more mobile and glassing a few open areas I found, hoping to see some movement that I can setup on! Any other suggestions?
KLEMZ
Posts: 1186
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:28 am
Location: SE Wisconsin
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby KLEMZ » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:27 am

bh bowhunter wrote:Any other suggestions?


ghoasthunter nailed it.....FIND THE BEDS!!

You obviously are close but you need to know exactly where these big boys call home. One tool that has helped me tremendously in big woods bed hunting is using caltopo maps overlayed onto google earth. Specifically, in caltopo, open up USGS 7.5 topo as the base map, then, overlay with shaded relief "normal" set at 50% transparency. This setting will make the bedding points on the topo stand out clearly! Then you can save those map views as KMZ's and then open them up in google earth. Do this by selecting "print" on tool bar at top of screen in caltopo, select target zoom 16 and press "reset". Save the map on screen and scroll over to the next area you want to save and repeat. Then you can open those files in google earth. Once in google earth save them to "my Places".

Why is all this necessary? Because it then allows you to see the graphically highlighted topographic points overlayed in google earth. This allows you to then use the timeline feature and get the best idea of where vegetation and terrain line up for secure bedding potential. i.e... you want a series of points close to each other that can cover all the winds. Preferably, with thick vegetation on the high side of the prevailing wind points.

Since you have three different mature bucks in the vicinity of your cams I would suspect you have a lot of great bedding potential nearby. It is up to you to find them.
mainebowhunter
500 Club
Posts: 3337
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:45 am
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby mainebowhunter » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:27 am

KLEMZ wrote:
bh bowhunter wrote:Any other suggestions?


ghoasthunter nailed it.....FIND THE BEDS!!

You obviously are close but you need to know exactly where these big boys call home. One tool that has helped me tremendously in big woods bed hunting is using caltopo maps overlayed onto google earth. Specifically, in caltopo, open up USGS 7.5 topo as the base map, then, overlay with shaded relief "normal" set at 50% transparency. This setting will make the bedding points on the topo stand out clearly! Then you can save those map views as KMZ's and then open them up in google earth. Do this by selecting "print" on tool bar at top of screen in caltopo, select target zoom 16 and press "reset". Save the map on screen and scroll over to the next area you want to save and repeat. Then you can open those files in google earth. Once in google earth save them to "my Places".

Why is all this necessary? Because it then allows you to see the graphically highlighted topographic points overlayed in google earth. This allows you to then use the timeline feature and get the best idea of where vegetation and terrain line up for secure bedding potential. i.e... you want a series of points close to each other that can cover all the winds. Preferably, with thick vegetation on the high side of the prevailing wind points.

Since you have three different mature bucks in the vicinity of your cams I would suspect you have a lot of great bedding potential nearby. It is up to you to find them.


That is one of the methods I use to locate the bedding. If bucks show in daylight, especially outside rut based behavior. I start looking for the best bedding spots within vicinity of that destination. I also verify some of this IF I kill the bucks and they go back and die in the beds I suspected of them using. Super interesting to follow and see where they die.

I also put cams on destination spots and when the buck shows, many times I can take a good guess of which bed he was using based on previous scouting. Observation sits are low percentage in the areas I hunt.

Big woods, low deer density humbles you real quick I know that. Some days it feels like I could not hunt my way out of a paper bag.
mainebowhunter
500 Club
Posts: 3337
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:45 am
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby mainebowhunter » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:58 am

Its also tough to compare "big woods" -- the Adirondacks are big woods. Northern Maine is big woods, probably most desolate place east of the Mississippi River. Most guys that have made names for themselves in these regions are snow trackers.
bh bowhunter
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:39 am
Location: Black Hills SD
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby bh bowhunter » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:53 pm

Maybe the Black Hills doesn't qualify as true BIG WOODS. There is a lot of private land around and the deer population is decent. I just wonder if you guys have a proven tactic that may work here. I would much rather still hunt like I do when I draw a rifle tag, but I don't waste my time unless conditions are good.

So I was out scouting today and found some beds in the snow. Two of the areas were along ridge tops where dense spruce and aspen turned to tall pines with thick jack pines at the base of the mature trees. Many beds and trails through out. Must have been doe bedding because there where many close to each other. Most of the tracks I looked at were melted and hard to read.

The other bedding spot was a blow down area and I found only a couple beds. This area wasn't on the ridge top and was on the north side of a steep ridge. I did find a young buck shed along the old logging road in a semi open area where I think they feed at nite. Gonna scout again after a fresh snow! Here is a nice 4 point that came thru several times last season.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6gYgiouBq0&feature=youtu.be
User avatar
Dhurtubise
500 Club
Posts: 1163
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:47 am
Facebook: dhurtubise
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby Dhurtubise » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:17 pm

I'd try and track him. Even if you don't kill him, you will know how he travels the terrain and you will learn how he personally likes to bed (and find some of his beds too). Good thing is you live where you have snow cover so that makes it possible.
mainebowhunter
500 Club
Posts: 3337
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:45 am
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby mainebowhunter » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:29 pm

Are you archery hunting or rifle hunting? OR both? Big woods favors the rifle hunter for sure and gives you more advantages.
bh bowhunter
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:39 am
Location: Black Hills SD
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby bh bowhunter » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:45 am

Yep was hoping to follow some tracks yesterday but snow is melting fast! Last year at this time the snow pack was deep with drifts everywhere. Been spotty this year, but snow is in the forecast! Headed up today to check 3 cameras in the 2nd spot I've been trying to figure out. It's only about a mile or so north and so far the only thing I know about these bucks is where they spend the summer!

I have 2 years pics and videos of them, and the biggest really put on some inches last summer! If I can figure out how to post a picture on here? These bucks live on the south side of a private meadow till about the first week of September, then they disappear! I did spot three of them coming out from thick timber on private land back on October. Then a buddy told me he got pics of the "Kicker 5" buck in early November on his camera! Man did he shift along way! Sound familiar to any of you?

If that ridge is where he hides during rifle season, it will take years to figure that mess out! Would much rather hunt in there with a rifle, but I don't expect to draw another rifle tag until 2020! I think I will have to put many years of scouting into these areas before killing a mature buck consistently! Can anybody relate? Whats a big buck in your big woods look like? Here is the #1 buck I was hunting in 2016.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXc6KLweEsE&feature=youtu.be
bh bowhunter
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:39 am
Location: Black Hills SD
Status: Offline

Re: Advice on Big Woods hunting

Postby bh bowhunter » Sat Feb 03, 2018 2:57 pm

A little update on my scouting of the couple big woods spots I'm learning. Been out every weekend of January scouting tracks and finding beds! Had some fresh snow two weeks ago and found a big track leaving a bed. A buck for sure. There were three does that busted out of the spot also. Setup a trailcam and plan on checking it tomorrow while scouting deeper into some thicker timber.

I also got most of my treestands down, and will have to rethink a couple rut stands due to the logging that is taking place. I plan on finding more buck beds this winter and hunting over them for most of the early season. Glad I found this site a lot of knowledge and good info here! Not sure if the beds I find now will be used next fall or if a good bed is used all year long?
Do you guys use trailcams to find out what bucks are bedding there and when?

Return to “Public Land Hunting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests