Ohio public hill country opinions...

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Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby SwampStalker » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:53 pm

Looking for opinions on this area of public land in ohio hill country for a mature buck, Or if i should give up on it all together.

Back story---(Finding the area 2016)

I left the truck on the last day of my 5 day ohio trip with my lone wolf climber on my back, frustrated with the lack of buck sightings during the trip. It was my second year hunting this ohio public land and the year before i had put eyes on some good bucks. This trip had been much different. Only putting eyes on 3 bucks in four and a half days. It was warmer than usual, also many more hunters on the land this year than i had noticed the year before. But i still could not justify in my head why i wasn't seeing the quality deer i knew were around. So i decided on this last afternoon i was going to try hunting the bottoms. There is a stream that runs through the valley of the large hills and i planned to set up along it when i saw some terrain i liked. I found some thicket that was tucked in at a bend in the stream and i figured it to be bedding. The transition line of the bedding was bordered with tightly packed thin diameter trees with some beech trees mixed in, under some of the beech trees were fresh scrapes. the trees stretched for about 75 yrds and met a thicket. standing on the ground looking into the thicket you could not see 15 yrds. it had trails coming out of it leading down to the other bedding along the stream. i decided to climb up into one of the thiner diameter trees about 25 yards off one of the main trails leading from one thicket to the next. Hunting the bottom i figured my wind would tend to swirl. After getting set up i was surprised how consistent my wind was in this location. I sat there with low expectations and a small amount of disappointment thinking of the 6.5 hour ride home. I remember googling "hunting bottoms in the afternoon for whitetail" lol. After about a half hour of reading a article or two i hear some movement in the heavy thicket i look up and there was a decent 10 pt scanning through the patch of small diameter trees looking down toward the bedding that was along the stream. I knew he was going to follow the script i had created when i decided to hunt the spot. Once he decided things were safe he stepped out and proceeded right down the heavy used trail that led down to the other bedding area along the stream. He gave me a 25 yard shot and i was able to close the deal on my first public land ohio whitetail. I was thrilled, he scored just under 120" and i know that is no giant out there. And i had put eyes on some much bigger bucks the year before. But he made got my heart pumping and i was thrilled with him. I was surprised when i aged him at only 2.5 years old. The genetics out there are spectacular. I understand there are probably some guys who get angered at out of staters coming out to the midwest and shooting young deer. And i understand that to an extent, but i will never apologize for filling my tag or my freezer.

2017- Higher expectations for ohio

So I arrived out on a saturday around noon and couldn't wait to get back to that area i had shot my buck the year before. It was peak rut and nice and cold to go with it. I got into my tree and within 25 minutes a buck emerged from the thicket along the creek. He was 75 yrds away and i could not quite tell what he was. From what i could tell he was a decent 8pt. He made his way through the patch of small diameter trees i was setup in and right up into the other thicket. No more action until about the last 45 min and i had another basket racked 8 pt come from the thicket along the creek and right on the same main trail i had shot my buck the year prior, he hit a scrape and made his way up into the thicket. Seeing deer and the fact i felt good about getting out of there quiet i decided i would sit there the entire next day. The next day i did not see a deer the entire morning and into the afternoon. At about 2:30 i hear all kinds of crashing and chasing up in the thicket away from the stream. The down a doe comes running out of the thicket and right down the main trail i shot my buck on and past me. she stops at 25 yds past me but not downwind. She was stopped panting, exhausted from the chase, watching for the bucks in pursuit. I was already standing and ready, waiting for the big buck i know had to be chasing her. I hear grunting and the buck emerges from the thicket, it was the same small 8 pt from the night before. She disapears into the thicket along the stream and he countiues to chase. I hear more grunting from up in the thicket and out pops a respectable 8pt he was fairly wide and had good mass maybe a 125" 8pt. i drew back and prepared to stop him from his slow trot nose to ground looking for where the doe had went. But decided to give him a pass and let down my draw. He was a beautiful buck but i just had higher hopes for this trip. 4 more bucks emerged from that thicket on the does trail during the next half hour. None worth shooting. The day ended and i decided to sit back up on a ridge the next morning. i hunted the spot 2 more afternoons that trip and only saw 2 more smaller 2 year olds crusing. I ended the trip without punching my tag. I put eyes on a couple nice bucks on the ridges and ended passing on 2 decent 8pts during the trip.

So i just wanted to get some advice on this spot. I see deer consistently but obviously i am seeing younger deer. The thicket away from the stream is loaded with nice sized buck rubs and trails but i know there is a big difference between hunting bucks and mature bucks. And Dan believes most of the sign down in the bottoms is made at night. Do you guys think i am wasting my time trying to hunt this area for a mature buck and should get back up on the leeward ridges? I am new to Hunting like a beast and look forward to and input from you guys.

i have pictures of the buck i shot, topo, and labeled satellite image of the area saved to my desktop i am going to try and figure out how to post the photos i am new to the site.


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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby SwampStalker » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:11 pm

http://thehuntingbeast.com/copper/displ ... play_media

http://thehuntingbeast.com/copper/displ ... play_media

http://thehuntingbeast.com/copper/displ ... play_media


So if the labeling is not clear on the sat image-

purple- is my stand
blue- the stream
white- roughly where the trails go between thickets
red- presumed buck bedding, very thick and filled with rubs. ( have seen a total of about 9-10 bucks emerge) one doe emerged being chased full speed.
yellow- presumed bedding with good cover ( have seen 2 bucks emerge) never a doe

I hunt this area with a NW wind and access by walking the creek up from the south east .

I look forward to any input.
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby SwampStalker » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:58 pm

“Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't” -Jerry Rice
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby UofLbowhunter » Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:49 pm

Couple of things you can think about.
1 How much pressure is around you. If the ridges have pressure they will bed low!
2 what do the ridges look like cover wise? Are they thick up top? If there is no cover on top the deer will bed low as well, if that is where the cover is.
3 If you havent got into the whole thermal hub thing yet read up on it and recyber scout your maps with that in mind. It kinda sounds like that could be happing there. And the mature bucks are else were.
I think one thing that could help you too, is to move around more. Moving helps you find out more about a area,period. The more you move the more element of surprize you have. Going in an area without knowing the bedding take alot longer to connect on big bucks. That where putting a morning and evening sit then moving on helps you get the knowledge faster, even if it s up the ridge or a hundred yards futher keep moving. You have done good by learning what and adjusting so far it just take time to nail it down without a ton of scouting! And remember nothing is certian when hunting big bucks!
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby SwampStalker » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:38 am

Thanks for the response!

The cover on the ridges in this particular area is very limited and is mostly open timber. There is parking that gives direct access to the ridge and is how most guys hunting the top probably go in. i have hunted the thermal tunnels on the ridges and have seen some good bucks. But when it comes to overall buck sign and good cover, that red area is loaded. With the creek close by they have quick easy access to water also. The only discouraging part is the fact i have not put eyes on a deer over 3 years old. And my thought process is; that hot doe would have most likely brought out any big buck that was held up in there. Instead i saw 3- 2 year olds, 1-3 year old, and 2 scrappers.
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby PK_ » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:17 am

My opinion is You are in the bedding and in a good spot. I would focus on finding a couple more spots similar to that one within reasonable driving distance so you can spread out your time.

Also I would have sat that spot again knowing a hot doe was around.

Finding a buck over 130” on Ohio Public is probably not super easy. Sounds like you are only hunting like a week? Tough to get a real big one in that short of timeframe unless you have a lot of experience with the area, are really lucky, or just really damn good.

When I am hunting with a bow in somewhat unfamiliar ground in a state like Ohio I am going to shoot the first 120”+ almost every time...
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby Brian1986 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:44 am

What dates were you hunting?
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby Horizontal Hunter » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:55 am

Brian1986 wrote:What dates were you hunting?


The dates make all the difference in the world. Miss it by a week and the sightings go way down.
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby SwampStalker » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:22 am

In 2016 i hunted 9th-13th

In 2017 i hunted 10th- 16th

I have seen a good amount of bucks, just feeling discouraged that i am hunting in an area that does not hold mature bucks.

Pk, i still play it over and over in my head.Thinking that maybe i should have taken the shot on that nice 8 pt. I definitely would have been happy with him. But i really felt that i had this area figured out and it would be a matter of time before i closed the deal on a mature buck.
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby PK_ » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:28 pm

SwampStalker wrote:In 2016 i hunted 9th-13th

In 2017 i hunted 10th- 16th

I have seen a good amount of bucks, just feeling discouraged that i am hunting in an area that does not hold mature bucks.

Pk, i still play it over and over in my head.Thinking that maybe i should have taken the shot on that nice 8 pt. I definitely would have been happy with him. But i really felt that i had this area figured out and it would be a matter of time before i closed the deal on a mature buck.


If you want a big one you did the right thing. But what I was kind of trying to say is that killing a true mature on public in a week in somewhat unfamiliar ground with the bow is really tough man. There is a lot that has to come together. For every kill thread you see of some member accomplishing that goal, there are dozens and dozens of others who have failed.

I know several guys on here who hunt good public ground and really know what they are doing and know the areas well, a couple of them did not seal the deal on a mature buck with a bow. Look at Dans journal. Look at Stanley’s kill thread, I believe he put in over 30 days....

So to show up on public with a week to hunt...It will happen but likely not every year unless you are on some killer ground and/or know it well. So short story long, I was trying to say you are on the right track man.
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby Matt6506 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:44 pm

SwampStalker wrote:In 2016 i hunted 9th-13th

In 2017 i hunted 10th- 16th

I have seen a good amount of bucks, just feeling discouraged that i am hunting in an area that does not hold mature bucks.

Pk, i still play it over and over in my head.Thinking that maybe i should have taken the shot on that nice 8 pt. I definitely would have been happy with him. But i really felt that i had this area figured out and it would be a matter of time before i closed the deal on a mature buck.


Them dates are pretty good. I hunt and live in southeastern Ohio and usually take my vacation the week leading up to Nov 11th if I still have a buck tag. My biggest tip is to scout, scout, and scout some more. During that time of year staying mobile is key. Where are you mostly hunting in Ohio?
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby SwampStalker » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:51 pm

True p.k, even back home where i have more experience hunting and time for scouting it often takes much longer than a week to even put eyes on a mature buck on public land. Let alone having a shot at one with archery equipment.

The area in south eastern pa i grew up hunting has more of a rolling hill terrain. Nothing like the steep what i would consider Mountain terrain of ohio i am hunting. So i do feel like i am at least doing a lot right with the one nice size buck under my belt out there and putting eyes on a few other very nice bucks. And maybe my expectations are a bit high for only being out there for a week. State land poses so many challenges and thats what i enjoy most about hunting it. I plan to get out there this February sometime and do some post season scouting. And while i am no beginner, i realize that being out in ohio, on new terrain poses a whole different set of challenges than what i have faced here in the public jersey swamps and marshes, or the public land hills of south eastern pa i am used to. I have so much to learn and i value the opinions of many of the members i have read on this site.

Matt6506 i am hunting what i would consider central ohio.
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby Horizontal Hunter » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:31 pm

SwampStalker wrote:In 2016 i hunted 9th-13th

In 2017 i hunted 10th- 16th

I have seen a good amount of bucks, just feeling discouraged that i am hunting in an area that does not hold mature bucks.

Pk, i still play it over and over in my head.Thinking that maybe i should have taken the shot on that nice 8 pt. I definitely would have been happy with him. But i really felt that i had this area figured out and it would be a matter of time before i closed the deal on a mature buck.


FWIW
My friends went out this year and for the first time they didn't shoot any "good bucks." The processor said that they missed it by a week. They went the same week you did this year. They hunt private land.

Bob
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby Brian1986 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:46 am

SwampStalker, it sounds to me you put on a pretty good hunt. I hunted Ohio public hard Oct 27- Nov 13. I'm still recording my field notes into my season journal, but both on my cameras and my field sightings it seemed most of my mature buck sightings were from Oct 27- Nov 7. After that the big ones where I was were with does in estrous. It almost sounds to me like there was a big buck somewhere in your area that was with a hot doe and it had the younger bucks on their feet looking for one of their own. If you have a community scrape with a licking branch that's used annually nearby (licking branch being key), Id consider putting a trail camera on that early next fall and let it run for a few weeks and get an inventory of what bucks there are in the area.
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Re: Ohio public hill country opinions...

Postby SwampStalker » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:09 pm

Brian, do you typically see more action those last few days of oct and into early nov in ohio? i actually considered heading out there a bit earlier this coming season. I will probably be out in late feb for some scouting. Then again mid- late summer.
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