In the evenings I will place bowhunters in a pre-hung stand set-up about 30-40 yards into the woodline.
The most important factor is to hunt said foodplot, presumably attracting hot does, from the down-wind side !!
Bucks, mature ones anyway, will typically circle down-wind of these foodplots inside the safety of the woodline to check for hot does. You want to be down-wind of them when they do this.
I do and will continue, but honestly, the bucks have not been killed in the plots. I cant recall shooting the first one in a plot before or during the rut. Now what are the chances of them heading to the plot and I cut him off? I guess 50/50
I have only hunted for 2 years and during that time almost all of my hunting has been done over food plots. I have only taken 2 deer and both of them have been in food plots. This year I am greatly considering moving away from the plots and into the woods. My question is how far away from the plots should I move. I understand that I need to locate and setup on the trails leading to and from the plots. I just need to figure out how deep into the woods I need to go. Do the deer tend to stage just off the plots? One more question: When scouting how can you tell where the deer are bedding? Other than matted grass in open areas I'm not sure what to look for.
How far away would depend on surounding cover and habitat. Deer will generally stage just within sight of a field right up til dark. But if there's not enough cover or for some reason they're not comfortable that close they will lay farther back. 200-300 yds. is not out of the question. As far as bedding areas, matted down spots are usually the best indicator. If you hunt any hilly or mountainous areas look for slopes usually on the southern or southeast side of a hill or ridge, especially down towards the bottom. When you find what you suspect to be a bedding area stop and get on your knees and look around the area from a deer's perspective. You will see and realize things you've not noticed before.
Like the others said, the does are going to stage close to the food plots so they don't have far to go to eat, and the bucks aren't going to be far away. You definitely want to be on the downwind side of the food plot, and you want to approach it from downwind, preferably in a straight line to where your stand is to minimize the spread of your scent. Regardless of how much attention you pay to scent control, you are still going to leave scent pheremones on your walk in, even if the only thing you touch is the ground with the bottoms of your rubber boots.
I also like to get as high off the ground as I can to get my scent way up over their heads. Our food plots have permanent stands which I will hunt during archery because they are closer to the ground (20-25') but during gun season I like to go 30'+ off the ground. I think that's a good rule of thumb no matter where you hunt.
1-Always hunt with the wind blowing into your face and blowing away from where you expect to see deer. A cross wind is okay as long as you do not expect to have any deer downwind.
2- Patience will kill more deer than any new gadget or innovation.
3-During the rut hunt where you are seeing does. Big boy will be around as the does go into estrus and get ready to breed.
4-Deer will bed at a higher elevation in the morning and a lower elevation in the evening. The deer are using the thermals from the air as it heats and cools to scent check for danger coming from behind them. Set your stands along trails leading to and from these areas.
They work for me, but I only use them during the rut. One time I heard something running in the woods behind me and turned around and saw a huge buck I never knew existed in my area. He followed my trail right to me. But of course he spotted me first and the gig was up. As far as him smelling you, I believe bucks get so infatuated with the smell of a hot doe they let their guard down a bit and throw caution to the wind in their pursuit.
A little bit about the property. Old house place with 6 mature apple trees aprox. 50yrds behind and to the west, with 20yrds to the tree line. 1 1/2 acre old garden area with wild tomatoes and numerous grasses (by the way the turkey love these little tomatoes) tucked into the woods behind and to the south of apple trees. 200yrds to the north of the apple tree are about 15 yards of persimmons along another 2 arce opening surrounded by trees. Off the north side of this opening there is a mature hardwood holler that runs about 800yrds untill it meets a crp field. The rest of the wooded area that runs from the old house to the crp field is make up of mixed hardwoods and pines of all sizes. There is a creek that runs nw to se across the southern property and only has water about half the time. The creek/ditch coming from the crp field has the typical 20yrds of woods around it until it meets the woods then it gets real thick around it once back in the wooded area.
Ok, here's what I did last year. I hunted 75 yrds NW of the 1 1/2 acre opening pretty much in line with the apple trees about 100yrds to my east. I saw a lot of deer during archery season at this location (I can only hunt during archery season because the landowner hunts the rifle season) but never saw anything older then a 2 1/2 yr old buck. I was able to take 2 does but, the landowner is always killing good bucks. Thanks for the help!!!
Its' been a mixed bag for me. I only use it during the rut, and then, rarely. If you do use it, drag it in, and drag it out. Warning, if you use it too frequently, going to the same stand, you're gonna' get busted whether you know it or not.
If at all possible, get into the woods early enough to drag it crosswind-wise on the upwind side of your stand location, say 30-50 yds out in front. You'll put out a bigger scent trail, and it will help cover your scent.
No such thing as a stupid question, that's why I started this thing. As far as when depends on your geographic location. Here where I live it usually falls during Thanksgiving week. Correct me if I'm wrong on this guys but what causes the rut is this: Usually what happens is after the hunter's moon (the second full moon after the fall equanox Sept. 16?) the decreasing daylight triggers a gland inside the doe to start going into heat. This can last up to about 2 weeks or so until she is ready to breed.
Its when the deer are actually mating. During that period of time is the peak of deer activity. The bucks are chasing the does trying to breed them.
Mature bucks are basically nocturnal movers, but during the rut, they will let caution slip in order to breed a hot doe. In GA, the rut usually occurs between the end of October to the end of November, depending on the part of the state you are in. There is also a secondary rut, usually 30 days after the big one when all the does that weren't bred come back "into estrous" one more time.
Prior to the rut you will begin to see "buck sign" such as tree rubs and scrapes as the bucks vie against each other for territorial rights, with the amount of sign increasing the closer you get to the rut.
A neat way to determine when most of the breeding (rut) is actually taking place in your area is to harvest quite a few does the last week of the season and remove their fetuses for measurements. Sounds weird I know , but it's actually mind blowing to hold these somewhat developed deer in your hand and admire nature's handywork up close !!
By taking the fetus and placing it on a fetus-scale (a plastic ruler about two feet long) these measurements will give you near precise dates of conception. The scale is available at Forestry Suppliers and only costs about $10.00. All of the directions are on the back and so is the equation to help you figure it out.
It's important to get one BEFORE you harvest the deer though since you'll need to record the date of kill as well. This is vital and there are other pointers as well.
It's commonly used on Plantations and large managed tracts by the DNR when conducting research.
note- If your pulling fetuses, you might as well pull the jawbone while your at it, to determine the ages of the does being bred on certain dates.
It's a fascinating look into the nature of deer, and deer hunting !!