Hunting a nocturnal buck

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NatureBoy
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Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby NatureBoy » Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:36 pm

There is a trail that runs East/West on one of the pieces of land I hunt. There are no trees big enough to hunt the trail from on the property, so a ground blind of some sort would have to be setup. Trail cam pics from last year (late summer) tell me that it is used almost exclusively by bucks. However, all activity captured is after dark. The best buck that uses it, only uses it on a S wind. May be just coincidental, but all the days that I got pics of him, it was blowing from the S. Anyway, I know where he beds during the summer. But I don't believe he beds on the property once season opens. I believe that as soon as hunters start setting up in the fall, he moves off property and goes nocturnal. Would you try to hunt this buck trail at some point during season anyway? Like say, maybe set up a mock scrape and try hunting it on a S wind after or during heavy rain late October or early November?

I know Dan would say, hunt as close to his bed as possible. And I will give that a go again early season this year. Hopefully he will still be on the property. But if that fails, what would be your plan B?


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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby Zap » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:00 pm

I have heard that for bucks that will not move before dark the following might work:

Sneak in close to the bed at night, by a route they will not take. When the wind and thermal or rain will keep them from knowing you were there.

Place a radio alarm with a ZZ top CD set to go off at a certain time during the day, volume maxed, wait on the escape route. :lol:

Check local regs first. :D

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NatureBoy
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby NatureBoy » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:21 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: You a funny man Zap! Seriously though, that might work if he had only one escape route. In this case, it would be a toss of the coin chosing the right trail. And that would definitely bump him off the property early. That is unless he's a ZZ Top fan :lol: .
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PredatorTC
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby PredatorTC » Sun Apr 11, 2010 1:35 pm

I would personally hunt a nocturnal buck like this when the moon charts say its best for it. Its unbelievable how accurate those charts can be.
Also im not sure if this is a fact or not...its something i have been paying attention to...but it seems like a lot of your older bucks will make it back to there beds a little late in the morning during the pre rut...... So i would keep an eye out for if he is doing that

Also remember, if there is a way where u can hunt him so that he is walking into the wind while he leaves his bed and he does not smell you, he will very likely be moving earlier.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby NatureBoy » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:20 am

PredatorTC wrote:I would personally hunt a nocturnal buck like this when the moon charts say its best for it.

So you're talking about an early morning hunt when the moon chart says they'll be feeding in the morning, early season before he moves off property, right? I was thinking the same thing. I think this might work.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby PredatorTC » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:43 am

I have the prime-time charts and i read them a little differently than the Murry ones. So im not exactly sure how the Murray charts work. I guess well have to see what Dan and them guys say about this one when they get back from the show.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby Arrowbender » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:09 am

I have tried the early morning cut-off hunts w/ little success. Oh, I've seen some good movement in the am during pre-rut, but for some reason ( I attibute it to calm or fickle wind) the bucks really seem to meander and this increases their odds of crossing your "in trail" thus blowing your cover.
I've also had several instances where I had younger bucks come past my set just prior to the target buck and get busted this way.
I think this method will work better in marsh cover where they can only come from one trail. (at least more than likely).
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby PredatorTC » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:33 am

Arrowbender wrote:I have tried the early morning cut-off hunts w/ little success.


This is one thing that always bothers me.... i know Dan would agree with you on this one but i still always see a lot more buck movement during daylight in mornings. But i do remember the moon charts being perfect when i did see action the past two seasons in the mornings.

Also i know Andre killed the Tuning fork buck in the morning along with the Flier buck which he got two chances at, and that other buck he shot when he smashed his sight pin. These were all taken in the morning. But i think i do remember Dan saying that the moon, wind and weather was perfect for it when he shot these
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:21 am

In my view, hunting pressure has a lot of impact on how successful morning hunts can be in the prerut. Big bucks are taken in the a.m. even in high pressure areas, but consistently pulling this off with hunters everywhere.... Remember I'm talking of very high pressure here, it may not apply to where you are hunting. An example, I located a beast of a buck that was rubbing on a foot diameter tree or two, huge tracks etc. I located his bedding area and set up. The moon guide showed a late arrival to the bedding area as a point of interest. A full 40 minutes before first light the buck walked right under my stand, it was pitch black but I know it was him. I heard him bed down in some thick stuff just out of my sight. Five minutes after first light, a two and a half year old 8 point walked across the front of the bedding area and bedded down over at the end corner of the bedding area. VERY frustrating.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby NatureBoy » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:28 am

Thanks for your replies guys!
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby PredatorTC » Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:51 am

Bridge, i think you make a good point.... This peice of land that i hunt has 3-4 hunters on it most every night. But in the mornings, there is no one except for me. I think the deer know tis and feel a little more comfortable moving during daylight in the morning.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby martin peters » Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:11 am

I think the best bet to tag a true nocturnal buck is while he is coming back into his bedding area, whatever the moon phase. They seem to know that the chances of running into danger are higher in the afternoon. A lot of hunters find it hard to get out of that warm bed and out to the stand hours before pink light. Many can't hunt mornings due to job schedules. For these and other reasons, mornings find less pressure on the bucks and they learn this quickly. Same goes for hunting any time of day in bad weather. I had one year that I hunted a 150" class buck (very rare in my home county) that I had invested considerable time to only to have him go nocturnal as soon as the small game hunters hit the woods two weeks prior to the bow opener. Now I try to have several shooters lined up well before season and have become a better judge as to which buck has a greater probability for me to put my tag on. Nocturnal bucks are very low on my hit list. I wish I could have all the hours back that I've spent scouting and hunting the few nocturnal bucks I've run across.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby dan » Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:03 am

I disagree Martin... I have spent considerable time hunting big bucks in there bed rooms and found that everytime I am able to slip within the bucks staging area, usually within 100 yards of the bed, if he is there he gets up well before dark. The older ones just don't move very far till after dark. But they are up and moving around within there safe zone. However, using the opposite tactic in the morning finds me kicking the buck out of his bedding area an hour before daylight when I get there.
Most of what I hunt is heavily pressured public land. I even guided for several years and would take about 3 hunters per weekend. Hunting bedrooms each morning and evening. Evening results outside the rut outnumbered mornings 4 to 1... However, if your from Michigan, I could see a different point of view because of your opening season date being Oct 1st rather than early September. Mid-October is when the mornings start picking up again as the pre-rut approaches.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby PredatorTC » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:02 pm

So Dan, i have a buck that i cant get set up on at night. My only option is in the morning. If the moon chart and wind is correct during the early season while everything is still green, what are my chances he will come through before daylight?
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby dan » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:25 am

If the moon chart is right, or the weather the night before got the buck a late start, I would say your chances are pretty good. If you randomly go out whenever you got a free chance with no regard for moon or weather, I would say your chances are poor.


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