Hunting a nocturnal buck

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
martin peters
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby martin peters » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:19 pm

Dan, I too hunt high pressure public land areas ( see my post on scoring bucks)I too have spent many hours hunting buck bedding areas trying to be in the right place at the right time. I have a small bear guiding outfit but have not arrived at the point in my deer hunting of letting other people shoot the bucks I love to hunt myself, maybe some day? I agree with your observation of hunting evenings vs mornings and that (most) bucks will move some distance prior to dark but the few "True nocturnal" bucks that I have been on do not get up before dark or I would not call them "true nocturnal bucks" and I'd have them on my wall. Ha-Ha. These bucks I refer to are the ones that don't get up "well before dark" and are back in their beds before pink light,(most of the time). I feel the best chance to take this kind of buck is when he has strayed too far and stayed too late out and about causing a later entrance time to his bed in Late Oct. early Nov. Good topic !! Dan,I was wondering,In your video,are those bucks that you were shining from the high pressure area you hunt? Be back in 4 days. Take care M.P.


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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby dan » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:43 pm

Yes Martin... The buck shining footage is of bucks that lived within the public marshes near my home... I only shine where I can hunt... The big ones you saw footage of were bucks I was hunting. Some of the crop fields you see the deer in are actually on public land and leased to farmers, or on the farm lands immediately across the street from the public.
I have to ask you, these bucks you refer to as completely nocturnal, how close to there beds were you hunting?
The reason I ask is that I have hunted all over the midwest and really have never observed true nocturnal bucks. But what I have seen on many occasions is bucks that get up an hour before dark or more, but only move 50 to 75 yards before dark.... I think most hunters are set up a little farther back than that and don't notice the movement. Sometimes my set ups are so close in the evening I could shoot the deer when he rises from his bed...
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby PredatorTC » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:29 pm

dan wrote:Sometimes my set ups are so close in the evening I could shoot the deer when he rises from his bed...


Dan, would you say that this is because the deers view is blocked by cattails. Like what other obstacles do you use to hide to get up close.

One bed i have scouted in a swamp is in a spot where the buck can see really far... There are no cattails.. just trees. its kinda like hardwoods with water... What do you do in these situations... A morning hunt?
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby dan » Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Predator,
You need to weigh your options. Every hunt is different. In the spots I set up within 75 yards of the bed, I am generally in marsh, or other thick cover without a buck having a visual advantage. In hill country, big woods, or other areas with open terrain that the bucks use as an advantage it can be tough getting that close... Thats why I always say in spring scouting you should find the bed and kneel right in it, see what the buck sees, observe from a visual, sound, and scent perspective just how close you can get.
I believe mature bucks have an area around them that they think is safe. They believe if anything penetrated that area they would of known it... They feel safe moving around there. I call it a "safe zone" Like a circle around the bedding area. They stage at the edge of this safe zone waiting to head out for the evening to feed... So, the trick would be to get right to the edge, so close you can kill the buck from outside the safe zone, but far enough away to keep him from sensing your encroachment.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby PredatorTC » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:20 am

Ok, good point... Ill have to go back and take a second look...

Thanks
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby NatureBoy » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:51 am

dan wrote:I could see a different point of view because of your opening season date being Oct 1st rather than early September.

This is an important piece of information for me. Our season here doesn't open until mid October. I'm going to head back over to his core area and set up a tree for an early season AM hunt. I will go in as scent free as possible, set up at least two hours before first light and hunt the best wind possible. That will be my "Plan A". I've been thinking of doing this but had held back because of the lack of October movement and early return times of bucks. Just assumed it wouldn't work, and it might not, but I'm gonna give it a go. I will create a mock scrape and set up a spot for a ground blind as a "Plan B" if that doesn't work. Thanks guys!
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby martin peters » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:37 am

Dan, Of the three bucks (most likely two in the past 34 yrs) that I thought were really nocturnal. One (150")was bedding in a small (overlooked)3 acre "pothole" thick tag alder swamp. I had two stand sites, both with great entrance routes with the right weather @ approx. 35 yds and 50 yds. Another bedded (farming area with wood lots)in a rectangular multifloral rose thicket (not fun to scout) of approx. 2-3 acres. I had two stand sites on him, one at 25 yds,one at about 30-35 yds. I listened to him walk out in the evening and back into his bed before pink light several times during the season. I feel the size and type of the bedding area and the amount of hunting pressure, the age of the buck are all factors.I can't say for certain these bucks didn't stand up prior to moving out in the dark,too thick to see or move in close enough (for me) to shoot them in their bed. Good hunting. M.P.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby dan » Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:28 am

Thats interesting Martin... I always like it when people give specific examples. The only time I have seen bucks stay bedded after shooting hours was when they saw or heard me or it was really windy/stormy. I have seen on many occasions, big bucks get up and only move 40 or 50 yards in daylight. I video taped a 160 inch buck a couple years ago in a public marsh get up about an hour before dark, and by the time it was dark he had only moved 50 yards, if that...
If those bucks were truly not moving till after shooting light, you might be able to get them midday. Because deer have to feed every 6 hours. Its a biological fact you can look up. They have micro organisims in there stomachs that break down the food. If they build up for periods of time it will become deadly to the deer. Or any ungulate species. So if they remained bedded all day, after a couple days they would get sick, and it would ultimatly kill them in a matter of time. So, sometime during daylight the buck would have to get up and feed...
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby NatureBoy » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:24 am

dan wrote:deer have to feed every 6 hours.

Did not know. I knew deer had to get up for water at some point during the day, but the eating thing is new to me. Fascinating!
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buckDan,

Unread postby MOBIGBUCKS » Fri Apr 23, 2010 1:30 pm

Dan,

First off, excellent responses on this topic! I always learn stuff when you post :) I have a couple questions though; do you try and film all of your hunts, or do you pick and choose when to do so? Also, how much gear do you carry in with you when you are sneaking into the 50-75 yard range of these bedded bucks? Just trying to figure out how much is too much?
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby dan » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:37 pm

For the last 6 years or so, I try to film everything. But self filming mostly in the bedding areas. I bring my Lone wolf stand and sticks with a camera arm bungeed to it. One or two video cameras that are small enough to fit in my pockets. A tree saw. Sometimes I bring a grunt tube and a water bottle. Unfamiliar territory might find a map and compass in my pocket.
Thats it... I go pretty light.
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby martin peters » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:00 am

Dan-reference your April 20th post. After talking to friends and looking into this a little more I found some interesting information from researchers at some major universities. I will have more in the near future if you would like an update on this. Whitetail deer being ruminants are able to load their paunch and then lay down and literally wait the storm out - going several days without food intake. Their normal feeding pattern does peak 5 times a day = morning,noon,evening and twice at night but skipping a meal or three will not kill a deer. In one study researchers starved nine deer to death and then collected fluid from their rumen and compared this to non starved deer. The microorganisms of the starved deer were lower than the non starved deer but there were still more than a billion viable organisms in the rumen of the starved deer. The starved deer had maintained viable bacteria in their digestive system. Once they had proved this their next experiment they starved 26 fawns and does - four fawns died after having no food for 33 and 34 days but the other nine lived after being starved for 36 days. One doe died after being starved for 54 days but all the other does lived including one starved for 64 days. The purpose of this research was to observe and record the effect of the reintroduction of food to starving deer. The tests proved the deer did not suffer from digestive problems such as bloat after they again had access to food. The major variable seems to be the condition of the deer prior to going through a time with no food, also body temp., age,body mass etc.etc. Very interesting wouldn't you say?
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby dan » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:12 am

That is interesting! It goes against everything I have researched on the subject... I would like some links if you have them to the studies. Would find that interesting to read...
I still wonder if given the choice, bucks or any deer would choose not to feed for the entire period of daylight. I would like to see a radio collar study that shows a buck stay bedded all day long by choice. I would suspect it happens every now and then, but I have a hard time swallowing they do it all the time during hunting season on purpose...
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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby Zap » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:00 pm

martin peters wrote:Dan-reference your April 20th post. After talking to friends and looking into this a little more I found some interesting information from researchers at some major universities. I will have more in the near future if you would like an update on this. Whitetail deer being ruminants are able to load their paunch and then lay down and literally wait the storm out - going several days without food intake. Their normal feeding pattern does peak 5 times a day = morning,noon,evening and twice at night but skipping a meal or three will not kill a deer. In one study researchers starved nine deer to death and then collected fluid from their rumen and compared this to non starved deer. The microorganisms of the starved deer were lower than the non starved deer but there were still more than a billion viable organisms in the rumen of the starved deer. The starved deer had maintained viable bacteria in their digestive system. Once they had proved this their next experiment they starved 26 fawns and does - four fawns died after having no food for 33 and 34 days but the other nine lived after being starved for 36 days. One doe died after being starved for 54 days but all the other does lived including one starved for 64 days. The purpose of this research was to observe and record the effect of the reintroduction of food to starving deer. The tests proved the deer did not suffer from digestive problems such as bloat after they again had access to food. The major variable seems to be the condition of the deer prior to going through a time with no food, also body temp., age,body mass etc.etc. Very interesting wouldn't you say?



Interesting study results.
Thanks for posting it.
But no food was available, so I dont know how that relates to how a wild deer would stay bedded for days.

Now tell me they had no water available.
If a deer aint gonna eat for 12 hrs. it surley needs water.

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Re: Hunting a nocturnal buck

Unread postby Indianahunter » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:10 pm

That is a good point ZAP. Captive deer with zero food source available definitely is not comparative to free ranging deer. It is a very interesting study, and perhaps makes the point that a pressured deer could indeed wait until cover of dark before moving, but most likely as Dan has said in earlier posts, the deer will likely relocate where there is less pressure, solving the problem for the deer. Makes me think of Dans post about the buck in the Marsh where the local farmer's employees built a bunch of stands in an acre lot and the buck disappeared. None-The-Less the research is interesting, bad way to go for the deer though.
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