What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
sunset samurai
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby sunset samurai » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:49 pm

dan wrote:
Also, not sure if it fits here but when you find that bucks bed how much time and effort and what do you look for when "setting up" or at least pin pointing the right tree to hunt? DO you prep the tree as some guys are doing or do you leave everything how it is and make it work when the hunt comes?

I only prep trees if I have too... And if I have to it is a bare minimum. I personally think heavy trimming near a mature buck bedding area even in spring has a very negitive effect on bucks bedding there. Especially if they are useing that bedding area in the time frame you are doing the trimming.
I generally take some time the 1st time in to pick out several trees depending on the time of year for cover getting close, for different wind directions, and pick out different access roughts to the area also based on wind / but possibly based on not crossing the deers trail.
Rather than trim, I would much rather just wait for the shot to present itself... I find patience works better than huge openings, that alert educated bucks of your presance.

On the topic of prepping trees, this spring on some private land I am thinking of installing some screw in steps, left a few turns loose for tree growth. Then when the time is right this fall, I will be able to carry in only my stand and climb up, saving sum time and noisr. Have any of yall done this?

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Justin85
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby Justin85 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:22 pm

Why that wind Dan? Why not the opposite for that site? Would the bucks not cruise it with a NE so that the trails would be down wind of the does?

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bigwoodsmn
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby bigwoodsmn » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:55 pm

Gibby wrote:Thanks for all the info guys,
I wish we had better access to Topos, Arial photos and Satellite images here in Canada, we dont seem to get the detail you get in the US, unless I just haven't found the right place to look for it yet


Gibby go to http://www.caltopo.com ... switch to "Satellite" in the dropdown in the upper right part of the page... in Canada the satellite imagery is the Microsoft Bing images and they're better than what I've found in Google Earth images.... for the areas I hunt in Canada. At least give it a try.

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Lockdown
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby Lockdown » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:07 am

dan wrote:
I didn't have a ton of time to scout yesterday, so I hit a spot that I had already found and rescouted it. Glad I did. I actually took the time to sit in the bed and look all around it. Found that the tree I had originally planned on setting up in would have been an awful setup. But the tree that is less than 10 feet from it will work just fine. Looking back at it, it is crazy how 10' might make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful hunt.


Exactly... A lot of people think that great hunters are lucky cause they hunt the same areas without success, but 10 feet can be 10 miles when hunting for big bucks.

I am real cautious and particular about the exact tree I set up in... I remember a hunt deep in a swamp last year. On my way out I crossed a small island that was about 15 yards wide and 40 yards long. The sign on that island had erupted. Rubs and big scrapes were now everywhere, and I new it was adjacent to a major doe bedding area and bucks used it to monitor bedded does.

This meant they would be cruising the island in daylight to check on the does, and/or might be bedded close monitoring the doe bedding...

I was hunting this area with Mario and we were well aware of the potential of this spot in the right conditions. I decided right there and then that this spot needed to be hunted the next day based on the sign... Now your average hunter would of had a certain tree picked out and prepped, but, I understand that the conditions on the day you hunt are critical, and I try to be in the exact tree I need to be in on any given hunt.

I could not get back out there the next day, but Mario could... We had a just off wind and it was going to be a tough set up, I explained that he should not walk up on the island, but should instead walk in the swamp grass on the down wind side then cut in at the high point and go right up a tree... He did just that, but went across the island instead of along the edge and was 8 or 10 yards past where I meant... It was far enough that he went over the rise of the island anbd when the swamp thermals kicked in, it pulled his scent down the wrong side and the buck winded him as it entered the head of the island just before he could get a shot.

It can be a huge difference in just yards...


Image

If you look at Mario's spot vs mine its only a difference of feet, but when the swamp water thermal raised his scent pulled down the island to the west, and at my spot it pulled to the East with the high point of the island being right on the pink buck travel line... Even without the water thermal though, we were more likely to have the wind miss the buck from my spot... His spot had better shot opportunities though..

It should be noted that he hunted with the wind we had that day cause it was do or die... Neither of us could get back after that day.



Dan, here's where I get confused. You say you walked across that small island (leaving scent and possibly bumping bedded bucks) but then you want to hunt it the next day??? :think: Can you elaborate on why it is ok in that situation? What I'm getting at is everyone talks about 1st time sits and the importance of not hunting spots over and over. But then you want to hunt this island the next day. To me that contradicts the 1st time sit and low pressure approach, completely.
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby dan » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:12 am

sunset samurai wrote:
dan wrote:
Also, not sure if it fits here but when you find that bucks bed how much time and effort and what do you look for when "setting up" or at least pin pointing the right tree to hunt? DO you prep the tree as some guys are doing or do you leave everything how it is and make it work when the hunt comes?

I only prep trees if I have too... And if I have to it is a bare minimum. I personally think heavy trimming near a mature buck bedding area even in spring has a very negitive effect on bucks bedding there. Especially if they are useing that bedding area in the time frame you are doing the trimming.
I generally take some time the 1st time in to pick out several trees depending on the time of year for cover getting close, for different wind directions, and pick out different access roughts to the area also based on wind / but possibly based on not crossing the deers trail.
Rather than trim, I would much rather just wait for the shot to present itself... I find patience works better than huge openings, that alert educated bucks of your presance.

On the topic of prepping trees, this spring on some private land I am thinking of installing some screw in steps, left a few turns loose for tree growth. Then when the time is right this fall, I will be able to carry in only my stand and climb up, saving sum time and noisr. Have any of yall done this?

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That could work in some situations... My main concern would be if that is the only tree in the immediate area I hunt out of? I say this, because in a lot of my set ups the actual tree I hunt out of varies based on the exact wind direction. Another concern would be getting there and the steps are gone... Now you got your scent in there and can't hunt. Thieves don't tend to read no trespassing signs. Another concern would be that I have hundreds of set ups, some get used more than others, but few get used more than once or twice a year... That could get expensive putting in screw steps everywhere I hunt.
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby dan » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:15 am

Justin85 wrote:Why that wind Dan? Why not the opposite for that site? Would the bucks not cruise it with a NE so that the trails would be down wind of the does?

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Because it was the last day for my permit to hunt that property, and Mario could not hunt after that day for two weeks when the rut would be winding down and things would be different... If read what I wrote, it was a do or die situation. Either hunt it that day or don't hunt it.
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby dan » Mon Apr 06, 2015 2:22 am

Dan, here's where I get confused. You say you walked across that small island (leaving scent and possibly bumping bedded bucks) but then you want to hunt it the next day??? :think: Can you elaborate on why it is ok in that situation? What I'm getting at is everyone talks about 1st time sits and the importance of not hunting spots over and over. But then you want to hunt this island the next day. To me that contradicts the 1st time sit and low pressure approach, completely.

I would not of known that there was a buck hanging there had I not walked thru that evening... Would I of rather hunted it with no human intrusion? Absolutely. What we did was hunt it as soon as possible the next day and hope the buck still came thru... It certainly was possible I spooked the buck out of there. But, I did have a few things going for me, 1st off it was rut, 2nd, we use that island to navigate thru that section of swamp a few times already that fall and had hunted it once and the buck still chose to use it. And 3rd, what did we have to loose? When sign is hot, you hunt it.
Are 1st time sits important? Absolutely. Do I sometimes hunt a spot 2 days in a row? Yes. Nothing is "always or never"
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby Lockdown » Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:50 pm

dan wrote:
Dan, here's where I get confused. You say you walked across that small island (leaving scent and possibly bumping bedded bucks) but then you want to hunt it the next day??? :think: Can you elaborate on why it is ok in that situation? What I'm getting at is everyone talks about 1st time sits and the importance of not hunting spots over and over. But then you want to hunt this island the next day. To me that contradicts the 1st time sit and low pressure approach, completely.

I would not of known that there was a buck hanging there had I not walked thru that evening... Would I of rather hunted it with no human intrusion? Absolutely. What we did was hunt it as soon as possible the next day and hope the buck still came thru... It certainly was possible I spooked the buck out of there. But, I did have a few things going for me, 1st off it was rut, 2nd, we use that island to navigate thru that section of swamp a few times already that fall and had hunted it once and the buck still chose to use it. And 3rd, what did we have to loose? When sign is hot, you hunt it.
Are 1st time sits important? Absolutely. Do I sometimes hunt a spot 2 days in a row? Yes. Nothing is "always or never"


Thanks for the response Dan. I was thinking about this at work today and the first thing that popped in my mind was that it was rut. Makes sense.
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby BHC » Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:48 am

I would say understanding how the pieces fit together is the key. Finding a bed,scrape, rub, scat, food source, etc. all mean very little without other pieces giving them meaning. I think that's where slit of dans success comes from. He knows where beds should be and why. There are plenty other beds around, but they don't have any good meaning behind them. So finding a meaningful bed, with a obvious preferred food source nearby, with big rubs in between. Then your on to something. So I'd say you gotta be able to determine the pieces that actually mean something.


Most of my success is attributed to me learning to identify killable bucks via trail cam. And hunt these bucks based on terrain features and food sources in their core areas at various times if the yr. I would literally almost ignore sign. Only really paying much attention to primary scrapes. And a couple real studs took me to school, never getting even a glimpse in person, despite hundreds of pics.
This will be my first yr to apply more "pieces" of the puzzle to my strategy and hopefully it will yield me a few more mature buck opportunities each yr.



I will say many of my successes I can easily look back and see how they correlate to strategies discussed on this forum.

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Gibby
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby Gibby » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:12 pm

bigwoodsmn wrote:
Gibby wrote:Thanks for all the info guys,
I wish we had better access to Topos, Arial photos and Satellite images here in Canada, we dont seem to get the detail you get in the US, unless I just haven't found the right place to look for it yet


Gibby go to http://www.caltopo.com ... switch to "Satellite" in the dropdown in the upper right part of the page... in Canada the satellite imagery is the Microsoft Bing images and they're better than what I've found in Google Earth images.... for the areas I hunt in Canada. At least give it a try.

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Thanks Bigwoodsmn :D
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justdirtyfun
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Re: What is the most important piece of the puzzle

Unread postby justdirtyfun » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:14 pm

Nice post BHC. I'm finding sign in more important places and that gives me confidence to bypass lots of sign.

For example leaving a field edge I traveled toward a leeward bedding location. On a sidehill within eyesight (winter) of bedding was an isolated rub. That should be important. If a buck is traveling to the field after leaving his bed that rub will be his staging area edge. It is not JUST A RUB like so many in unimportant areas.
I have a kill tree marked for that staging area rub.

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