"Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

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"Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby futuredoc » Sat May 22, 2010 3:56 am

I hunted the first week of Nov last year and will likely hunt the same week this year on some public land. Saw quite a bit of rutting activity. My question for you die-hard public landers is this: what locations are you using to ambush cruising deer? Specifically, when you are picking out funnels on maps, will you hunt open oak ridges or saddles etc or simply stick to the cover for maximum daylight use? The reason I ask this is because the guys I hunted with saw two bruisers. One was cruising the edge of a soybean field and the other in an open oak draw with a doe. I saw quite a bit more deer than either of them, but no large bucks. I was hunting edges of bedding thickets between bedding areas. Saw some small bucks and plenty of does but no monsters. Just wondering if I should have thrown away some of my southern deer hunting mentality and hunted some more open areas. In GA I've always done better in thicker areas. The midwest is a lot less thick from what I've seen.

thanks for the help guys,

Kendall


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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby dan » Sat May 22, 2010 4:34 am

i THINK YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ARE BOTH RIGHT... During pre-rut in the late mornings you should be hunting cruising areas.. (I can't be more specific unless I know what kind of terrain your hunting) but its also good to hunt the edge of doe bedding areas too... I also have some luck in the eve or early morning around buck bedding areas, especially for the mature bucks that don't seem to participate in the chase and cruise program.
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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Sat May 22, 2010 4:46 am

It's a crap shoot during that time of the year. It sounds like you have a solid strategy now. Doc, I agree with you, the saddles and edges of bedding thickets are where I think you should be. How close were these two big deer the other guys saw? If they didn't get a shot off they weren't in the right spot either. You can always see farther in open areas, so you are going to see more deer. It's nice to see deer, but I always believe, if you see them but can't kill them, you are still in the wrong spot. You are seeing rutting activity where your at now, maybe you can adjust your spots now that you have a season under your belt. You may want to go back and see what wind directions had deer moving in those spots last year and try to hunt them under the same conditions this year. During the rut the more time you put in the more chance you have of the big one coming past.
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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby PLB » Sat May 22, 2010 4:59 am

I agree with Dan. Downwind of doe bedding areas is the ticket in the morning for cruising bucks. If you have an oak ridge that butts up against the bedding area you could hunt the edge and still be able to see and cover lots of ground in the ridge for cruisers. Does will be in there feeding and returning to bed in the morning with the bucks not far behind. I have a spot like this and the bucks love to scent check all the trails as they head towards the bedding area.
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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Mon May 24, 2010 6:39 am

futuredoc wrote:My question for you die-hard public landers is this: what locations are you using to ambush cruising deer? Specifically, when you are picking out funnels on maps, will you hunt open oak ridges or saddles etc or simply stick to the cover for maximum daylight use?


Hunting pressure greatly influences how "open" of a funnel I hunt during that phase of the rut. On public land wilderness / low pressure areas I see good daytime movement through fairly open cover in some saddles, cuts, bluff funnels and the like. If there is a lot of pressure on the public land, I gravitate toward heavy cover swamp edges, beaver pond / dam crossings and the like. I also see decent bedding in buck bedding areas when there is a lot of pressure, similar to what Dan mentioned.

Downwind of doe bedding areas, with a planned approach and exit, has also been a good recipe for me. The bucks come up with some pretty interesting approach routes, some times its just a matter of time before one shows- I really enjoy hunting this way when decent daytime movement exists.
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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby CatfishJack » Wed May 26, 2010 1:56 pm

I hunt the thick stuff where other people don't go or it is harder to reach. My thought is that others will push deer to the places where they aren't. But, I alway hunt funnels or pinch points or beaver dams-any place that is a well used travel route. During rut, I stay on stand all day and see most of the animals in the first 3/4 of the day. And I will see them all day if it is not too warm. I sometimes like to hunt these stands till mid afternoon and then go to a prime evening stand like around crop fields.
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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby Zap » Wed May 26, 2010 10:34 pm

In an unfarmiliar area, I like to look around.

Drive, and look for tracks crossing the road, and deer.

Still hunt, well sort of, sometimes I have a hard time with keeping a snail's pace. :)

Sit in an observation stand, up high. With my bow, of course. :)

Anyway when I find the "right" place I usually see deer.

No real consistent features, just a place that feels right, based on the sign or deer sightings.

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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby UPbowhunter » Thu May 27, 2010 11:30 am

I do most of my rut hunt down wind of doe groups also. I will use mostly edge cover, and the vegitation strips between thickits. We have absolutley 0 elevation here in south jersey a 3 foot rise in elevation is an island here. So I plan, and scout mostly around thick coridors. 10-1:00 are the hours that I've seen and shot most real slammers that time of the year hunting that aproach. During the week is when I do most of my hunting on public also. Just like most lakes when fishing public fishes the best on Thursdays and Fridays, before the pressure hits hard, monday being the worse day. But I just mostly get out when I can.
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Re: "Chase phase/rut" hunting on public land

Unread postby publiclandhunter » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:11 am

All good info posted on this subject. I need to know where the other hunters are located and then figure out where the does are hanging out to avoid the hunter pressure on public ground. Once I have established where the hunters are (exit/stand/entry routes) then I can usually figure where the does are bedding/traveling to avoid the hunters. Now that this has been established, then I look for funnels on their routes to and from the bed for morning/evening routes and have a mid-day stand on a thick route that links several of the doe bedding areas. If the bucks can't find a hot one, then they may cruise to find a receptive doe. Funnels, funnels, funnels have always worked for me during the rut - no matter what time of day. look for older rubs in the funnels that tip you off to repetitive annual use by traveling bucks. Huge tracks give more clues as bucks use the funnels.
Good luck Doc!
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