Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
  • Advertisement

HB Store


User avatar
Moccasin Hunter
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:04 am
Location: Southern Mountains of Virginia
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Moccasin Hunter » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:44 pm

So here’s a hunting story from the 2018 season. Last spring when I was spring gobbler hunting I came across a really good bedding area on a point of a ridge. I followed an old logging trail leading away from the bedding around the side of the ridge and found it had a good rub line on it. A little farther on the trail forked into another skid trail forming a Y, both trails had old and new sign in them. I didn’t have my GPS with me so I just noted the site in my head. Later in the summer I went back to the area to pick a tree and get a GPS position on it. While I was approaching the point I heard a deer get up and leave its bed. That day I found large clumped droppings and big tracks in the original trail. I picked a tree in the Y where the trails forked and left. I didn’t go back until Oct 19th when the wind was right. By right I mean blowing down the point toward the bedding. I had an access route already planned on a topo, so the morning of the hunt I maneuvered downwind of the point and trail then turned strait up slope to my chosen tree. At about 8:00 AM I was standing up in my stand when I saw a little movement along the main log trail. I got my bow ready and waited when the movement finally started again it was a nice shooter coming into the Y in the trail he finally came into range and I slowly drew my bow but he stopped behind some thick stuff and locked up. I had the wind so I think he saw me draw. So it was a classic standoff for a minute until he slowly flicked his tail and backed up a few steps turned away and walked off in to the thick stuff giving me that slow tail wag
goodbye. What a thrill and a disappointment at the same time. I was elated that I had figured him out and got my opportunity. Up in November I caught him on a trail cam on the other side of the ridge in funnel that I monitor.Image Given my previous post I really think I need to work on stand positioning in relation to expected deer movement. This forum has increased my encounter rate with bucks like this so much that it's hard to believe sometimes. I'm just having a difficult time closing the deal when I see them. I've told some of you here that most of my experience has been with a rifle and I've just started bow hunting again in my late fifties. I am determined to be successful with a bow though. I was positioned down slope from him because of wind but I believe he spotted me because of being on almost the same level as I was. I would appreciate any input or ideas on how to avoid being picked off from up slope deer.


"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past" (Patrick Henry)
User avatar
backstraps
Moderator
Posts: 7045
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:44 pm
Location: Tennessee
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby backstraps » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:31 am

"I was positioned down slope from him because of wind but I believe he spotted me because of being on almost the same level as I was. I would appreciate any input or ideas on how to avoid being picked off from up slope deer."

MH it sounds like you done everything right. Sometimes the execution is the part that gets away from us. For me just knowing the hunt was planned out correctly and the chance was there was for sure a win-win set.

As for the tree you picked out, its really hard to get away when you are hunting a slope and the buck is above you. IT takes everything to happen just right to not be detected. I try my best on slopes to always be on the up hill of where I expect the bucks to come from. If the only tree you have to hunt is going to be below his line of travel I simply go high as I can to try and be above him

Another in your story was he slowly left with the short goodbye wave of his tail... that deer knew something wasnt right there, but he was sure what. I bet that buck is still using that bed and will can get another crack at him.

Good luck with him!!
User avatar
brancher147
500 Club
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:46 am
Location: West Virginia
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby brancher147 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:43 am

Moccasin Hunter wrote: I was positioned down slope from him because of wind but I believe he spotted me because of being on almost the same level as I was. I would appreciate any input or ideas on how to avoid being picked off from up slope deer.


I have had the same issue. I plan to use a saddle for these setups in the future so I can hide behind the tree, and Depending on terrain may even try to stay lower in the tree if it gets me more cover. But it’s a tough setup no matter what.
Some do. Some don't. I just might...
User avatar
ghoasthunter
500 Club
Posts: 2211
Joined: Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:09 am
Location: New jersey
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby ghoasthunter » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:36 am

backstraps wrote:"I was positioned down slope from him because of wind but I believe he spotted me because of being on almost the same level as I was. I would appreciate any input or ideas on how to avoid being picked off from up slope deer."

MH it sounds like you done everything right. Sometimes the execution is the part that gets away from us. For me just knowing the hunt was planned out correctly and the chance was there was for sure a win-win set.

As for the tree you picked out, its really hard to get away when you are hunting a slope and the buck is above you. IT takes everything to happen just right to not be detected. I try my best on slopes to always be on the up hill of where I expect the bucks to come from. If the only tree you have to hunt is going to be below his line of travel I simply go high as I can to try and be above him

Another in your story was he slowly left with the short goodbye wave of his tail... that deer knew something wasnt right there, but he was sure what. I bet that buck is still using that bed and will can get another crack at him.

Good luck with him!!
when im hunting in the mountains im almost always below the trail because when i see deer thermals are normally dropping when the big bucks are moving. the big thing is not sky lighting yourself i love using pines or hemlocks if i can or i use clumps of trees too break up my skylight. if i have too use a single tree i use one thats wider than me. planing for the shot is critical use ground cover too draw your bow or big trees between you and the deer. there is a lot more than just the right tree being able too get a shot off is just as important. sometimes not even getting of the ground is better there is nothing wrong about dropping the stand and getting behind a rock or in a blow down or bush. more game is taken from the ground every year than any other way. and sometimes being able too move in the mountains can mean the difference between getting a shot and not winds and thermals constantly shift and being able too move in a split second can make success or failure. i used to hunt nose bleed high when i was a kid. now i just hunt where i need to get my shot. and sometimes getting up too far starts getting you in even worse winds that spread your scent every place. not too mention i think a lot of people get busted climbing the tree. had you just sat behind it you might have gotten a shot off.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL A HUNTER HAS IS BETWEEN HIS SHOULDERS
User avatar
backstraps
Moderator
Posts: 7045
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:44 pm
Location: Tennessee
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby backstraps » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:12 am

I agree ghosthunter with what youre saying...especially hunting too high can change shot angles etc

However hunting above the approaching trail, most times I hunt the leeward side, and my wind along with the falling thermals will still push my scent just over the top of his back if im set up overlooking his approaching trail

Also if he moves early before thermals begin to fall and he is on your suspected trail he could get your wind prior to shooting him. Heck each scenario is different, you just have to try things and find what works for you

Evergreen trees provides excellent cover when the leaves have already fallen, but early season in my neck of the woods, finding cover isnt hard to do to prevent skylining

One thing you mentioned when bowhunting is planning the shot.... absolutely crucial!!! Planning ahead of when youre going to draw to avoid detection is key
User avatar
Moccasin Hunter
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:04 am
Location: Southern Mountains of Virginia
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Moccasin Hunter » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:25 am

backstraps wrote:"I was positioned down slope from him because of wind but I believe he spotted me because of being on almost the same level as I was. I would appreciate any input or ideas on how to avoid being picked off from up slope deer."

MH it sounds like you done everything right. Sometimes the execution is the part that gets away from us. For me just knowing the hunt was planned out correctly and the chance was there was for sure a win-win set.

As for the tree you picked out, its really hard to get away when you are hunting a slope and the buck is above you. IT takes everything to happen just right to not be detected. I try my best on slopes to always be on the up hill of where I expect the bucks to come from. If the only tree you have to hunt is going to be below his line of travel I simply go high as I can to try and be above him

Another in your story was he slowly left with the short goodbye wave of his tail... that deer knew something wasnt right there, but he was sure what. I bet that buck is still using that bed and will can get another crack at him.

Good luck with him!!
Yes, I'm sure he will be back. I've got a January pic of him headed into the bedding in the snow. So it seems to be a well used area. I knew the tree wasn't perfect but I felt like I needed to cover both the Ys so I was above one leg of the trail. He just took the high road. He was within 20 yds when he froze. I try to anticipate a deer's approach but you can't be certain. The stand height and above or below anticipated movement have been key for me. Everything's a tradeoff on a steep slope. And yes youre right my day was a success. It's very satisfying to know you got it right. I went home smiling and planning for another try.
"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past" (Patrick Henry)
kylehey
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:09 pm
Location: South Central PA
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby kylehey » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:27 am

Bump for a great thread! Thanks for giving information on a terrain type that I actually hunt! (Central/South Central PA)
bigredneck61088
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:11 pm
Location: OH/PA
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby bigredneck61088 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:01 pm

Bumping for any Rut advice for this type of terrain... will be spending my rut cation in ANF in PA this year

I am assume leeward ridges with bedding cover, any pinches, etc?
Bentstraight
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:10 am
Facebook: Tyler Snyder
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Bentstraight » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:55 am

I never post on here, im more a lurker but seeing as this post has been taken over by alot of PA guys i figure i would share a little what ive learned and observed in the mountains of central Pa. I think this has been mentioned before, but Alot of times i find them bedding on the steepest parts of the mountain usually just below the tops. these beds also dont apear to be wind based because they are so hard to access (meaning they will bed there even if its the windward side). The first buck pictured was taken on a very steep slope 5 minutes after daylight. This was november 8th on a cold front. He was a little late getting back to his bed. The second buck pictured was taken november 2nd on a primary scrape located just outside the bedding. Its been covered before that these scrapes are very hard to come by, but when you find them they can be gold at the end of the rainbow
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Bentstraight
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:10 am
Facebook: Tyler Snyder
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Bentstraight » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:04 am

Sorry had trouble getting the second picture to load
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
Moccasin Hunter
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:04 am
Location: Southern Mountains of Virginia
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Moccasin Hunter » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:55 am

Bentstraight wrote:I never post on here, im more a lurker but seeing as this post has been taken over by alot of PA guys i figure i would share a little what ive learned and observed in the mountains of central Pa. I think this has been mentioned before, but Alot of times i find them bedding on the steepest parts of the mountain usually just below the tops. these beds also dont apear to be wind based because they are so hard to access (meaning they will bed there even if its the windward side). The first buck pictured was taken on a very steep slope 5 minutes after daylight. This was november 8th on a cold front. He was a little late getting back to his bed. The second buck pictured was taken november 2nd on a primary scrape located just outside the bedding. Its been covered before that these scrapes are very hard to come by, but when you find them they can be gold at the end of the rainbow
Thats a great mountain deer for sure! I would be interested in hearing more about your hunting and scouting methods, if you don't care to share.
"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past" (Patrick Henry)
Bentstraight
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:10 am
Facebook: Tyler Snyder
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Bentstraight » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:23 pm

Thanks Moccasin,
I think my scouting is pretty typical to what alot guys here are doing. Im looking for bedding, scrapes and rubs from previous years. Im also trying to read the terrain; looking for all the thickets and edges, where there are blow downs and basically everything that doesnt show up on a topo map.

As far as my hunting method, im looking for where people are hunting as much as im looking for deer sign. I dont find alot of the "overlooked" spots right next to parking areas like some of the midwest guys find. I think that has alot to due with that being where most of the hunters are sitting because they dont want to hike up the mountain ( or down if the access road is from the top). One of the biggest things ive had success on that might seem a little counter intuitive (spelling?) is that im not afraid to walk past really great sign to hunt somewhere that may not have a rub or scrape within 300 yards of it. Sort of taking the sign and then tracking it back to the source based of where i think hes bedding. For instance, the buck picture with my wife in the picture was taken in such a spot. I went out on a hunt after work 2 days before i shot him where i only had about an hour and a half of daylight. I didnt have time to get up the mountain very far so i was more or less scouting for fresh sign. I found alot of really fresh sign not far from the main access path. Lots of big tall rubs and a few scrapes that were made within the last day. I tell myself alot "if it looks to good to be true, then it probably is". This sign was way to close to where other guys were walking and setting up and i figured it had to be night sign and that the buck was coming from higher up the mountain. So when i came back 2 days later i walked right past all that sign to hunt a spot where there wasnt a rub within 250 yards. Knowing the layout of the mountain is what really payed off as i was able to use a blow down to funnel the buck 10 yards in front of me. I will also mention that this was a virgin sit. Almost all of the nice bucks i have taken have been on virgin sits which isnt surprising.

I think the most important thing is to keep an open mind and avoid being stagnant. Be willing take risks. Everyone hunting the mountains knows the wind and thermals are tough and you can sit around waiting for the "perfect" wind to hunt, but that buck might be gone by then. You gotta hunt them when they are in the area and that might mean rolling the dice with the wind and thermals. Hopefully this might help somebody out a little bit.
User avatar
Stingray713
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:14 am
Location: Central Va
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Stingray713 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:43 pm

Awesome bucks my man! :clap:

Couple more of them and you might have to start switching up trucks.
Walk softly, and carry some Beast Sticks
bigredneck61088
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:11 pm
Location: OH/PA
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby bigredneck61088 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:05 pm

Bentstraight wrote:I never post on here, im more a lurker but seeing as this post has been taken over by alot of PA guys i figure i would share a little what ive learned and observed in the mountains of central Pa. I think this has been mentioned before, but Alot of times i find them bedding on the steepest parts of the mountain usually just below the tops. these beds also dont apear to be wind based because they are so hard to access (meaning they will bed there even if its the windward side). The first buck pictured was taken on a very steep slope 5 minutes after daylight. This was november 8th on a cold front. He was a little late getting back to his bed. The second buck pictured was taken november 2nd on a primary scrape located just outside the bedding. Its been covered before that these scrapes are very hard to come by, but when you find them they can be gold at the end of the rainbow


Stud bucks! And some good info! You should post more, people will listen
Blue Ridge
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:36 am
Status: Offline

Re: Appalachian Mountain terrain and tactics

Unread postby Blue Ridge » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:56 am

Bentstraight - Could you elaborate a bit more on why or what other evidence you have found to support that those high, hard to access beds are not wind based ? Just wondering if you personally observed them bedding in those spots on windward days, or whatever evidence you may have. Nice bucks and thanks for chiming in.
Also, sticking to this windward topic. Do you have any thoughts on bucks (in your area / mountains) preferring to cruise on leeward vs windward sides or what you have observed most.

Return to “Deer Hunting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Eddy12, Hawthorne, KRONIIK, MNarrow, riceg53, tbunao, Thesouthpaw, wmahunter and 7 guests