Finding food sources

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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Bman409
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Finding food sources

Unread postby Bman409 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:00 pm

Hi guys,

I've been hunting quite a bit this year.. Got a couple deer in crossbow (an "ok" buck and a doe) but since our gun season opened here in NY, I'm struggling to even SEE a deer. I've done some walking around/still hunting but I usually just see tails or fresh tracks.. I guess i'm not much of a stalker.

I've probably watched 200 hunting videos in the past year (at least). I play deer hunting podcasts non-stop in my truck. I have Dan's "farm country" video and another one on Marsh bucks (not sure if its the first or second edition)..

The problem I'm having is literally finding the "food sources". I constantly hear about how you need to find the food source and the bedding.. where I hunt, we have tons of bedding.. there's a 45 acre thicket that you literally can't walk through near where I hunt.. It borders in to hardwoods... I've tried hunting that transition line with mobile stands... on the ground..with ground blinds.. you name it.. We recently had some decent snow so I've been out trying to find out where all the deer are going.. what I'm finding is just random tracks going here, there, everywhere.. no real pattern to it.

There is literally no Ag in this area right now, except one winter wheat field. I don't have access to hunt the edges of that field.. the big 45 acre thicket borders that as well, but I don't think the deer are hitting that field in day light.. I drive past that field every night on the way home from work and I haven't seen any deer in there in daylight for weeks.

so.. I'm at a loss here.. I feel like the deer just eat browse in the thickets and creek bottoms. There is no "food source" to set up on.. the food sources and the bedding are all one in my opinion.

If anyone has some suggestions, I'm all ears. I'm 50 years old and trying to reinvent my hunting style so even though I've hunted all my life, I feel like a rookie when it comes to mobile hunting, hunting bucks, etc.. (at this point, i'd just like to see some deer.. any deer!)

The hunting pressure right now is basically almost non-existent in this area.. everyone hunts opening weekend, scares the life out of the deer, and that's pretty much it after that... anyone else in this situation???

Thanks!


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Bman409
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby Bman409 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:15 pm

buck rub1.jpg
buck rub2.jpg


I know there are some decent bucks in this area.. not just these rubs but trail cam pics too... just seems to be so random, however, where they are
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1STRANGEWILDERNESS
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:52 pm

I’m liking that rub bman! I’m not in the same situation but I’ve certainly been there before. If you really think the deer are in that thicker, I’d penetrate that sucker. Seasons nearing an end so if you screw it up at least you’ll get some valuable intel. Would help if you could narrow down that 45 acres, surely the entire thing isn’t Beds.

As far as the still hunting, I’m not a good stalker either but I tell you a stiff wind in your face and a snow storm can make you pretty darn stealthy. I see deer in conditions like that.
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby Bman409 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 2:56 pm

1STRANGEWILDERNESS wrote:I’m liking that rub bman! I’m not in the same situation but I’ve certainly been there before. If you really think the deer are in that thicker, I’d penetrate that sucker. Seasons nearing an end so if you screw it up at least you’ll get some valuable intel. Would help if you could narrow down that 45 acres, surely the entire thing isn’t Beds.

As far as the still hunting, I’m not a good stalker either but I tell you a stiff wind in your face and a snow storm can make you pretty darn stealthy. I see deer in conditions like that.


Thank you.. I think that's what I'll do.. I've been in a part of it, but its tough going.. I need to get on the best trail in there and just go for broke and see where it leads.. maybe Sat. morning
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby Jdw » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:00 am

It is a challenging situation when the deer have lots of bedding options and food is spread out especially when there is pressure.
I would either dive in and go in to the area you have been avoiding or move to another area where the movement is more predictable.
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby The Mediocre Hunter » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:27 am

Listen to the recent The hunting public's podcast. "Eastern timber terrain funnels" seems like that's kind of what you're hunting area wise. He's hunting the open Maple forests of New York. Hopefully that helps some.
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby andy » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:45 am

I can relate to this: once the vegetation dies off around here, deer get hard to find. Snow helps a lot: even if it tells you that the piece you are hunting just doesn't have a lot of consistent deer movement on it. I just hunted a fairly heavily pressured spot this morning after a new snow, and it was pretty clear that the deer are bedding on private land in behind houses. They came onto the piece I was hunting during the night, pounded up the ground around a couple apple trees, and booked it back onto the private before daylight. Without the snow, I would have figured they were all over the place in there, as there was plenty of old rubs and trails deeper onto the piece. But based on the sign, I think they are using those areas earlier in the season and not so frequently this late in the year.

I've done a fair bit of still hunting this year, and tails/tracks are good intel. Places where I assumed deer would not be during the day or thought they may have abandoned due to conditions/pressure are suddenly options again if I see fresh tracks or bust one. Plus, if you're gun hunting, you do have the chance of walking up on something and getting a shot. I shot one tracking it in fresh snow last year, and I'm no expert stalker. Sometimes, you just get lucky. I wouldn't give up on walking, especially with snow: deer stand out better, movement is easier to track, and at least you'll get an idea of where/how the deer are moving. Maybe someone else has more experience with late season food sources in your kind of habitat, but I haven't found anything overly reliable beyond apple trees.
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby Bman409 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:46 am

The Mediocre Hunter wrote:Listen to the recent The hunting public's podcast. "Eastern timber terrain funnels" seems like that's kind of what you're hunting area wise. He's hunting the open Maple forests of New York. Hopefully that helps some.



thanks.. i'll check that out!! I like those guys
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby Bman409 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:48 am

andy wrote:I can relate to this: once the vegetation dies off around here, deer get hard to find. Snow helps a lot: even if it tells you that the piece you are hunting just doesn't have a lot of consistent deer movement on it. I just hunted a fairly heavily pressured spot this morning after a new snow, and it was pretty clear that the deer are bedding on private land in behind houses. They came onto the piece I was hunting during the night, pounded up the ground around a couple apple trees, and booked it back onto the private before daylight. Without the snow, I would have figured they were all over the place in there, as there was plenty of old rubs and trails deeper onto the piece. But based on the sign, I think they are using those areas earlier in the season and not so frequently this late in the year.

I've done a fair bit of still hunting this year, and tails/tracks are good intel. Places where I assumed deer would not be during the day or thought they may have abandoned due to conditions/pressure are suddenly options again if I see fresh tracks or bust one. Plus, if you're gun hunting, you do have the chance of walking up on something and getting a shot. I shot one tracking it in fresh snow last year, and I'm no expert stalker. Sometimes, you just get lucky. I wouldn't give up on walking, especially with snow: deer stand out better, movement is easier to track, and at least you'll get an idea of where/how the deer are moving. Maybe someone else has more experience with late season food sources in your kind of habitat, but I haven't found anything overly reliable beyond apple trees.



Thanks! Good insight in here
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby DhD » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:52 am

Bman409 wrote:Hi guys,

I've been hunting quite a bit this year.. Got a couple deer in crossbow (an "ok" buck and a doe) but since our gun season opened here in NY, I'm struggling to even SEE a deer. I've done some walking around/still hunting but I usually just see tails or fresh tracks.. I guess i'm not much of a stalker.

I've probably watched 200 hunting videos in the past year (at least). I play deer hunting podcasts non-stop in my truck. I have Dan's "farm country" video and another one on Marsh bucks (not sure if its the first or second edition)..

The problem I'm having is literally finding the "food sources". I constantly hear about how you need to find the food source and the bedding.. where I hunt, we have tons of bedding.. there's a 45 acre thicket that you literally can't walk through near where I hunt.. It borders in to hardwoods... I've tried hunting that transition line with mobile stands... on the ground..with ground blinds.. you name it.. We recently had some decent snow so I've been out trying to find out where all the deer are going.. what I'm finding is just random tracks going here, there, everywhere.. no real pattern to it.

There is literally no Ag in this area right now, except one winter wheat field. I don't have access to hunt the edges of that field.. the big 45 acre thicket borders that as well, but I don't think the deer are hitting that field in day light.. I drive past that field every night on the way home from work and I haven't seen any deer in there in daylight for weeks.

so.. I'm at a loss here.. I feel like the deer just eat browse in the thickets and creek bottoms. There is no "food source" to set up on.. the food sources and the bedding are all one in my opinion.

If anyone has some suggestions, I'm all ears. I'm 50 years old and trying to reinvent my hunting style so even though I've hunted all my life, I feel like a rookie when it comes to mobile hunting, hunting bucks, etc.. (at this point, i'd just like to see some deer.. any deer!)

The hunting pressure right now is basically almost non-existent in this area.. everyone hunts opening weekend, scares the life out of the deer, and that's pretty much it after that... anyone else in this situation???

Thanks!


I don't have any insight, but I am struggling with a lot of the same issues. The only difference is we have AG here everywhere, but I haven't seen a single deer in a field since the first day of rifle. I'm excited to read responses.
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby andy » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:00 am

DhD wrote:
Bman409 wrote:Hi guys,

I've been hunting quite a bit this year.. Got a couple deer in crossbow (an "ok" buck and a doe) but since our gun season opened here in NY, I'm struggling to even SEE a deer. I've done some walking around/still hunting but I usually just see tails or fresh tracks.. I guess i'm not much of a stalker.

I've probably watched 200 hunting videos in the past year (at least). I play deer hunting podcasts non-stop in my truck. I have Dan's "farm country" video and another one on Marsh bucks (not sure if its the first or second edition)..

The problem I'm having is literally finding the "food sources". I constantly hear about how you need to find the food source and the bedding.. where I hunt, we have tons of bedding.. there's a 45 acre thicket that you literally can't walk through near where I hunt.. It borders in to hardwoods... I've tried hunting that transition line with mobile stands... on the ground..with ground blinds.. you name it.. We recently had some decent snow so I've been out trying to find out where all the deer are going.. what I'm finding is just random tracks going here, there, everywhere.. no real pattern to it.

There is literally no Ag in this area right now, except one winter wheat field. I don't have access to hunt the edges of that field.. the big 45 acre thicket borders that as well, but I don't think the deer are hitting that field in day light.. I drive past that field every night on the way home from work and I haven't seen any deer in there in daylight for weeks.

so.. I'm at a loss here.. I feel like the deer just eat browse in the thickets and creek bottoms. There is no "food source" to set up on.. the food sources and the bedding are all one in my opinion.

If anyone has some suggestions, I'm all ears. I'm 50 years old and trying to reinvent my hunting style so even though I've hunted all my life, I feel like a rookie when it comes to mobile hunting, hunting bucks, etc.. (at this point, i'd just like to see some deer.. any deer!)

The hunting pressure right now is basically almost non-existent in this area.. everyone hunts opening weekend, scares the life out of the deer, and that's pretty much it after that... anyone else in this situation???

Thanks!


I don't have any insight, but I am struggling with a lot of the same issues. The only difference is we have AG here everywhere, but I haven't seen a single deer in a field since the first day of rifle. I'm excited to read responses.


That's a good problem to have. If you have ag everywhere, and the deer are not in the fields, then you probably have pretty limited places for them to be bedding. Get out of the fields and into the cover, and you should find them pretty quick, I would think.
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Bman409
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby Bman409 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:15 am

andy wrote:
That's a good problem to have. If you have ag everywhere, and the deer are not in the fields, then you probably have pretty limited places for them to be bedding. Get out of the fields and into the cover, and you should find them pretty quick, I would think.


We do have deer around here, its just hard to get set up for them. They stay in the thick stuff all day long and don't move much during the gun season.

i'll have to find some access to the thick stuff and try to get some set ups in there, I'm thinking.
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Re: Finding food sources

Unread postby Mathewshooter » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:22 am

Gun hunting in NY can be a real chore....especially this late in the season. Unless you have a really big piece of private ground you can control the pressure on, the deer sightings will be scarce. I would imagine if there were deer in that area you describe, they will be in that thicket and wont come out until dark. I dont hunt a lot during gun here in NY just for that reason but I also hunt public land so its even worse.
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