Fastest way to find them

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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treeroot
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Fastest way to find them

Unread postby treeroot » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:34 am

I feel like I'm missing something lately. For the last week and a half I've been out of the game. Sign has dried up in my historically good spots, so I started logging the miles trying to get back into the deer. With snow on the ground it's pretty obvious if nothing is in the area. I've been in this situation before and this is usually when I stumble as a hunter. I'm sure between gun season pressure, and food sources drying up they've moved but the question is how to find them.

I've been following the transitions and thick cover, scouring the leeward hill sides and there's just not much sign. I've been to several public and private parcels, some going in blind and still not getting into "the spot." I've walked a few field edges looking for a big track to take up, still not much. Looked for browsing but not much for tracks. Sunday I started back tracking any tracks that looked decent hoping to find bedding, even if I blew them out at least I'd know for next year. I found a few beds, nothing to write home about, got real close to a few doe but nothing that said there's a big one here.

So my question is what am I doing wrong? I'm missing something and I'm not sure what it is.


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MarshRunner1
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby MarshRunner1 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:53 am

I've switched to just hunting food. Green clover, corn taken off recently, vegetable plots from summer makes it easy to pattern them. See lots shining at night, just not much in daylight lol. Cousin shot one last night at the edge of the cut corn/vegetable field yesterday evening and couldn't find it in the dark. Went back today and coyotes found it :oops:
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby stash59 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:29 am

Even farm country deer can migrate for the winter. May not be 10+ miles like we see in northern WI bigwoods. But 2 or 3. Alot of public areas and even some low pressured private, in southern WI. Can be ghost towns after gun season. I've thought about flying to try and locate the ground deer traditionally use late season. Mainly to gain intel for the next year/s. Go up a couple days after fresh snow so trails will show up. Then hit those areas boots on the ground to see how fresh any sign might be. As December passes.
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treeroot
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby treeroot » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:16 am

stash59 wrote:Even farm country deer can migrate for the winter. May not be 10+ miles like we see in northern WI bigwoods. But 2 or 3. Alot of public areas and even some low pressured private, in southern WI. Can be ghost towns after gun season. I've thought about flying to try and locate the ground deer traditionally use late season. Mainly to gain intel for the next year/s. Go up a couple days after fresh snow so trails will show up. Then hit those areas boots on the ground to see how fresh any sign might be. As December passes.



That's where I'm at is finding them. I guess what I'm looking for is what terrain or property type should I be focusing on.
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Boogieman1
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:11 am

Is it possible you have killed them all? :lol: I don’t hunt in remotely close to the same conditions down here. Meaning no snow, no late season migration, no severe cold weather forcing deer to eat in daylight to survive. But I got other perks so it evens out imo.

I get thrown for a loop now and again. 2 years ago was the worst when historical milo fields were planted in cotton. In my case it’s 95% of the time based on food source. No matter what time of the season u find the hot food and it’s much easier to find the deer. Then again in some places that’s not a easy task either. Below is a list of things I do when I hit rock bottom and time is running low and I can’t find the deer.

1.) Talk to trappers. What area are they having success at currently. Coyotes and such don't survive off the salad bar. You find where they are moving and u normally end up pretty dang close.

2.) Your local taxidermist/processors are your friend. They know when the rush is on a annual basis and I’m not talking bout days when the woods are just saturated with hunters. Just an example my taxidermist (which I have known since I was 6) called me today to tell me my euro will be ready Tom. His exact words were I see u again around the 15th. Why? Because that’s when the magic happens and the locals he knows always turn em in within the same time frame every year.

3.) Drive the back roads at dawn/dusk to see where these suckers are feeding or crossing. Base hunts off that.

4.) Whatever your doing that is not showing deer sign do the complete opposite.

5.) Go to church and pray lol
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby SplitG2 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:20 am

This is just my opinion but given gun seasons or at least the first round of them and the rut is pretty much over I’ve found deer very hard to find this time of the year every season but at the same time, more often than not, I’ve found them back in the same usual spots. Think recovery and safety to do so and think the smallest core area possible.

I won’t say all mature bucks but most of the ones I have encountered will do whatever it takes to recover and recover in saftey, even if that means recovery takes longer. For example, take Area A and Area B. Area B might have some cover and a ton of food and water but Area A has a ton of cover and just a little food and water. All they need is enough to sustain themselves so Area A is all they need and that may be a spot you’d never think of looking. They can travel at night to get to Area B to get more food and water.

But then again, all areas are different. I hunt hill country and big woods and I’ve had luck finding them right back in the same spots(given that they haven’t been pressured to no end), just living in a smaller spots within the usual spots.
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby greenhorndave » Tue Dec 10, 2019 10:51 am

I'm facing the same dilemma. I've had a crazy few weeks and haven't hit any of my bow spots in a while. I have no idea what the gun season looked like in those spots. I'm hoping for a little snow and cold when late bow starts, but that's not easy to count on.

In any case, I feel like I'll be starting from scratch.
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby may21581 » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:10 pm

SplitG2 wrote:This is just my opinion but given gun seasons or at least the first round of them and the rut is pretty much over I’ve found deer very hard to find this time of the year every season but at the same time, more often than not, I’ve found them back in the same usual spots. Think recovery and safety to do so and think the smallest core area possible.

I won’t say all mature bucks but most of the ones I have encountered will do whatever it takes to recover and recover in saftey, even if that means recovery takes longer. For example, take Area A and Area B. Area B might have some cover and a ton of food and water but Area A has a ton of cover and just a little food and water. All they need is enough to sustain themselves so Area A is all they need and that may be a spot you’d never think of looking. They can travel at night to get to Area B to get more food and water.

But then again, all areas are different. I hunt hill country and big woods and I’ve had luck finding them right back in the same spots(given that they haven’t been pressured to no end), just living in a smaller spots within the usual spots.


Just my 2 sense and a few of my observations. I've been in your spot before and can relate. So this time of year is when hunting can be good. Well let me rephrase this. Hunting after gun season when the weather gets cold and nasty can put big bucks on the ground. A mature bucks primary goal this time of year is to keep munching on food and survival.so ask yourself where the best food sources are near secure cover and you will find them.
This time of year we need to reboot our mindset and get out of the early season/rut style hunting. Its not that their not showing this behavior still but now their really on pins and needles and are bedding in really secure spots. And are being extra careful how they move.
The buck dan shot last year was bedding and watching human access trails. I hunted a buck last season and could have shot him in late season while he was bedding the same way. He would bed on a ridge and watch the access trails before entering the corn. I watched them from an observation stand and they were very patternable. I wanted to give him another year because of his great potential but never seen him this year.
I have found this time of year they like to bed high and drop down to areas they were watching. I'm sure they were pushed around and pushed. Give them some time and let things calm down. Monitor your cameras and keep at it. Things will turn around in due time.
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby Lockdown » Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:41 pm

Have you scouted swamp or marsh? That’s where a lot of the deer are around here. Nothing keeps the wind off them in cold snowy weather like cattails.

I observed the same property 3 Friday’s in a row. Day 1... no snow, saw a total of 22 deer between public and private. Saw more deer on this public tract (9) than I ever had.

Fast forward one week and add snow... NOTHING. Same thing the next week. Major pattern change no doubt. I didn’t even see anything come to the corn stubble off the prime private.

They’re not moving as far either, so keep that in mind. They instinctively know to conserve energy this time of year.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is keep switching it up. Try different habitat types, do whatever you have to do. Once you find them you’ll likely find good numbers.
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OH nontypical
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby OH nontypical » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:15 pm

This time of year is tough. Thick cover near a food source is always good. Find the food and you will find the deer.

Here in Ohio deer cycle back to red oak acorns if you can find them. Obviously beans or corn are killer as temps drop. The colder the better and I like afternoons better for sits.

Good luck :!:
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treeroot
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby treeroot » Tue Dec 10, 2019 3:14 pm

Most of where I have to hunt is a mixture of small rolling hills and farmland. However most of the farmland is all hay fields. Elevation changes of 40-60' within a property is pretty normal. Some 1,000-1500 acre chunks of timber on public. My favorite bread and butter crp/ brush lands always go vacant once snow knocks down the crp. However there are islands of thick brush that can possibly hold deer, but it'll be a long cold belly crawl to beat their vision without blowing them out.
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1STRANGEWILDERNESS
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Re: Fastest way to find them

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:09 am

I’ve found several bucks are back where they were 2nd week of October. Except now my pics are later at night. Food source in use is dwindling and I really don’t know where the big one is coming from. Identifying tracks in 20-30” of snow is tough! They all fill in or drift over. I have noticed quite a few beds under mature conifer trees where the snow is all up on the branches. So the edges with mature conifer is where I’m heading next. Just hard to get close with so many doe stacked up. Seasons almost over so what do I have to lose..

Maybe seek out some spruce, cedar or pines if you have snow.
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