Are there winter and fall ranges?

Discuss the science of figuring out our prey through good detective work.
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Mossberg90MN
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Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby Mossberg90MN » Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:57 pm

I’ve been doing some winter scouting... just getting out there and looking for sign from this past season or looking for beds.

One place I went to was hill country but they’re wasn’t actually a whole lot of deer sign... I thought I would find more.

I scouted a marsh next and this place was absolutely loaded with sign. I saw a group of about 16 does, like a flock of does haha

This places was loaded with deer sign.

My question is...

If a piece of land is void of heavy deer sign in the winter... Does that mean that there most likely aren’t much deer there in the Fall? Or the opposite?

Just curious if I should no longer spend time at the place I found low deer sign.


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stash59
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby stash59 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:05 pm

I find plenty of areas that hold deer in the 3 other seasons. But are ghost towns in the winter. Just gotta figure out when exactly the switch occurs.
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby Dingler3 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:40 am

I have been wondering the same. How much of it depends on food, or is it safety? Or both?
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Hawthorne
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby Hawthorne » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:49 am

They leave Michigan to go to Florida in the winter right after the rut holidays. Play golf and get a sun tan. Then they come back around early may. Mostly old bucks do that once they get mature and don’t work anymore
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1STRANGEWILDERNESS
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby 1STRANGEWILDERNESS » Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:31 am

Heck, where I live deer have migrated in from the north 10-20+ miles due to heavy lake effect snowfall off Lake Superior. In December I would guess there were 30 deer around my house. Haven’t seen a one or a fresh track since the week after New Years.

I try to scout in winter but with deep snow and the wintering behavior of the local herd about the only thing I’m looking for basically is rubs. The immature buck rubs won’t mislead me because they are beneath the snow :lol:

I do like to go into certain areas and checkout where other guys were hunting and stuff just to get an idea of what they’re doing so I can plan my next fall accordingly.
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby NorthStar » Thu Feb 06, 2020 6:00 am

I started a thread recently that is similar to this topic(see below) but I can summarize my experience...

Public spots that are small acreage(100-400 acres) and get hit hard by duck and pheasant hunters are total ghost towns once deer firearm has begun. Its just too much pressure for these small areas. I see from rubs and scrapes made from the previous season but not a single track in the snow come winter time. This leads me to believe that my best shot to kill a deer would be before duck and pheasant start.

So my plan for next year is to hit small properties early and then move to big properties with thick cover as the pressure of hunting season sets in. I feel like you can really use pressure to your advantage on big acreage as there is always spots you can find where others wont go. These are the places I am seeing fresh sign come winter time.

https://www.thehuntingbeast.com/viewtop ... =3&t=53710

Hope this helps!
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Mossberg90MN
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby Mossberg90MN » Fri Feb 07, 2020 9:27 am

NorthStar wrote:I started a thread recently that is similar to this topic(see below) but I can summarize my experience...

Public spots that are small acreage(100-400 acres) and get hit hard by duck and pheasant hunters are total ghost towns once deer firearm has begun. Its just too much pressure for these small areas. I see from rubs and scrapes made from the previous season but not a single track in the snow come winter time. This leads me to believe that my best shot to kill a deer would be before duck and pheasant start.

So my plan for next year is to hit small properties early and then move to big properties with thick cover as the pressure of hunting season sets in. I feel like you can really use pressure to your advantage on big acreage as there is always spots you can find where others wont go. These are the places I am seeing fresh sign come winter time.

https://www.thehuntingbeast.com/viewtop ... =3&t=53710

Hope this helps!


Cool dude, good to know. I’ll check out that thread! I’ve been finding sign but I’m convinced it’s all Rut sign. Then the bucks say I’m out, and head to a farm or something with a food source for the winter.
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby Jdw » Sun Feb 09, 2020 3:36 am

In my area the deer are spread out during fall and grouped up during winter.

Fall food sources are different from winter food sources.

They have transitioned from breeding mode to survival mode in winter.

The hunting pressure has moved them around.

Sometimes they are in the same areas. But I wouldn’t write the spot off just because you don’t find fresh sign in winter.

If you are seeing rut sign in an area I would check it under similar conditions next year.
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby Trout » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:58 am

Absolutely around me. They come from miles away to yard up.in the area cedar swamps, even during mild winters like this one. Makes scouting this time of year deceptive. Still a lot you can learn about an area, particularly lay of the land. I also like to look for stream crossings and water drinking locations.
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Re: Are there winter and fall ranges?

Unread postby Singing Bridge » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:30 pm

Man, there's some great and humorous responses on this one already! Gotta love the Beast.

Michigan is so long with the 2 peninsulas that it really depends on where you hunt. Southern Michigan to Copper Harbor in the U.P is about 620 miles... If you went South instead you would be in Georgia and 300 out of Florida...

The snowbelt areas, especially the Lake Superior snowbelt, can have off the chart deep snow and heavily yarded deer in protective cedar swamps, primarily. On a winter with no snow at my home in the lower peninsula I would have 4 feet of hard packed snow at my cabin in the U.P... winters with a lot of snow I could step off my roof on the hard pack... and there are Superior snowbelt areas that are much worse than that. Pretty tough to tie midwinter bedding to other seasons. The Grand Marais deer yard has deer migrating north, which shows nothing is ever guaranteed in deer hunting (it is on the shoreline of Lake Superior). As you drive into town in February, I've had several herds of whitetails travelling in different directions cross in front of me. While eating pizza in town I've had February whitetails walk up to the window and peer in at me. The locals, even though they are not supposed to, put food for the deer on Lake Superior and watch them walk out onto the ice to feed.

Outside of that I don't let winter slow me down, even if the deer are somewhere else for the winter period. When you become highly experienced at finding buck beds you can recognize bedding areas and individual buck beds on sight even with a couple of feet of snow. When I recognize a buck bed with a couple of feet of snow on the ground I look for verification... I kick off the snow with my boot, kneel down and scratch the ground with a gloved hand... when I find deer hair and I usually do... SHAZAM !!

Right now in some nearby big woods areas where winters are less severe, the clearcuts are absolutely loaded with deer that are feeding. You can find a big buck track and back track it to its bed... it may or may not be used in the fall, figuring that out is up to you. These buck beds are pretty secure so you have a decent chance.

Bridge


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