My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

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KornfedKiller
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:25 pm

greenhorndave wrote:Sounds like you found a fairly quiet little corner with respect to human activity. That’s potentially great!

Maybe put a cam in an area just outside of the main activity area and see what’s coming and going when?


Awesome idea... I'm gonna head back this weekend after our melt this week. Any tips looking for a cam spot? I typically just look for either a choke point or a well used licking branch with a ground scrape.


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greenhorndave
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby greenhorndave » Tue Mar 03, 2020 12:49 am

KornfedKiller wrote:
greenhorndave wrote:Sounds like you found a fairly quiet little corner with respect to human activity. That’s potentially great!

Maybe put a cam in an area just outside of the main activity area and see what’s coming and going when?


Awesome idea... I'm gonna head back this weekend after our melt this week. Any tips looking for a cam spot? I typically just look for either a choke point or a well used licking branch with a ground scrape.

I’m not a big user of cameras, but maybe somewhere just inside the edge of that trail going into the alders. it sounds like it’s being used. It would at least give you an idea of what’s coming and going as a starting point in an unobtrusive way,
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KornfedKiller
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Tue Mar 03, 2020 2:28 am

Roger that
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:32 pm

When I left the house this morning, I was headed out fishing. I had my rod, a net and a cooler, some worms, my tackle, and a desire to land my first fish of 2020. However, before the end of the day I was in the woods scouting a new piece. The fish weren't biting, and after I lost my 3rd jig on a log, I boogeyed on out of there. I've been out scouting a couple times here in the last week, and I think I have some positive new information.

I kicked Saturday off putting a camera on a new piece of public in a spot recommended by greenhorndave.... I saw and listened to a ton of wicked migratory birds out there and it really hammered home to me that it's spring time. It's always special to me to be around them because they're here for such a short window. I poked around a little, but I plan on diving deeper into it another day. I've been concerned about how close I was getting with my cameras to the bucks I've been after. Part of me wanted to look for sheds, part of me wanted to see come cool photos, but the more I read on this forum about the delicate dance around a buck's core zone, the more concerned I get with being too tight. I know I've located a buck's core area, and I know I had 3 cameras in his area... I had to do something about this. I came home with plenty of pictures and knowledge. I ended up finding 2 major escape routes from the cameras. I think I've got a fairly solid plan now for how I'm going to attack it in the fall, so I'm just gonna let it sit until then. In the meantime I'll be staring at my pictures matched up with historical weather data.... I got pretty good daylight movement by bucks on winds from the north on the creek bottom. When the wind hits one cheek but not the other, I've encountered deer and a big buck. I've also located some solid doe bedding. I like my chances in here.

Today I went back to the piece of public I had been focussing on, but I crossed the road and explored the next section. It didn't take long before I had found 3 well used buck beds with hair in them and scrapes of varying ages.... all beds were on oxbows. It amazed me how thick the cover was at this time of year on these points of land. I included a couple pics from one of them. I only made it about halfway through before I had to turn back due to time constraints, but I came home with about 20 waypoints on my GPS tracker. I got about 10 ft away from a turkey, that was cool. There was a lot of promising sign in there that got me as excited as the aerials, so I'm heading back tomorrow to dig deeper. I'm gonna take 2 cameras and see if I can't find something neat over the next couple months.

I still haven't found any sheds which bums me out, but deer don't shed antlers in the fall is what I keep telling myself.
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KornfedKiller
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:38 am

I went back out there today with a camera scouting a new access point. There's a thread popular right now about hunting creek bottoms, and the user DaveT1963 makes a comment about bucks using the outside of oxbows to scent check for does during the rut. I read that this morning before I went out, so I figured I'd scout the other side of the creek.

The wildlife in this area was incredible. When I crossed the creek, I got slapped in the legs by 2 giant, beautiful trout. I found spots of turkey feathers. I heard birds I didn't recognize. I saw a chickadee that was an iridescent blue? And the deer sign was abundant. Varying sizes and ages of rubs, plenty of bedding (both old and currently used), and I can't remember a 20 foot stretch without piles of deer poop. I found a spot I think would be wicked for an early season sit.... it's not too deep, and it can be an observation hunt as well with all the sight lines. It got me excited because I saw a way to stage hunt the area today.

Back to the comment from DaveT... as I was walking the creek, I rolled up on a buck skeleton. It was face down in the mud. It had it's rack still, which was mostly rotted away but the thickness of the main beam told me this buck was no joke. There's another thread about bucks dying of old age popular right now, in which Dan (like the real f-ing Dan Infalt) mentions how he figures when he finds dead bucks with a rack, they were wounded in hunting season and not recovered. I'm paraphrasing of course, read his whole post yourself because it was awesome. But on account of this, I figured this buck to be a wounded buck that died where he thought he was safe. There was a trail that forked into this spot, and a heavy trail veered right. I set a camera up on the intersection, cuz y'ain't safe out here.

I'm going back tomorrow, and I'm PSYCHED. Was supposed to go fishing but the river is too high, and I think I'm starting to like hunting more than fishing.
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greenhorndave
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby greenhorndave » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:01 pm

Cool stuff! 8-)
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby Ghost Hunter » Fri Mar 13, 2020 12:31 pm

Good going. You know you are in area. About time for me to freshen up my salt lick. Stick camera on it around May. Salt lick is about 300 yards from where I hunt.
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Sun Mar 15, 2020 1:42 am

Ghost Hunter wrote:Good going. You know you are in area. About time for me to freshen up my salt lick. Stick camera on it around May. Salt lick is about 300 yards from where I hunt.


how do you use that, is it like an attraction to funnel bucks, or is it more for recon? What are you hunting 300 yards away that makes this effective
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby Ghost Hunter » Sun Mar 15, 2020 8:12 am

KornfedKiller wrote:
Ghost Hunter wrote:Good going. You know you are in area. About time for me to freshen up my salt lick. Stick camera on it around May. Salt lick is about 300 yards from where I hunt.


how do you use that, is it like an attraction to funnel bucks, or is it more for recon? What are you hunting 300 yards away that makes this effective



You find an area with decent travel and pour crushed rock salt (50 Lbs) on ground in low place where it want wash away. They will hit it March thru Sept. Put out camera there for inventory purposes. Check maybe once ever 3 months. It will pull bucks from miles around sometime.

I put it in summer time pattern area. When they shed an it starts cooling down. Their patterns shift.
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:59 am

Thanks, I actually have a spot I might be able to try that out!
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby Ghost Hunter » Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:11 am

KornfedKiller wrote:Thanks, I actually have a spot I might be able to try that out!


No problem.
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:31 pm

I was able to get out today so I wanted to check the camera I had placed on the swamp near the other properties I was scouting (I referred to it as a bog in a previous post, I was wrong and have since learned the difference between a bog and a swamp... sorry about that). I spent a bit of time this week cyber scouting it, and I had a plan to drop 1-2 more cameras out there. We have had some nice warm weather and as spring sets in I figured I wanted to dive into it and do some learnin'. After I got on that trail of big tracks in the snow and found big rubs on the other side of the road a couple weeks ago, I figured it was worth the time.

So the way this swamp sets up is the access is a road on the north, private farm fields to all other sides. There's pockets of conifers, one of which is on the west side with a creek running N/S down to an ag field, with a Y in the creek (on the map) at the end. My intention was to walk this line down to the split set a cam, and move on. Through the middle of the piece are a few ponds of different sizes, some oak flats, and a lot of low lying swamp. The Northeast corner is where I found the bedding last time I was out in the fresh snow, amongst a bunch of laydowns in the open woods.

I entered down the creek but before i did I walked the North perimiter of conifers. Trails crossing the road from bean and corn fields. I followed them to the creek I was going to follow in and it wasn't long before I found a ton of rubs. This rub was the biggest I noticed, the walking stick is 50" tall.... I dont know how much it shows up in the pic but there were actually needles embedded in the rub.

20200315_131352.jpg


There's a hump 20 yds from this rub that's got an incredible amount of sign on it.... multiple animals, tracks, rubs, poop of varying sizes and ages, thorns... I set up a camera at the end of my walk on this spot. I'm very excited to pull it because I left it on video mode, which I have yet to do. Will be cool to see what I get.

So I followed the paths through to the creek and started down it, and shortly after I found the rubs I rolled up on a pocket in the conifers of what appears to be bedding cover to me... it was a whole lot of this

20200315_132012.jpg


with pockets of this

20200315_132016.jpg


..and this is before you even get into anything. If this forum and Dan's channel has taught me anything tho, this is rut sign. I'll tuck it away and keep going.

I end up following the creek and it turns out it opens into a massive flooded swamp! I was underprepared for that and have to come back with chest waders to get through to the corner I wanna set a cam in, but beyond that, man it was crazy in there. I'll be honest, I've never seen anything like it. Not just deer hunting, or like hunting and fishing, but in anything I've done... I've never seen an area like this. Such an expansive area of flooded timber with ducks and ridges with deer sign. I know water is higher now with the melt, but it was basically a lake with islands of low brush. The same kind of brush I find deer in on other properties. I placed a ton of waypoints on my map, and headed for my camera before I left. I thought I was just going to be walking along a creek to the end, placing a camera, and leaving... rolling up on FernGully wasn't what I saw coming. There is a lot more exploring to do in there and I want to put a better picture together in my head, a stronger plan together, and I want to be able to get into some deep water. I'll be pouring over my computer this week. This area is expansive, intimidating, and I need to have a better idea of which transition lines I'm going to follow before I get back in there. There was plenty of people sign in there, it's not an undiscovered spot by any means, but I know I can find the pocket in here.

I went to the camera I had set up last week, I thought it was a sweet spot but I didn't expect much until the ice left. Well, ice left like 2 days after I placed the camera. I checked the cam, 1400+ pics.... ya I'm in it here for sure. I swapped the cards, left the cam, noticed a well beaten trail behind the camera that was there when I put it there, and went home. I was eager to put my card in my computer and see what I got after such a cool walk.

What did I learn today? First, don't aim your camera at water, and don't put your camera in a tree thats easily moved by wind. That's how you get 1400+ pictures of nothing. Second, don't ignore sign just because you want the deer to walk a certain path. When I put the cam out I saw an opening between alders that had water in it, I saw images in my head of the Cereal Killer himself trekking through in waders and was like "I'm finally in the game boy watch out".... I got a little cocky after what I found in the creek I was scouting earlier. In my mind, the beaten path to the side of it was just because there was ice. When I was back there today, I saw that the trail I ignored led to a thin strip of trees between ponds. I don't know many natural funnels but I bet that's somewhere in the right direction. I'm a little bummed my original camera is left in such a junk position, but it gives me a reason to go back soon and do better. Lots of opportunity here I think, I'm psyched.

EDIT: I'm sorry about the orientation of the pictures. I'm not internet savvy.
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KornfedKiller
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Re: My progression as a hunter and the hunt for my first bow kill

Unread postby KornfedKiller » Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:32 pm

I did some thinking and planning last night, and decided to return today with a pair of chest waders. I wanted to pick up the camera in the spot with all the pictures of nothing and put it in a better position, as well as placing a camera at the original destination I planned for yesterday. I took a walking stick to feel for holes in front of me, and boy was that handy. I dodged a couple pretty hairy spots that I would have otherwise not seen coming. It was my first time walking through such a large expanse of flooded timber and I didn't know what to expect, but I have heard plenty in this forum and on Dan's videos about minding safety, so that's what I did.

20200316_162350.jpg


The only areas that weren't under water were the patches of conifers and the patches of thick brush that had alders, thorns, and some other stuff I really can't identify. Back in hunting season before I really started making any traction with becoming a better hunter, I'd look at that and just think "hey there's some bedding".... today, the flooding really made that stuff stand out and I got to say, there's way more of this low brush than I previously thought. It started hammering home that until you find deer sign, you can't just call it bedding. I was on to a ton of fresh tracks today, and they seem to parralel the water lines for the most part. I really enjoy walking through wet ground like that because I learn so much from seeing a ton of different tracks side by side, all of varying sizes and levels of freshness. When I look at a patch of ground with a variety of tracks, the side by side comparison makes it really easier to figure out what makes a fresh track truly fresh.

I had a plan to take the original cam I set out there and head to a funnel between some of the ponds. Once there I was gonna look for signs of a big buck, place a camera and carry on. problem was, it was all flooded between the ponds so while I thought I was going to walk out there and find tracks and old ground scrapes, I had to rethink my plan. I started looking for rubs and licking branches, and eventually found a decent one with a rub that was not as tall as previous ones I've keyed in on, but it felt like a good cam spot. The walking stick is 50" again.

20200316_160711.jpg


20200316_161043.jpg


After this I kinda just booked it for the fork in the creek by the ag field. Along the way I got onto some nice tracks, found hair in one of them, and found some rubs that got me excited. The tracks with the hair in them were amongst a bunch of laydowns. I'm getting way more confident I'm on to some decent bucks in here. On my way, I marked all hunter tree stands, and none of them seemed to stray too far from the edge of the water. They are all in easily accessible spots, close to the outer borders of the property as well. They're all 2x4's nailed in and old looking, 2 were just disintegrated. You could get to all of them without waders.

20200316_170025.jpg


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20200316_161654.jpg


On my way to the back corner I had the pleasure of seeing a wide array of waterfowl, all kinds of species I had no idea spent time here. I figure I should leave the area alone for a while after all the stress I caused them. As I was coming up on my final destination, I was thinking about how tough it was to find a spot for the cam I put out earlier in my trip, so I circled below it and decided to parallel the field edge on my way back up to the fork in the creek. More big tracks, and a couple well worn paths that I was actually able to follow to the fork. And when I got to the fork in the creek, this rub was waiting for me where 2 well worn paths met:

20200316_171554.jpg


That's on ground sloping up. I threw my last cam on it and cooked on out of there. Time to let 'em marinate.
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