Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

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upwind predator
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Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby upwind predator » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:41 am

71C6CAC5-500B-4E20-B24E-AB9F288549E6.jpeg

I wanna start to learn hill country better because theres some public land by me thats on bluffs, the picture i attached is 10minutes from my house that i intend to scout this weekend one afternoon. I was just wanting input from you veteran hill country guys on what spots i should scout based on the terrain features on the topo, im not very good at reading topo lines yet. I will only hunt this during the pre rut and rut. Possible bedding, funnels, any terrain feature that stands out. Its all timber. I oulined the public perimeter in blue, and the black line in the lower left corner is the only public access in, and it starts at the bottom of the bluff. there is a hiking trail loop thru the whole thing but dont have that marked up. Sorry for being long winded. Thanks guys.
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brancher147
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby brancher147 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:59 am

I don’t have time your mark your map up. I would start checking points that overlook access, check the steepest and hardest to get to areas. Then walk the tops and look for scrapes and rubs to backtrack to bedding. Then walk the flatter bottoms on the east side looking for sign and backtracking to bedding. Bedding should be upper 1/3 on points-some people would say look on leeward ridges but I find that depends on pressure and terrain. I would check saddles and areas where multiple terrain features come together for rut cruising.
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby Abishai » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:42 am

The red circles are saddles and/or pinches. The one sits on the secondary ridge, the other on the top of that creek ditch. The green is how I figure deer might travel the area.

Good luck!
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby upwind predator » Sun Feb 23, 2020 7:14 am

Thanks you 2 and thanks abishai for pointing out the saddles, and possible deer travel. I walked it last spring and i noticed there arent any defined trails just faint ones is that the norm with hill country? I know when i walk it ill have to figure out how to hunt it wind wise. Any tips to keep in mind there?
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby tundra@1 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:48 am

What county,?
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby upwind predator » Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:29 pm

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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby Abishai » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:24 am

upwind predator wrote:Thanks you 2 and thanks abishai for pointing out the saddles, and possible deer travel. I walked it last spring and i noticed there arent any defined trails just faint ones is that the norm with hill country? I know when i walk it ill have to figure out how to hunt it wind wise. Any tips to keep in mind there?


Is the prevailing wind westerly? I assume it is. That side of the mountain is super steep. You’d think deer would bed leeward because of it. Not sure your access point. But generally, I think trails aren’t as defined on hill country because they’re higher in elevation and also because there’s just more areas for them to move under cover. A lot of heavy used trails in AG country are in wooded tunnels and low topography.
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby wolverinebuckman » Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:16 pm

I'm really just learning Hill Country myself, but I have noticed that trails are very faint. The best defined trails that I'm finding are the ones that go from down low to up top taking the "easiest" path of least resistance. Once I find that, it's a pretty well-worn trail.
I have one area that is littered with rubs and scrapes, it's a path that comes from the top of the Ridge and starts to head down the side. There's virtually no visible Trail, only the rub line that goes along it.
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby WIpubhunter 87 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:53 pm

One thing I have noticed a lot in hill country is that the most dramatic and obvious points and ridges do not hold the mature buck bedding areas (unless they are hard to get to or overlooked). I think that every other hunter that looks at a topo map of that piece goes to the same obvious points and ridges and scouts them out or hunts them, so human scent is always there. The best bedding areas I have found so far are in the more subtle elevation changes surrounded by other higher points and ridges where they have a huge advantage with swirling winds from many different directions. On the north end of that topo map you provided there is a steep draw with several big and small points coming together throughout. If I had to guess I would say some of the best bedding would be on the smaller more subtle southern points there. They look like they would be good for both south and west winds which would be the more dominate winds too.
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby Twenty Up » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:04 pm

Yellow are thermal hubs I’d anticipate bedding if there’s corresponding foliage that’s thick enough.
Purple is where they party. Social hubs where several points and benches drop into. Travel routes crossing saddles, points. Expect rubs, scrapes
Orange is if the ridge tops are open hardwoods but the sides offer thicker cover. These two lines offer examples of how the deer will work topography IF the thickest cover is on the sides.

Foliage cover and hunting pressure will dictate how where and when the deer travel. Connect the dots from there.

This could be a hot area Late Sept into October when the acorns drop
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby upwind predator » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:21 am

Abishai wrote:
upwind predator wrote:Thanks you 2 and thanks abishai for pointing out the saddles, and possible deer travel. I walked it last spring and i noticed there arent any defined trails just faint ones is that the norm with hill country? I know when i walk it ill have to figure out how to hunt it wind wise. Any tips to keep in mind there?


Is the prevailing wind westerly? I assume it is. That side of the mountain is super steep. You’d think deer would bed leeward because of it. Not sure your access point. But generally, I think trails aren’t as defined on hill country because they’re higher in elevation and also because there’s just more areas for them to move under cover. A lot of heavy used trails in AG country are in wooded tunnels and low topography.

My access point is the black line in the lower left corner, start at the bottom of the bluff and walk to the top, it doesnt get hunted much i dont think for that reason. The prevailing is westerly in my area. all the ag is across the road to west and on the private to the east.
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby upwind predator » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:30 am

Another question i have is the 2 saddles that i Pinned just by map scouting before you guys confirmed they were saddles, the one on the east side in the upper right and the one on the north end of the property at the head of the crick/drainage ill call it. Well those two by confirmation of the dnr map have hiking trails going thru them. Will bucks cruise those during rut like walk the hiking trail itself or when i get to those pinned locations should i look off the hiking trail, along with the other good looking areas. Reason i ask is because it seems the areas that look good to my rookie hill country aerial map eye seem to have the hiking trail going right thru it, from referencing the dnr map, and ill be honest it makes me go well darn it. I know this piece dont get much hunting pressure just because the access is starting at the bottom of the bluff and too much work for most. What are your guys thoughts on that. This place does get hikers for scenery reasons.
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby upwind predator » Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:34 am

Another question i have is the 2 saddles that i Pinned just by map scouting before you guys confirmed they were saddles, the one on the east side in the upper right and the one on the north end of the property at the head of the crick/drainage ill call it. Well those two by confirmation of the dnr map have hiking trails going thru them. Will bucks cruise those during rut like walk the hiking trail itself or when i get to those pinned locations should i look off the hiking trail, along with the other good looking areas. Reason i ask is because it seems the areas that look good to my rookie hill country aerial map eye seem to have the hiking trail going right thru it, from referencing the dnr map, and ill be honest it makes me go well darn it. I know this piece dont get much hunting pressure just because the access is starting at the bottom of the bluff and too much work for most. What are your guys thoughts on that. This place does get hikers for scenery reasons. Black lines are the hiking trail that runs thru the property for reference
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby raisins » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:27 am

upwind predator wrote:Thanks you 2 and thanks abishai for pointing out the saddles, and possible deer travel. I walked it last spring and i noticed there arent any defined trails just faint ones is that the norm with hill country? I know when i walk it ill have to figure out how to hunt it wind wise. Any tips to keep in mind there?


Higher elevations have better drained and thinner soils that do not hold sign as well as other areas.

So, a faint trail at higher elevation is of more note than the same in a valley.

Whenever I've seen "cow paths" at higher elevations/rugged terrain it's been in an area where it was super obvious why deer would be there. And it was "money" as far as at least seeing deer in general (not necessarily bucks).

Lastly, even in hill country, I find that habitat and edge is more important than topography. What I mean is this:

You can have a perfect saddle and topographic setup to influence deer movement in the middle of a monoculture and you will not see many deer using that travel path if there isn't a reason for them to be travelling in that area (i.e. perfect road to nowhere).

I usually look at aerial photos first to determine where deer might be feeding and bedding and then look at topography next.
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Re: Hill Country Public aerial scouting help

Unread postby upwind predator » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:52 am

raisins wrote:
upwind predator wrote:Thanks you 2 and thanks abishai for pointing out the saddles, and possible deer travel. I walked it last spring and i noticed there arent any defined trails just faint ones is that the norm with hill country? I know when i walk it ill have to figure out how to hunt it wind wise. Any tips to keep in mind there?


Higher elevations have better drained and thinner soils that do not hold sign as well as other areas.

So, a faint trail at higher elevation is of more note than the same in a valley.

Whenever I've seen "cow paths" at higher elevations/rugged terrain it's been in an area where it was super obvious why deer would be there. And it was "money" as far as at least seeing deer in general (not necessarily bucks).

Lastly, even in hill country, I find that habitat and edge is more important than topography. What I mean is this:

You can have a perfect saddle and topographic setup to influence deer movement in the middle of a monoculture and you will not see many deer using that travel path if there isn't a reason for them to be travelling in that area (i.e. perfect road to nowhere).

I usually look at aerial photos first to determine where deer might be feeding and bedding and then look at topography next.

I understand the whole edge deal where field meets timber, or cover meets open timber. But in hill country what should i look for edge wise in the timber and terrain itself? Like some examples.


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