Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
Camoface13
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Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Camoface13 » Thu May 21, 2020 1:01 am

In southern Michigan we have a mix of AG, swamps and hardwoods with some tiny spots of hills.. my question is how do you consistent guys finding mature deer EVERY year and always going into the season with a game plan on a target deer, how are you finding new spots?

I’ve been targeting cyber scouting that is near big wet areas or places people can’t hunt. But just generally searching for a new property to hunt public or door knock is still difficult. Any suggestions?


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buttonbuck
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby buttonbuck » Thu May 21, 2020 4:24 am

Camoface13 wrote:In southern Michigan we have a mix of AG, swamps and hardwoods with some tiny spots of hills.. my question is how do you consistent guys finding mature deer EVERY year and always going into the season with a game plan on a target deer, how are you finding new spots?

I’ve been targeting cyber scouting that is near big wet areas or places people can’t hunt. But just generally searching for a new property to hunt public or door knock is still difficult. Any suggestions?


Id say you need to watch Dan's DVDs and listen to all the podcasts. Also go to the all time best tactical threads.
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Camoface13 » Thu May 21, 2020 5:12 am

buttonbuck wrote:
Camoface13 wrote:In southern Michigan we have a mix of AG, swamps and hardwoods with some tiny spots of hills.. my question is how do you consistent guys finding mature deer EVERY year and always going into the season with a game plan on a target deer, how are you finding new spots?

I’ve been targeting cyber scouting that is near big wet areas or places people can’t hunt. But just generally searching for a new property to hunt public or door knock is still difficult. Any suggestions?


Id say you need to watch Dan's DVDs and listen to all the podcasts. Also go to the all time best tactical threads.


I’ve listened to and watched a lot of the material, I guess my biggest hurdle is picking an area and really breaking it down to whether it’s worth scouting by foot or not. But I know he does cover that, I haven’t seen the DVDs though
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Hawthorne » Thu May 21, 2020 5:31 am

Lots of windshield time and boot leather
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Trout » Thu May 21, 2020 6:12 am

I think the guys who do it every year dont get enough credit for how hard they work at it. I live a few hours north of you where it's even more difficult to find mature deer. I work my tail off and think I have a good grasp of how to identify good areas to scout because when I put boots on the ground I'm finding what I'm looking for when the sign is there, and when I go to places outside my home area that have higher numbers of mature deer, I'm seeing them. I've come to the conclusion that if I want to find one, I'm gonna either have to get lucky, which isnt really an option for my personality, or work harder than I did last year, every year until I am able to locate mature deer on a regular basis. Listen to any of the podcasts that Dan does, or another good one is Andy May, and they are successful because they dont settle for the best they can find. They keep going until they find exactly what it is they're looking for, and when they find it, they have the experience to know what to do. If they dont find it, they keep scouting. And they mess up just like we do, but it doesnt get them down, they learn from it and keep hustling. It definitely helps that they hunt areas with higher numbers of mature deer, but I think their work ethic would make them successful no matter where they lived or hunted.
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby seazofcheeze » Thu May 21, 2020 7:31 am

Trout wrote:I think the guys who do it every year dont get enough credit for how hard they work at it. I live a few hours north of you where it's even more difficult to find mature deer. I work my tail off and think I have a good grasp of how to identify good areas to scout because when I put boots on the ground I'm finding what I'm looking for when the sign is there, and when I go to places outside my home area that have higher numbers of mature deer, I'm seeing them. I've come to the conclusion that if I want to find one, I'm gonna either have to get lucky, which isnt really an option for my personality, or work harder than I did last year, every year until I am able to locate mature deer on a regular basis. Listen to any of the podcasts that Dan does, or another good one is Andy May, and they are successful because they dont settle for the best they can find. They keep going until they find exactly what it is they're looking for, and when they find it, they have the experience to know what to do. If they dont find it, they keep scouting. And they mess up just like we do, but it doesnt get them down, they learn from it and keep hustling. It definitely helps that they hunt areas with higher numbers of mature deer, but I think their work ethic would make them successful no matter where they lived or hunted.


^^I think this^^ Guys that are getting it done consistently in high pressure states usually have, at a minimum, three things going on. 1. Way above average work ethic 2. A lot of great potential spots built up over YEARS. Most of those spots won't hold a big buck every year, having a big library of potential big buck spots increases odds of success in any given year. 3. Time invested - these guys have paid their dues.

Unfortunately for OP, short of outfitters or high fences, there aren't many shortcuts. Reading and studying can help reduce the learning curve, but there is no replacement for experience. The sooner you can get experience, and the more experience you can get, the closer you will be to accomplishing your goal.
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby backstraps » Thu May 21, 2020 7:38 am

I think Seaz and Trout are spot on

I will add also... those guys that seem to get it done year after year, have a great memory bank. A bank of a couple bucks each year that either got away, wasnt mature enough, or “should” still be around.

Years of hunting the same areas and knowing those areas in-out- and sideways... you will recognize sign when something shows up worth pursuing

My short answer:
No shortcuts, and a lot of dedicated time!
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby PK_ » Thu May 21, 2020 11:14 am

So, there is somewhat of a blueprint or some principles that guys follow to find and pick apart new areas cyber scouting. But there are a matrix of factors that go into it.

This is pretty much how I have done the majority of my hunting over the last decade or more. Lots and lots of cyber scouting and hunting new areas. It is the most fun to me.

With few exceptions, you have to do it a lot to get good at it.

The biggest tip I can give you if you are trying to find mature bucks purely cyber scouting is to look at areas with terrain that you understand already and makes sense to you.

If you are staring at a map wondering where a big buck would be living, you either don’t understand how bucks use that terrain or the terrain is not conducive to cyber scouting. It is really that simple.
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Rmallen » Thu May 21, 2020 12:10 pm

I’m finding that even in the toughest of spots know an area intimately is key. I have almost abandoned cyber scouting because it doesn’t show me some of the suttle changes in habitat and terrain I find with boots on the ground.

Dan almost always mentions how important knowing something intimately is. I would challenge you to pick one area and know it like your dominant appendage. You’ll be amazed at how you can apply it to other areas.
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby comeback_kid » Thu May 21, 2020 1:43 pm

PK_ wrote:So, there is somewhat of a blueprint or some principles that guys follow to find and pick apart new areas cyber scouting. But there are a matrix of factors that go into it.

This is pretty much how I have done the majority of my hunting over the last decade or more. Lots and lots of cyber scouting and hunting new areas. It is the most fun to me.

With few exceptions, you have to do it a lot to get good at it.

The biggest tip I can give you if you are trying to find mature bucks purely cyber scouting is to look at areas with terrain that you understand already and makes sense to you.

If you are staring at a map wondering where a big buck would be living, you either don’t understand how bucks use that terrainor the terrain is not conducive to cyber scouting. It is really that simple.


In your experience what types of terrain are not conducive to cyber scouting?
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Thu May 21, 2020 1:59 pm

I go about things a bit different. Don’t mean any better just I ventured a diff trail. I’ve never cybered anything in my life and don’t own a map. For me mature bucks are a result of not being killed. So I have an eye for hidey holes which would allow a buck well... the time to mature. Public or private doesn’t really matter to me. What matters is nobody has thought to hunt the sucker. Once u stumble onto one you think holy moly and wheels start turning to find other spots. Some of these places produce year after year while others are situational. Best advice I can give ya is get rid of any notion of what great deer woods look like and think outside the box. Build yourself up an of places and never quit looking for the next. Good luck!
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Edcyclopedia » Fri May 22, 2020 12:33 am

Depends on amount of effort you can put into scouting and a pocketbook...
Scouting and property knowledge = higher %
Property knowledge includes:
-Terrain
-Pressure
-Food sources
-Tracks
-Crossing areas
-Funnels
-Thickness / hideouts
-During rut ~ where the Ladies are... Ooo-la-la
-Water, etc...

If I had a bigger pocketbook (and less responsibility), I personally would travel a few weeks a year to get into better (big buck ie. mature buck) areas than my home state of NH...

My experience is a solid 3-4 tears (years) on a property to deem it a buck meca or NOT...
Many times 1-2 hunts can make me lose interest though, many variables to consider...
Expect the Unexpected when you least Expect it...
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby Cchez » Fri May 22, 2020 1:29 am

Lots of great advice already, I just want to expand on what Seaz said quick. Having of good number of spots to hunt ups your odds. But keep in mind, it takes YEARS to build up that library. Dont rush right in to all of them and hunt blindly. Take your time and learn a couple spots each year intimately if you are new. Last year was my first season using Beast tactics, and my number 1 limiting factor was that i spread myself too thin. I had so many "spots" i thought could be great, but i was mostly hunting them blind without a knowledge of how the deer moved about them. This year I added more spots, but I've limited myself to picking 2 and learning as much as i can about them by getting in there and walking every inch. Over time I'll keep expanding and physically scouting new pieces, but i think realizing that i was taking on too much at once last year helped me understand what i needed to do moving forward.
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby G-Patt » Fri May 22, 2020 2:17 am

The advice you're getting here boils pretty much down to there is no substitute for boots on the ground scouting and becoming intimately familiar with the area you're hunting. Your woods are different from Dan's woods and everybody else's. Cyberscouting and watching videos help only to a point, but they don't complete the full picture. I encourage you to scout as much as you can year round, learn the plant life in your area, what the deer eat, where all the mature white oaks, chinkapins, pins, red oaks, maples, apples, plums, pau paus, persimmons, high quality browse and crops are located, transitions between mature and younger forests or logged-out areas, water sources, creek/river bottoms, how the deer prefer to bed, major deer trails, where the doe beds are located, the funnels, pinches and access routes. You'll become a naturalist in the process, which is what great bow hunters are. Once you do this enough in areas you frequently hunt, you are equipped to go to new areas, dissect and "read" those woods (you'll learn something new every time) to locate that mature buck to hunt for the upcoming season. Trail cameras and observation sits can help you locate that buck. Good luck, and be sure to take us along on your journey to find that monster!
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Re: Finding Where Mature Deer Are

Unread postby WV Bowhunter » Fri May 22, 2020 5:19 am

A lot of good points already mentioned. Most of the best hunters I know didn’t start out that way. Eventually you will stumble on to a good deer. When you jump him, maybe you even kill him, spend some time figuring out why he was there, what he was doing, the terrain he was in, the ground cover he was in, the vantage point he was in...really tear it apart and figure the area out. When you figure one place out, that can be correlated to other areas and other deer. To some people it takes forever to “click”, others it seems natural, some folks never get it.

Big deer reside in an area for a reason, those reasons all vary but from what I’ve seen, there will always be a reason why they are there.
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity!!


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