Bow hunting in the big woods

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
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Ognennyy
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Bow hunting in the big woods

Unread postby Ognennyy » Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:40 pm

I was hoping some of you big Northern public land woods / Adirondack bow hunters might have some insight. I spent a lot, and I mean a lot of days in the woods this fall during the early bow season (for NY that's Sep 27 - Oct 24) trying to get a bow kill in the Adirondacks. This was my first year bow hunting up there, and wow has it been a humbling experience.

I spent a lot of time scouting with my bow in hand just to find deer. I finally found sign of some active deer up in a long (700 yards or so), thin beaver meadow. They were on patches of berry briars. So step 1 complete; I knew of an area with a few active deer.

When it came time to hunt it though I realized just how big of a challenge the set up would be. I mean... there are no real "bedding areas" up there. It's all endless forest with no real bushes that would create cover, like on the edges of a farm field or anything. There is terrain, but it's all gradual terrain. There aren't aggressive ridges with benches among them. The deer just lay down wherever, somewhere near their food source. And their home ranges are huge. I mean I found recent deer sign but I found myself wondering if I wasn't a day late and a dollar short. When you find sign of big woods deer with huge home ranges, are you not just a step behind them?

I did set up for two hunts, each time my goal being to get within 150 yards of where I had found the beds and droppings in the berry briar patches on the edge of the beaver meadow. I had no real reasoning behind it other than deer had been there recently, and I couldn't come up with anything better.

This turned out to be a surprisingly daunting task, and I'm really questioning the effectiveness of a tree stand approach. I'm starting to wonder if maybe the only way to effectively hunt that area of the Adirondacks will involve something entirely creative and original, something crazy like spending years getting good at tracking deer without snow.

I dunno. Any input would be appreciated. I'm a bit overwhelmed and very humbled.


jhenrich
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Re: Bow hunting in the big woods

Unread postby jhenrich » Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:28 am

Are there any clear cuts in the area?
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Ognennyy
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Re: Bow hunting in the big woods

Unread postby Ognennyy » Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:06 am

There is in fact recent logging - pretty much a clear cut - about 200 yards to the east. Where I hunt is right in the south-east corner of the Adirondack preserve and there is private land right there. I'm trying to not use that though; really part of this challenge is figuring out how to get a deer in an area that has not been recently affected by humans, so ideally no using logging to my advantage.

Thinking about this woke me up early this morning. When I find recent deer sign on a food source up there, there are one of two possibilities; 1) the deer were just on it (and by "just", I mean they were there until they heard me coming), or 2) they had recently been there but had already picked up and moved on to another food source within their home range. In both cases they are not there now, and probably will not be again for another few days. But they will likely come back around again eventually.

So one strategy might be that once you find recent sign in a food source, hunt there the next 3-4 days and hope to catch them there again. I'd have to approach in a still-hunting manner (the deer might already be there) and basically just find some cover to stand in, no tree stands. The only issue with this strategy is that most of us work and can't just peace out whenever we feel like because we found recent deer sign ha.

Do any of you guys hunt this way in the big woods? I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should just find a new area that actually has scrapes, rubs, and generally just a healthy population of animals.
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headgear
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Re: Bow hunting in the big woods

Unread postby headgear » Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:50 am

All my hill bucks are bedding in old logging areas, like 2 to 12 year old cuts. If you are intentionally ignoring those areas you are going to make it all the harder on yourself in an already challenging area. Let the deer sign tell you where to hunt.

Another tip would be to look for thermal hubs or a mess of blow downs.
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headgear
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Re: Bow hunting in the big woods

Unread postby headgear » Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:52 am

At the very least try and scout the logging and setup between bedding. Up the odds a little.
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Ognennyy
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Re: Bow hunting in the big woods

Unread postby Ognennyy » Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:21 pm

ld_clearcut_beaver_meadow.jpg


This is the beaver meadow and the clear cut I was referring to earlier. I will sit with a firearm between the smaller beaver meadow and the clear cut during this rut for sure. I'm not such a martyr that I'm going to just leave the meat freezer empty!

I guess you could say though that my real challenge - and what I'm trying to piece together here - is a strategy specifically for killing a doe with my bow in the big woods during the early season.
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