Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

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Shady Grove
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Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Shady Grove » Sun Jan 03, 2021 10:45 am

I want to ask about bedding - and perhaps creating or enhancing bedding in the South.

I hunt in the Lower Coastal Plains of Georgia - Most of the "high ground" is planted in pines. The various ages of merchantable timber is broken up by hardwood creeks and drains and mixed with patches of oaks on the hill. Cover is not the limiting factor in these woods! And no agriculture for miles. The topography is flat as toast for the most part. Elevation is about 25ft at the river and rises to a whopping 75-80ft at the highway. So what we call hills most people call speed bumps. The older pines will have lots of palmetto and gallberry. We have a good bit of vines - grape, honeysuckle, greenbriar and the like. The young planted pines will have a lot of broomsedge, and bluestem grasses along with blackberry and briars and some forbs. I 'know' deer bed in these pines but I have yet to locate what I think is a buck bed.

Like I said - we do not lack cover. The only identifiable bedding (that I have found) are some oval shaped depressions in the broomsedge. When I find them, they appear random, usually 3-4 together which I assume is where does have laid. I have yet to find a spot that made me think - there's a big one that lives here. The fact that I haven't found a definitive answer as to where he is bedded - I find myself always wondering "where is he at, and where is he going"? Which is not a good feeling sitting in a stand. The only trophy I have killed in the last 4 years I had that intel - or at least half of it. I had walked him up in August and got daylight trail cam pics of him in late October and early November. After getting scent busted a couple of times trying to hunt in the creek bottom - near where he lived - I lucked into a perfect weather situation of a strong north wind after a rain. Wet leaves let me get in their quietly and I climbed high enough that the winds carried my scent away.

Having no agriculture you have to really tune in to what is available in the woods to eat and when that might motivate movement. If we get a good acorn crop you will see a lot of scrapes and sign in and around a big live oak hammock that is on the property. But you'll have better chance of killing a big buck hunting the single oak or a small patch of oaks that are away from all the hubbub. But other than acorns most everything else (native browse) can be had in many places. So once the trucks start rolling and after the does are all satisfied the big boys retreat to their favorite hang out. Or I assume that's what happens. I don't buy the nocturnal business - they are somewhere and I want to find where that somewhere is.

So first question (if you hunt this type of terrain) have you ever found a buck bed? Or an area that is consistently used by a big buck? If so, describe it please. To be honest - I killed that buck and there was not a whole lot of sign. A few rubs along the trail. I had the visual encounter preseason and the trail cam pics to tell me he was there.

Usually the young pines will hold a lot of deer. The trees are too small for it to be hunted from a climber or stand - and sunshine gets to the ground and generates browse. The area where I killed the big deer was planted pines that dropped into a creek corner. I walked him up in the pines (got within 10 yards). The pics were 60 yards from there along the edge (where pines meet creek hardwoods). Second question - let's say you are pretty sure a big buck beds (at least some times) in an 80 acre block of 8 year old pines. Would you consider going in there and removing some pine saplings that already has some vines or brambles near by and let the sunshine create a little house size thicket? Hoping he might use it more than just laying anywhere in that block. Do you think that would happen? Or not worth effort? Is just speculating he is in the block is good enough?

I know habitat work is not necessarily a Beast Tactic but I was wondering if anyone below the gnat line has ever tried anything like that?

We have coyotes (which is not unique) but might that be a factor in what seems to be random bedding? OR is it that we have so much cover? Those 80 acres are not surrounded by bean fields - in all four directions is another large block of different age timber. Or have I just not found the honey hole(s) yet? Thanks


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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby KRoss480 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:14 pm

I hunt in Mississippi so I feel your pain. From the many miles I’ve been scouting in similar terrain that you’re describing, you’re more than likely not going to find what you’re looking for. In my opinion deer in the Deep South have so much bedding cover that they use “bedding areas” and not specific beds. I’ve had better success finding these areas and hunting the edges of them, than I have trying to find individual beds and hunting like the fellas up north. I never knew what a legit buck bed looked like until I started hunting out of state, I’ve yet to see anything of that nature where I hunt in MS.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Buckshot20 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:47 am

Dude, in that terrain corn is king. People from the Midwest don’t like hearing that but it’s the truth. Find where they are living and give them a reason to stop where you want them.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Shady Grove » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:08 am

KRoss480 wrote:I hunt in Mississippi so I feel your pain. From the many miles I’ve been scouting in similar terrain that you’re describing, you’re more than likely not going to find what you’re looking for. In my opinion deer in the Deep South have so much bedding cover that they use “bedding areas” and not specific beds. I’ve had better success finding these areas and hunting the edges of them, than I have trying to find individual beds and hunting like the fellas up north. I never knew what a legit buck bed looked like until I started hunting out of state, I’ve yet to see anything of that nature where I hunt in MS.


Have you ever tried any of the bed building techniques you might see on Youtube? If they instinctively bed for security and I think that's a given. I suppose with an abundance of cover, the safer strategy is to move around?

Thanks
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby PublicLand » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:52 am

What about planting something unique? I've saw many preferred trees, not only oaks,chestnut,beech but the forgotten crabapple orchard. A daily stop planted to your advantage. Logging eliminates some things, figuring that out helps in my opinion
Something native that has several months food grouped make a predictable pattern. Lazy elderly bucks lock it down based on wind and temperament
Food Rest and Sex are their life.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Shady Grove » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:59 am

Buckshot20 wrote:Dude, in that terrain corn is king. People from the Midwest don’t like hearing that but it’s the truth. Find where they are living and give them a reason to stop where you want them.


Legal in the state - not on the club. And actually don't know anyone that has killed a mature buck over a corn pile. Good way to hunt hogs though!
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Shady Grove » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:22 am

PublicLand wrote:What about planting something unique? I've saw many preferred trees, not only oaks,chestnut,beech but the forgotten crabapple orchard. A daily stop planted to your advantage. Logging eliminates some things, figuring that out helps in my opinion
Something native that has several months food grouped make a predictable pattern. Lazy elderly bucks lock it down based on wind and temperament
Food Rest and Sex are their life.


I like the plan.

In the last 5 years I've planted 4 persimmon about 10 crabapple, a dozen chestnuts and sawtooth oaks. Lost about half of the chestnuts but everything else is hanging in there. However, the only thing that has produced so far are the persimmons (2020 first year they produced). The damn coons ate most of them before they hit the ground -though! We will add some more mast trees this year. I started out scattering them putting 3-4 together or in a line. I now know planting a small orchard is best.

Thanks
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby thwack16 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:39 am

In my opinion, enhancing bedding in that type of terrain is like a guy in the Midwest planting a quarter acre of beans in the middle of a section of ag beans.

As said above, its less of a specific bed approach and more of a bedding area. In fact, I have a hard time even finding the bed of a buck I watch leave his bed. Compared to my trips in the Midwest where finding a bed is relatively easy.

I hunt some flat terrain pine plantations like you’re describing. Mine are all bordered by ag fields, food plots, or hardwoods, so I do have that going for me. My approach to new ground like this is to take each trail where it cuts a logging road, road, timber transition, etc, and turn your OnX tracker on and walk that trail. Repeat until you’ve walked all the trails. Any time you jump deer, mark them. Scrapes, mark them. Rubs, mark them too. Take that back and view it on a computer. You’ll likely see some places where you can take advantage of crossing trails.

One place in particular that I make note of are creek crossings. In fact, sat one this morning. Old 20 acre ag field that’s now on its 16th year of growing pines. Ditch runs through it. The culvert where the farmer used to cross the ditch with equipment is now used as a natural trail, making it a funnel of sorts. In 1000 yards of walking that ditch, there’s only one other decently well used crossing.

Here’s my setup pic this morning.

1FBBAB4F-ED50-4D38-A6ED-71DEB9D0F483.jpeg


Another thing you noted in your original post was isolated oaks. If I can find those and they’re dropping, that’s a spot I’m sitting early season.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Buckshot20 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:37 am

Shady Grove wrote:
Buckshot20 wrote:Dude, in that terrain corn is king. People from the Midwest don’t like hearing that but it’s the truth. Find where they are living and give them a reason to stop where you want them.


Legal in the state - not on the club. And actually don't know anyone that has killed a mature buck over a corn pile. Good way to hunt hogs though!

Ok
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Shady Grove » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:52 am

thwack16 wrote:In my opinion, enhancing bedding in that type of terrain is like a guy in the Midwest planting a quarter acre of beans in the middle of a section of ag beans.


Great way to put it and to think about it. That's exactly what I would be trying to do.

That spot you are sitting. Are you hunting a specific buck?
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby KRoss480 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:41 pm

Shady Grove wrote:
KRoss480 wrote:I hunt in Mississippi so I feel your pain. From the many miles I’ve been scouting in similar terrain that you’re describing, you’re more than likely not going to find what you’re looking for. In my opinion deer in the Deep South have so much bedding cover that they use “bedding areas” and not specific beds. I’ve had better success finding these areas and hunting the edges of them, than I have trying to find individual beds and hunting like the fellas up north. I never knew what a legit buck bed looked like until I started hunting out of state, I’ve yet to see anything of that nature where I hunt in MS.


Have you ever tried any of the bed building techniques you might see on Youtube? If they instinctively bed for security and I think that's a given. I suppose with an abundance of cover, the safer strategy is to move around?

Thanks

I hunt public land for the most part, so any kind of changing the habitat is a no go for me.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby thwack16 » Mon Jan 04, 2021 12:51 pm

Shady Grove wrote:
thwack16 wrote:In my opinion, enhancing bedding in that type of terrain is like a guy in the Midwest planting a quarter acre of beans in the middle of a section of ag beans.


Great way to put it and to think about it. That's exactly what I would be trying to do.

That spot you are sitting. Are you hunting a specific buck?


Yes and no. Yes in the sense that with cams all over in this farm for the past 6 months and only getting one buck I’m willing to shoot. No in the sense of setting up on a certain pattern. Still peak of the rut here.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Evanszach7 » Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:02 am

I don't hunt in the deep south, but for whatever reason have listened to these guys all year:

https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0c ... I3NjJlOGU5

Ironically they just released a collection of this year's tips from guys that hunt your habitat. The hosts also bed hunt, but it seems like down there some other tactics + knowing bedding produces the best results.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby PK_ » Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:21 pm

You are better off figuring out how that buck is using the area naturally.

You are also better off making long ‘sendero-like’ shooting lanes (which can be planted)into the cover in key areas rather than trying to manipulate bedding.

But if you want to ‘create’ a bed, make a small clearing roughly oval shape east and west. put a big log centered on the South edge. Cut lanes similar to shooting lanes Northerly for the deer to watch down and bend some of the young pines to create overhead canopy and all day shade over the log. Do it in a good spot for a buck to bed, that is the most important part and the most difficult to explain.

I have not intentionally ‘created’ buck beds but from the mature buck beds I have found in the south that is what I would do. I would also clear out the ‘bed’ and rub some tarsal in it.

Oh and make sure there is a good tree off to the side to climb way up and shoot into the hole.

Understand that old bucks are very particular about where they bed so you may do this and not have the result you want.
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Re: Buck Bedding in the Deep South - help

Unread postby Shady Grove » Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:38 am

Evanszach7 wrote:I don't hunt in the deep south, but for whatever reason have listened to these guys all year:

https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0c ... I3NjJlOGU5

Ironically they just released a collection of this year's tips from guys that hunt your habitat. The hosts also bed hunt, but it seems like down there some other tactics + knowing bedding produces the best results.


Thanks - I listen to these guys. Lots of great information and I have learned a lot.

To add to the story. I spend 3 full days after the season scouting. Never done it post-season and it's a little different mindset when you know you are not going to kill anything - anyway. Learned a ton! Started with a big track crossing a road and walked into a stand of pines that are probably 15 years old - in the direction of the tracks - headed north. A few rubs right at the road. 100 yards in I meet a creek drain running west to east and along that edge the rubs get more plentiful. Pretty soon I find a spot that looks like it's home for somebody. I couldn't find any deer shaped depression in the ground or in the grasses but I am almost positive it's a bedding area. Probably our best trail camera pic all year was taken about 300 yards SW of this sign - always at night. The hottest spot was at the 'entrance' of a clump of volunteer saplings at the front was a big signpost rub another as you stepped into the saplings and about 6-7 other rubs within a 10 yard radius. A couple of creek crossings were not far that. I marked 4-5 potential trees to climb in the area. Most were hardwoods along the creek edge. I did find a couple of pines big enough to put my climber on and marked their location as well.

I went around and came in from the south to scout the other side of the creek crossings and the north edge of that creek. The pines on that side are 7 years old. The ground is lower, wetter, and the cover is much thicker. Gallberry dominates but as the ground got a little higher plenty of briars. The rubs on that side were more like traveling - not as many clusters. Walking east the creek turns north and creates an inside corner. I marked a couple of pines in that corner and one sweetgum near by that are potential climbers next year.

Question - Access? On a south wind I can come straight from a woods road that runs into that block of smaller (7 yr old) pines and down to the creek and get within sight of that bed. Good idea? I'm thinking I can get in there real early - climb real high and hope my scent won't is blown out over the pines. Safer play would be to get in that corner - again on a south or SE wind. I would not be able to see across the creek and into the bedding area or maybe even the crossing. He would have to come out and work the edge in my direction. Any beastly thoughts on how to hun what I have found?

Thoughts, questions?

PS - how to post a map?


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