Balance

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
User avatar
Coalcracker
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon May 11, 2020 1:41 am
Location: Pennsylvania
Status: Offline

Balance

Unread postby Coalcracker » Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:49 am

Some say I overanalyze. I'm not sure when it comes to hunting mature bucks there is such a thing but here's the dilemma. I'm sure this is common for most of us and why I'm looking for feedback.

How do you balance hunting different locations with the time available?

This past season for the first time in my hunting career, I really focused more on moving around and hunting sign. Real time, moving, looking for sign and hunting. Anyway, without getting into every detail of how I conducted my hunts, I found myself chasing sign.

The (good) problem I'm trying to balance is I have (4) legit areas to hunt for a mature buck. Two of those areas are around 5k acres and have multiple locations I have previously scouted/hunted and identified as traditional for holding mature bucks. This has taken years and years of intel to accumulate. The other two areas are much smaller but hold good bucks every year with a slammer on occasion.

Like most hunters, I can't hunt every day. On average, I hunt (3) days a week and most of those are half days or few hours at a time. In a seven week bow season with taking vacation I have around 25 hunts of various length but most are a few hours.
Near the end of bow season this year, I was finding good buck sign in most of the locations I hunted but was unable to capitalize. Which brings me to questioning whether or not I should have just selected (1) or (2) general locations and stuck with them throughout the season and tried figuring out how to kill the buck laying down the big sign.

So, based on my hunting time, do I keep hunting like I did last year by bouncing around in more locations looking for the best sign or selecting fewer locations and concentrating on them throughout the season?


Shoot Straight
User avatar
G-Patt
Posts: 318
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:45 pm
Location: Ohio
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby G-Patt » Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:49 am

I face the same dilemma with only 15 to 20 hunts per season. I usually focus on a few good, proven spots per season where my access in and out is clean as a whistle. Focus most of my time the first week of bow opener, pre-rut and rut time frames. This works the best for me. After the first deer is in the freezer, I'll get adventurous and employ more mobile methods of bump and dump, which has also worked well in the past.
On my deathbed, I will receive total consciousness. So I have that going for me, which is nice!
User avatar
Wlog
500 Club
Posts: 3328
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:28 am
Location: Eastern Shore MD
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby Wlog » Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:56 am

I’m not able to hunt day after day all season. Usually I can do 1-2 evenings after work during the week, September to end of daylight savings and one full weekend day each week. One good thing about my job is I can use vacation time in 2 hour increments so a lot of times I’ll leave work at 1pm so I have time to scout an hour or two in early season before I set up.

When I started mobile hunting on public land I wasn’t doing this. I would go to a list of pre scouted spots that I’d found through post season scouting in winter or spring. I got some opportunities that way but a lot of the time I’d walk in and setup whether there was new sign there or not and hope for the best. I wasn’t taking that extra time to scout and check areas before I set up so by the time I got to my pre determined spot my options were either hunt or scout until closing time. Usually I would just setup and hunt.

I am seeing better results now that I take time to scout before each hunt but still feel like I could improve my results more if I was hunting blocks of days. So for example, instead of leaving work early one day a week all of September, October and November. Take off a few days in a row at key points of the season like the first week or two of September, last two weeks of October and as much as possible for November. This year my home state opened on September 11th. It would have been better to hunt like 3-4 consecutive days the first week, the same the second week, not take any time off again until October 15th or so and do 3-4 days a piece the last 2 weeks of October. If I get out in between then just do weekends. Once November hits, just hunt as much as possible.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
User avatar
phade
500 Club
Posts: 1398
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:10 am
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby phade » Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:27 am

While not on public, I do as Wlog noted. I set my calendar to get out early for the first 7 calendar days in October (NY season start); after that, the surprise element is gone and shifting patterns (ag country) make mid-October a bit difficult to hunt IMO. But, every once in a while we get a lead on a buck and can make moves in that first week or so. Looking back since our opener moved to Oct 1 in 2012, I've killed three good bucks between the 1st and 7th.

This year, killed on the 6th. Hunted that spot (not same stand set but small area) on the 2nd and 3rd, saw what we needed to see, did some work to clear a tree on the 4th midday (ag field edge) and set a stand about 100 yards away from the stand spot on the 3rd. Hunted the 4th PM and had target buck go by in bow distance but no shot, rested spot on 5th due to wind/approach, hunted stand on 6th, and killed. Modifying my time off work to accommodate this allowed for the tag punch. Kill was clean and pretty in and out recovery, and a second shooter was hanging out and partner almost got him on successive hunts before patterns shifted around the 10th. Spot went downhill until November daylight visits/rut activity due to crop rotation/harvest and obviously our pressure.
http://www.pursuitoutdoors.com
Trail Camera Sales, Industry Updates, and Cam Troubleshooting - PM for HB pricing
User avatar
Jonny
500 Club
Posts: 5386
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:11 am
Location: In a van down by the river
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby Jonny » Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:05 am

In 2019 I hunted one "area" only all season. 4 hours from home but I drove there every weekend. 2020 I never bow hunted up there and gun hunted opening weekend. Shot 2 for the family cause (not my freezer).
Spent bow season hunting a new area near my camper where I gained more time to hunt. Shot a decent buck and then got sick and that killed my bow season. But I gained the ability to hunt friday nights and sunday nights since I can leave from work to go there and go to work from there.

2021, my house will be finished in 2 months and now I'm cyber scouting some local marshes. I have night work all year so my only "off time" will be the break between day shift ending and night shift starting which will give me time to bow hunt most evenings if I want, but it will need to be local. Weekends I can get up to my camper to hunt there as well.

So my balance is just playing the cards I'm dealt to the best of my ability. I'll probably spend the least amount of time hunting the ground I know the best, and the most amount of time on the stuff I know the least. Might not be the best recipe to tag a mature buck in 2021 but its moving me in the right direction for years to come. But my goals are different than most here so it works for me. If I was after a mature buck this season I'd drive 4 hours for 3 hunts a week. I'm in it for the long haul and know I'm better off learning the local ground now while I have time.
You have a monkey Mr. Munson?
Evanszach7
500 Club
Posts: 605
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:00 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby Evanszach7 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 6:52 am

Coalcracker wrote:Some say I overanalyze. I'm not sure when it comes to hunting mature bucks there is such a thing but here's the dilemma. I'm sure this is common for most of us and why I'm looking for feedback.

How do you balance hunting different locations with the time available?

I soak cameras in new areas I've scouted but not hunted to gather annual data for the following season. I hang the cams in June or July and don't go back until after season.

This past season for the first time in my hunting career, I really focused more on moving around and hunting sign. Real time, moving, looking for sign and hunting. Anyway, without getting into every detail of how I conducted my hunts, I found myself chasing sign.

I do the same Sept-Oct, but hunt this way on properties I know the bedding. A couple properties I've hunted for the past 3 seasons, I know well enough to get ahead of where the sign is about to be laid down due to changes in: bedding, food, pressure, getting closer to prerut. During that time, if I dont know the bedding, I'll follow sign until I bump deer. I'm impatient and have scouted enough bedding areas that I'd rather bump them and know for next season. I usually move on the next hunt to a different area. That hunt might be a "waste", but I'm probably better off having that Intel for the future.

The (good) problem I'm trying to balance is I have (4) legit areas to hunt for a mature buck. Two of those areas are around 5k acres and have multiple locations I have previously scouted/hunted and identified as traditional for holding mature bucks. This has taken years and years of intel to accumulate. The other two areas are much smaller but hold good bucks every year with a slammer on occasion.

Like most hunters, I can't hunt every day. On average, I hunt (3) days a week and most of those are half days or few hours at a time. In a seven week bow season with taking vacation I have around 25 hunts of various length but most are a few hours.
Near the end of bow season this year, I was finding good buck sign in most of the locations I hunted but was unable to capitalize. Which brings me to questioning whether or not I should have just selected (1) or (2) general locations and stuck with them throughout the season and tried figuring out how to kill the buck laying down the big sign.

Similar boat. I hunt heavy in areas I know before the rut, then hunt primary doe bedding or on historical annual rut data. These spots are usually up against primary doe bedding too.


So, based on my hunting time, do I keep hunting like I did last year by bouncing around in more locations looking for the best sign or selecting fewer locations and concentrating on them throughout the season?
Both. But Dan's most recent video answers this question best.
MNarrow
Posts: 257
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:56 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby MNarrow » Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:34 am

Wlog wrote:I’m not able to hunt day after day all season. Usually I can do 1-2 evenings after work during the week, September to end of daylight savings and one full weekend day each week. One good thing about my job is I can use vacation time in 2 hour increments so a lot of times I’ll leave work at 1pm so I have time to scout an hour or two in early season before I set up.

When I started mobile hunting on public land I wasn’t doing this. I would go to a list of pre scouted spots that I’d found through post season scouting in winter or spring. I got some opportunities that way but a lot of the time I’d walk in and setup whether there was new sign there or not and hope for the best. I wasn’t taking that extra time to scout and check areas before I set up so by the time I got to my pre determined spot my options were either hunt or scout until closing time. Usually I would just setup and hunt.

I am seeing better results now that I take time to scout before each hunt but still feel like I could improve my results more if I was hunting blocks of days. So for example, instead of leaving work early one day a week all of September, October and November. Take off a few days in a row at key points of the season like the first week or two of September, last two weeks of October and as much as possible for November. This year my home state opened on September 11th. It would have been better to hunt like 3-4 consecutive days the first week, the same the second week, not take any time off again until October 15th or so and do 3-4 days a piece the last 2 weeks of October. If I get out in between then just do weekends. Once November hits, just hunt as much as possible.

Great post!!
User avatar
Boogieman1
500 Club
Posts: 5836
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:18 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby Boogieman1 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:50 am

For me I rely on camera Intel. For example if I have cams on 3 different areas. 1 shows no bucks I care to shoot, 2 shows one nice buck that I like. And 3 shows 4 good bucks I would be tickled to tag using the property. I spend the bulk of my time on option 3. Just seems higher odds to me. My time is limited just like everyone else’s and high odds time is very limited. I don’t wanna spend that time where their isn’t even a buck I care to shoot moving in daylight or odds are extremely low. I spend the first month of the season mainly trying to figure out where I need to spend the bulk of my time once the switch is flipped.

Now if any ole buck will do then I would take a stick an move approach. But for the the top percentile bucks I feel more confident spending my time where there is more than just 1. In my simple mind going from just hunting 1 to 2 drastically ups your odds. Going 2 to 4 doubles that.
Eat the donut not the hole!
User avatar
jkelley1487
Posts: 252
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:19 pm
Location: Indiana
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby jkelley1487 » Wed Jan 06, 2021 9:23 am

I have limited time to hunt as well (20-30 hunts per year).

I concentrate on which ever location has the hottest sign and put my time in there. I am not afraid to bounce around until I find some good sign or see a good deer. Once I find what I'm looking for, I'll hunt that area until I tag out or it goes cold.

By area, I mean a section of woods I've scouted, not a single stand.

Most of my hunting these days is from Halloween-Thanksgiving. It's worked pretty well thus far.
User avatar
Coalcracker
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon May 11, 2020 1:41 am
Location: Pennsylvania
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby Coalcracker » Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:19 am

Thanks to all for the feedback, great posts.
Shoot Straight
User avatar
headgear
500 Club
Posts: 11476
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:21 am
Location: Northern Minnesota
Status: Offline

Re: Balance

Unread postby headgear » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:19 am

Ideally you want to have a ton of land scouted and also know that land inside and out, this is more of a lifetime goal than something you do in a few years but at a certain point you kind of reach critical mass with your off-season and in-season scouting. Like you I generally hunt 2-5 larger areas with lots of bedding options, plenty there to keep me busy but I also have a ton of other spots I can check out if my best stuff is cold, it is just good to have options and be able to adapt to different habitat types. Heck sometimes I hit spots and they are cold but I will hit them again the next day and find fresh big tracks so sometimes moving on can have you chasing them too. In my bigwoods there just isn't a ton of deer so finding a target isn't always easy, however the more I walk and scout the more I am on them, hard work and experience will eventually get you over the hump. You will also have great years where every move you make is the right move and other years where you just have a heck of a time seeing or finding any bucks. That is what makes it fun, every year is so different.


  • Advertisement

Return to “Deer Hunting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Hunter74 and 21 guests