Hill Country Question

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DropTyne
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Hill Country Question

Unread postby DropTyne » Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:37 am

I recently got a promotion at my job that will cause me to relocate to some great hill country. I am pretty excited about it because my past experiences deer hunting included swamps, flat farms, and big woods. Now I get to go toe to toe against some bluff country brutes. Needless to say I have to play catch up fast in order to have a successful season.

The one question I have is this. I am under the impression that water sources are a pretty significant draw in hill country, would I be right? I remember in the DVD Jerrod is hunting over a small seepage type water hole, how common are these? How do I go about finding one? Is it just boot leather or am I looking for something topographic to tip me off?

I think I have a pretty good handle on where they bed, why, and how to play thermals. Any other solid tips out there?


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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby dan » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:37 am

Water is scarce up in the higher elevations where they bed, so generally the big bucks don't go down to lower water sources until dark... Most higher elevation water sources where bucks will drink in daylight are man made... Jarrods was a rare case.
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby JRM6868 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:38 am

dan wrote:Water is scarce up in the higher elevations where they bed, so generally the big bucks don't go down to lower water sources until dark... Most higher elevation water sources where bucks will drink in daylight are man made... Jarrods was a rare case.

Every once in a while you'll find a seeper in the hills but they are rare as Dan said. During a drought the bucks will bed low closer to water sometimes it's in the bottoms if it provides enough security,sometimes it's a third of the way up. Regardless they tend to bed lower when a drought. If there's rain typically throughout the summer there are usually cuts in the ravines(ridges) that will flatten out a little with the flats that are in the hill country that will usually have small pools in them that will hold water for a certain number of days before they go dry. If you can find some of those they could be a good hunt if it stays dry awhile with no rain. The bedding ranges aren't set in stone but that's typically what I see when I'm hunting the hills. Burn some boot leather to see if there are places that pool the water if not I wouldn't waste too much time concentrating on the hidden water source and concentrate on the bedding and food.
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby Bucky » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:29 am

Scrap the water idea, focus on food and bedding.... there is water all over the place where you are heading... even in the heat of the summer

IMO - hunting the flat land swamps/marshes/farm land is much easier than hunting hills due to predictable winds... a must have piece of equipment in the hills is some sort of wind checker = milk weed is free... yarn works well also. I'm constantly checking wind on stand bow hunting, IMO I think it helps to hunt higher in a lot of situations in the hills compared to flat land..

There are so many ridges, bottoms, creeks, etc in hill country + thermals... predictable wind is tough to find. Prevailing winds usually don't match up winds experienced IMO - focus on the rising and falling thermals
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby Autumn Ninja » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:32 am

DropTyne wrote:
I think I have a pretty good handle on where they bed, why, and how to play thermals. Any other solid tips out there?

Solid info here, cant think of much I could add to it.

Tip; I cant express how important your entrance and exit will be....not just for the days hunt but for future hunts as well.

Don't loss sight of the big picture....Focusing too closly on one aspect can cost you everything.

Good luck!!!
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby DropTyne » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:38 am

Autumn Ninja wrote:
DropTyne wrote:
I think I have a pretty good handle on where they bed, why, and how to play thermals. Any other solid tips out there?

Solid info here, cant think of much I could add to it.

Tip; I cant express how important your entrance and exit will be....not just for the days hunt but for future hunts as well.

Don't loss sight of the big picture....Focusing too closly on one aspect can cost you everything.

Good luck!!!


Thanks Ninja,

Could you expand a little further on entrance and exit routes? Would you mind expanding a little further. I understand the idea of accessing from the top when hunting these bluffs, but what if you can't get top access, but you have bottom access all the way around the particular area?
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby Autumn Ninja » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:01 am

DropTyne wrote:
Thanks Ninja,

Could you expand a little further on entrance and exit routes? Would you mind expanding a little further. I understand the idea of accessing from the top when hunting these bluffs, but what if you can't get top access, but you have bottom access all the way around the particular area?

This is one area that Dan and I differ somewhat in hill country. I prefer to enter from below when I can. Theres really no right or wrong way, just different approaches.

90% off all daylight movement (by mature bucks) is made on high benches, flats and ridge tops. I do not like to disturb these areas if I can help it....Not just for a one day hunt but also for future hunts....A buck can smell where I walked two days ago. I hate to burn my bridges unless I'm doing it on purpose.

P.S. It depends on access also....If the deer are accustom to people entering from the west, I will enter from the north, south or east if the situation permits and so on. Details are the key....but if you loss sight of the big picture (the grand scheme) they are useless.
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby dreaming bucks » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:10 am

I love hunting little water holes... The past couple years I have made some little water holes that I hunt over, and when I say little, they are about 3 x 3 foot... I had tons of action at these holes once the prerut started up and during the main rut week... The only problem was, the hole was running out of water, so I had to haul water to it a couple times... They were going through 30 gallons of water in just a week :shock: , so this spring I'm going to get a buddy with his backhoe out there and make it bigger, so I don't have to keep filling it... I love water holes.... if you have the time to build one, it will most definately pay off for you... but don't hang camera's over them, and you can't over hunt them either...
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JRM6868
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby JRM6868 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:15 am

Autumn Ninja wrote:
DropTyne wrote:
Thanks Ninja,

Could you expand a little further on entrance and exit routes? Would you mind expanding a little further. I understand the idea of accessing from the top when hunting these bluffs, but what if you can't get top access, but you have bottom access all the way around the particular area?

This is one area that Dan and I differ somewhat in hill country. I prefer to enter from below when I can. Theres really no right or wrong way, just different approaches.

90% off all daylight movement (by mature bucks) is made on high benches, flats and ridge tops. I do not like to disturb these areas if I can help it....Not just for a one day hunt but also for future hunts....A buck can smell where I walked two days ago. I hate to burn my bridges unless I'm doing it on purpose.

P.S. It depends on access also....If the deer are accustom to people entering from the west, I will enter from the north, south or east if the situation permits and so on. Details are the key....but if you loss sight of the big picture (the grand scheme) they are useless.


One thing to remember on your entrance and exit is where you think the deer are at when your walking in and out. You don't want to push the deer out in front of you walking in the dark to your stand. You also want to be aware of the wind direction so your scent isn't blowing to the deer when your walking in or out. Alot of time guys think their hunt is over they can be sloppy and not care about walking out. Walking out is just as important as your walk in because of your noise and scent. Just because your hunt is over it's not over for deer in the woods and everytime your in the woods increases the chance the deer know your in there.

Your approach and exit is just as important as the hunt.
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby Autumn Ninja » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:35 am

JRM6868 wrote: Just because your hunt is over it's not over for deer in the woods and every time your in the woods increases the chance the deer know your in there.

Your approach and exit is just as important as the hunt.

Right on!!!

When a buck gets up to make his rounds after dark, his nose tells him a story about deer movement, predators and hunters. Where they walked, what direction, approximately how long ago and where they staged.

If a buck finds that I traveled down low....If I have to burn a bridge...I'm Ok with that one. I rarely get by with hunting in the bottoms anyway, if he finds I traveled high in his safe zone...thats trouble...now he goes on high alert.

In short...if he patterns me down low, he knows hes being hunted and on alert...If he patterns me up high where he beds, he goes on high alert and possibly leaves the area.

This brings up the subject of dead zones, which is another discusion...dont wont to get in to that one right now.
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headgear
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby headgear » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:30 am

As usually good info guys, I don't have too many hills in my area but when I start to run out of marshes to scout I will certainly be onto some higher ground.
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby Bucky » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:44 am

Autumn Ninja wrote:
JRM6868 wrote: Just because your hunt is over it's not over for deer in the woods and every time your in the woods increases the chance the deer know your in there.

Your approach and exit is just as important as the hunt.

Right on!!!

When a buck gets up to make his rounds after dark, his nose tells him a story about deer movement, predators and hunters. Where they walked, what direction, approximately how long ago and where they staged.

If a buck finds that I traveled down low....If I have to burn a bridge...I'm Ok with that one. I rarely get by with hunting in the bottoms anyway, if he finds I traveled high in his safe zone...thats trouble...now he goes on high alert.

In short...if he patterns me down low, he knows hes being hunted and on alert...If he patterns me up high where he beds, he goes on high alert and possibly leaves the area.

This brings up the subject of dead zones, which is another discusion...dont wont to get in to that one right now.


Hunting low with bow is tough...

I want to hear your theory on "dead zones" - I believe when looking at a large chunk that I hunt only a small percentage of it is productive to hunt - (less than 20%) in relation to where there are topography changes. I'm currious to see if you are thinking the same thing...
"When a hunter is in a tree stand with high moral values, with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God." Fred Bear
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby Autumn Ninja » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:02 pm

Bucky wrote:
I want to hear your theory on "dead zones" - I believe when looking at a large chunk that I hunt only a small percentage of it is productive to hunt - (less than 20%) in relation to where there are topography changes. I'm currious to see if you are thinking the same thing...


I don't really have a theory on it....yet, LOL. But from years of observation, I've noticed that the deer where I hunt (big woods hill country) only use about 30 to 40% of the land. The large chunks that make up 60 to 70% (I call dead zones) rarely get traveled...when they do use it, its running from danger, chasing or going straight into a food source and back out. Out of the 30 to 40% they do use with some consistence, they only use 15 to 20% all the time.

I use these areas (dead zones) to enter and exit my stands when possible.

Note; This could be due to the low deer density's in my area...also, bucks will travel across these zones frequently at night during the rut bouncing from one doe group to the other.
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby DropTyne » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:53 pm

Autumn Ninja wrote:
Bucky wrote:
I want to hear your theory on "dead zones" - I believe when looking at a large chunk that I hunt only a small percentage of it is productive to hunt - (less than 20%) in relation to where there are topography changes. I'm currious to see if you are thinking the same thing...


I don't really have a theory on it....yet, LOL. But from years of observation, I've noticed that the deer where I hunt (big woods hill country) only use about 30 to 40% of the land. The large chunks that make up 60 to 70% (I call dead zones) rarely get traveled...when they do use it, its running from danger, chasing or going straight into a food source and back out. Out of the 30 to 40% they do use with some consistence, they only use 15 to 20% all the time.

I use these areas (dead zones) to enter and exit my stands when possible.

Note; This could be due to the low deer density's in my area...also, bucks will travel across these zones frequently at night during the rut bouncing from one doe group to the other.


Could you potentially post a picture of what you would consider a dead zone? An example?
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headgear
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Re: Hill Country Question

Unread postby headgear » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:35 am

Autumn Ninja wrote:I don't really have a theory on it....yet, LOL. But from years of observation, I've noticed that the deer where I hunt (big woods hill country) only use about 30 to 40% of the land. The large chunks that make up 60 to 70% (I call dead zones) rarely get traveled...when they do use it, its running from danger, chasing or going straight into a food source and back out. Out of the 30 to 40% they do use with some consistence, they only use 15 to 20% all the time.

I use these areas (dead zones) to enter and exit my stands when possible.

Note; This could be due to the low deer density's in my area...also, bucks will travel across these zones frequently at night during the rut bouncing from one doe group to the other.


I have noticed the same thing in the bigwoods I hunt (not really hill country) but usually the big blocks of old growth timber are the dead zones. And just like you said, I have seen plenty of big bucks at night crossing these dead zones but rarely see any movement during the day. I hunted these zones a few times just because I saw bucks here or there at night, it was pretty much a waste of a hunt but I learned something from it.


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