Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Post topo’s and Aerial photos for free advice. Food plotting, land manipulation, water holes, ect.
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bowhunter15
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Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 3:17 pm

This is a public piece I'm really looking forward to hunting. I'd be drooling if I was the only one with access. Lots of sign, and it's pretty predictable based on the terrain. Lots of pinch points, heavy trails, droppings, rubs, scrapes, etc. that I've already found from scouting this spring. Also found one "classic" buck bed as described on the hill country video. It's close location and size leads me to believe its a small deer.

Anyway, I'm posting this aerial/topo since I have a few questions about how to gun hunt it.

Red lines are heavy trails with defined tracks, red circles are beds that I found, orange circle is a man-made natural ground blind, green circles are possible stand locations with green lines representing shooting lanes.

Questions though. This land is closed for all hunting except 9-day WI gun and late bow. Should I hunt as if I were hunting the rut, looking for spots on the lee side slopes that offer good travel corridors and pinch points at the 1/3 elevation? I'm assuming most deer movement will be do to hunter pressure since almost all of the high ground is easily accessible. The whole idea of "picking a spot where you can view far off ridges and shoot 300 yards" like in the Hill Country video doesn't work at all here. The trees are too tall/thick and you can't clearly see the other sides of the ridges, even right across the creeks.

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dan
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Re: Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Unread postby dan » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:18 pm

Looks like a good area... I would concentrate on the steep thick ridge sides. Can you get across the river to the area on the West side of your map? Look for areas where the bucks will have steep bedding, thick cover, and not much pressure... I would not concentrate on escape roughts. I find that the big bucks sneak off to there secure bedding areas before the shooting even starts opening day, if there not already in those areas. Its the young bucks that panic and run thru the funnels and such. Sure you might get a big buck doing it either way, but I am just telling you what has worked best for me...
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Re: Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:43 am

The north side of the river will be interesting to check out. Perhaps you can see the road that leads to various picknic areas. Also there are quite a few hiking trails on that side, some very close to the top of the ridges. I can see that going two ways. One, deer are used to the hiking pressure and find bedding below the hiking trails where they can smell bikers with the prevailing winds. Perhaps the trails also keep hunters away because they most deer activity would be on the side with no trails or roads. The north shore then could be dynamite for a big buck bed. On the other hand, maybe some hunters do take the easy route, taking the roads and trails and pounding that north side. I'll have to confirm on foot.

I'll also have to make sure to wear hiking boots instead of rubber boots. Man did my feet hurt after 5 hours out there walking on an almost constant incline, decline, or side slope. :roll:
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Re: Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:34 am

I quickly checked out the north side of the river yesterday. It really wasn't all that impressive compared to the other side. Fewer fainter trails, and the tracks I did find were not all that impressive in size. Not a single rub. I marked the one location I thought would make a prime bedding location right on that point. There wasn't a clear bed on the spot that I could tell, but it was on a bit of a rocky ground. No hair. But I'm sure it has been used as a bed at some point. There was one 3 finger track about five feet up from the supposed "bed". There was a clear foot wide gap where the deer could enter and exit from the top then skirt the 1/3 elevation in very thick cover (I had no trouble following the trail but couldn't see twenty yards to either side of it). I just didn't seem very fresh at all. But theoretically, it is a nearly perfect spot. The bed looks out over the near cliff overlooking the river and 270 degree panorama of opposite hillsides. From the top the cover is thick and he'd be able to smell danger from a North wind.

The green spot is another one of those "funnel" stand locations. Theres a clear crossing over that ravine but still below sight of the hiking trail, which is maybe 60 yards further in the woods. Some of the tracks I found along this like I said just weren't that big, does and fawns likely.

I think the majority of the deer activity is on the South side of the river, mainly because of the agricultural fields on that side. All the north has is prairie, then residential areas and a golf course further north.

Next time, I will focus my efforts on the areas circled in blue.

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Re: Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Unread postby dan » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:11 pm

Next time, I will focus my efforts on the areas circled in blue.

Good plan...
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Re: Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Mon May 02, 2011 12:13 pm

VERY good day of scouting today. Ended up seeing 4 deer and a turkey to top it off. The land south of the river is 100 times better as far as deer sign was concerned. Heavy trails and tracks everywhere. Lots of rubs. The field on the lower left was filled with tracks, and I even found a couple sets of wide legit four finger walking tracks in the mud.

The area up in blue was okay. Pretty thick on that slope, you'd really have to pick one trail. This was alright, because I found a spot next to a deep cut where a couple trails skirted the top edge on their way from the fields to the beds, which were on the slope facing the river. I found a tree that would work, however, I feel it would be best for a morning hunt, accessing from the river, climbing up the cut and hanging the stand; then wait for the buck to walk past en route to its bed about 60 yards away but too thick for a shot. Couple very good sized rubs in there. Still have to figure out the access problem.

Also, I found an evening spot on the field edge (you're thinking "o boy", a field edge on public). But... it's a spot where the field sticks into the woods like a small lagoon and is completely hidden between the woods and elevation. There were beds close by (some within 80 yards probably), lots of trails skirting the edge and tracks everywhere, including a set of 4 finger tracks. It is very thick, low and brushy with a mix of small hardwoods and pine/cedars. You basically can't see 10 yards into the woods from the field. There was one tree that was treestand worthy on the edge. From 25 feet up in this tree, I can not only shoot across basically the whole "lagoon" with a gun, but I also have lanes on three trails that the deer use to enter the fields, allowing me to see into the pockets where they hold up before entering.

It was quite a bit of work getting the stand up into that thick tree, but once up I had a great view. I lowered the stand, got down, and packed it up, ready to go. As I entered the field to walk back to the car, two does entered the field from the opposite side, unaware of my presence at 60 yards. I reached for my video camera, but of course one of them spotted me (I was in the open field) and took off. This made me feel 10x better about that stand choice. They would have been easy targets.

Also didn't seem like a ton of hunter sign. I found 4 signs of hunter presence (natural blinds, etc) and know how to avoid all of them. I don't think this land gets hunted as heavily as the marshes back home, and the fact that hunting is closed during early bow season (and therefore the rut) could mean there are some very large deer out there.
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Re: Gun hunting land, Hill Country

Unread postby dan » Tue May 03, 2011 12:56 pm

Sounds like some effective scouting! 8-)


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